Instructions: Use the iMac as a Windows PC monitor

If you want to use an Apple iMac as a PC monitor, you can find step-by-step instructions here. Because some iMac models you can use the so-called Target display mode set up as a "target display", ie as a target display for an external device. It's basically pretty quick, but it requires a few prerequisites. In this guide you can read what you need to know about the topic and what the exact procedure is. Do you have any questions, tips or tricks on the subject in store? Then leave a comment;)

Instructions: Use Apple iMac as Windows PC monitor thanks to Target Display Mode. Here you will find the requirements, step-by-step instructions and tips for cables and adapters.
Instructions: Use Apple iMac as Windows PC monitor thanks to Target Display Mode. Here you will find the requirements, step-by-step instructions and tips for cables and adapters.

Use Apple iMac as a PC monitor: Here's how!

In an older manual, we already showed you how to do one use old iMac as Mac monitor can. At that time it was not yet clear to us whether and how the whole thing could also be transferred to a Windows PC. But now we have stumbled upon an opportunity that we do not want to withhold from you. To use the iMac as a Windows PC monitor, proceed as follows - and first have to answer a few questions ...

Do I have the correct iMac?

Not every Apple iMac is available for Target Display Mode. Look in the Apple menu under “About this Mac” to see which model you have. You can also see which operating system (Mac OS X, OS X or macOS) is running on it. And see what connections your iMac has on the back. Because the following requirements should be met:

  1. Apple iMac late 2009 or mid 2010 with 27 inch display and mini DisplayPort connection
  2. Apple iMac mid 2011 or 2014 with Thunderbolt connection
  3. The Apple computer has no Retina display
  4. It runs on the device maximum macOS 10.13 High Sierra
  5. There is a keyboard to enter a combination of keys at startup

Do I have the right cable / adapter?

In addition, your Windows PC or laptop should have a suitable video output, for example DisplayPort or Thunderbolt. With an adapter or a suitable adapter cable, you can also use the HDMI output to transfer the signal to the iMac's Thunderbolt or DisplayPort input. 

When buying, make sure that it is an HDMI-to-Mini-DisplayPort cable or adapter. There are also “one-way streets” cables from Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI, with which you can connect MacBooks to external monitors, for example. So read carefully the product descriptions of the items with which you want to prepare yourself for the following procedure.

Counselor: Good and cheap (second) monitors for the home office

Connect Windows PC and iMac: This is how it works!

If your iMac is compatible, you have a suitable cable and are ready to transfer, then you're good to go. These are the step-by-step instructions in case you want to use the iMac as a Windows PC monitor:

  1. Switches both devices off (shut down completely)
  2. Plugs the cable into the Thunderbolt, HDMI or DisplayPort port on the PC
  3. Plugs the other end of the cable into the Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort connector on the iMac
  4. Turns on the PC and iMac
  5. On the iMac, press and hold cmd + F2 or cmd + fn + F2 immediately after turning it on

The key combination when iMac is started activates Target Display Mode, which means that the Apple computer can be used as a monitor for incoming video signals. You shouldn't have to choose anything now. The transfer should work directly (as soon as the PC delivers an image).

The correct resolution for iMac monitor mode

If you want to display the PC image perfectly on the more or less improvised monitor, then check the resolution of the screen in the above-mentioned “About this Mac” window in the “Display” tab after a regular macOS start. Most of the time, however, a resolution of 2.560 x 1.440 pixels should be sufficient. If your PC can provide a higher image output to get closer to the number of pixels on the iMac screen, that's all the better, of course. In the case of Retina models with 4K or 5K resolution, however, the target display mode may not be supported at all. 


Your experiences with the iMac as a PC monitor

Have you already tried the whole thing or played through the points indicated after reading this article? Then leave your experiences as a comment. Because we have not yet tested the procedure, we have only translated information from an English specialist website and added a few notes. So if you have practical experience, let us and all other readers participate :)

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148 Responses to “Instructions: Use iMac as a Windows PC monitor”

    1. Hi Dan! Yes that's right. But you can reinstall the original macOS on the iMac. Here are the instructions.

      Or in short:
      Hold down Shift + Option + Command + R while booting. This installs the macOS version that came with the Mac, or the one that comes closest to it (if the original is no longer available)

      1. Hello, I specifically downgraded to High Sierra. But it just doesn't work. I have an iMac 21,5", late 2013. I connected it to a Mini PC (Windows) using a Thunderbolt to DisplayPort cable. But there is no response to the key combination Cmd+F2 or Fn+Cmd+F2.

        Best regards,

        1. Hello Virginia! Have you booted the iMac and logged in? And try plugging in the cable when both computers are booted up. Otherwise I'm unfortunately stumped. Connecting often doesn't work on Macs that are supposed to be compatible, but I can't help even more with PCs. I'm sorry. :( I still have my standard recommendation: Luna Display. LG, Jens

        2. Hi,
          could it possibly be the cable?
          In my opinion, you should actually use a cable that goes from the Mini PC output – Display Port (or HDMI) to the monitor input – Mini Display Port/Thunderbolt.
          vg, Steffi

  1. Hello, does anyone know where to get an HDMI to mini DisplayPort cable.
    Just find the other way.
    Can I then simply switch between macOS and Windows with a keyboard shortcut?

      1. Thanks alot! Works perfectly. You can just switch back and forth.
        I run music in the background on IOS and work on Windows (connected to the laptop).
        Super cool screen to work with.
        Best regards and to everyone else, good luck!

      2. Hello, I fail because I cannot get a suitable adapter and the cable from Cabledeconn, which you name above, does not have an HDMI connector.
        All adapters and cables ONLY go in the other direction😡 ... or has someone already managed it?

          1. Hello Jens, well in that case it would be FROM HDMI (on the PC) to DP on the iMac 27 “2009. And there is no such thing in that direction ... and the cable from you mentioned above does not have an HDMI connector. From DVI to DP would be even better, but there is no such thing at all ...

          2. Moin, who else read that?

            I also bought the cable. But only have HDMI & USB outputs on the laptop (windows).
            I want to use my iMac as my work screen.

            Windows 10 laptop as source
            iMac late 2012 as a target

            How is that going to work
            Does anyone have any idea?

            Thanks greetings

          3. Hi Andreas! Of course someone else reads that. : D What you need is basically HDMI to Mini-DiplayPort. If you search on Amazon, you will unfortunately find almost only mini-DP on HDMI, which is the wrong direction. And even if the cables can be plugged in the other way around, they will not work because they are not bidirectional.

            The solution (not tested by me) that would most likely make sense to me is the one that I also suggested to Christof: once the one HDMI input on DP output box buy and then another bidirectional display port on mini-DP cable.

          4. Hi Jens, so now tested with the necessary adapters. When starting cmd + fn + f2 = does not work. Not without fn either. But: when the iMac is running and I press the 3-button combination mentioned above, the screen goes black for 3-4 seconds and then activates again, so it probably tries, but it doesn't work. But you have to make sure that the F1, F2 etc. keys are activated as standard function keys, otherwise nothing works... what a shame. Then I'll probably return the adapter for €40...

          5. And immediately afterwards: if I connect the iMac to my wife's W10 computer and turn on the computer, the iMac switches itself over and shows me the Windows start. But as soon as Windows is up and running then it goes (and stays) black. Very puzzling everything,,,

          6. Hi Peter! It could be that the resolution on Windows is set too high for the iMac. I would just start with a low one and see if the iMac still shows something. Then you can gradually try out the higher resolutions and see which ones the iMac can still cope with. Maybe we can still do it!

          7. Hello Ann Sophie! I honestly do not know. If you don't have an Apple keyboard, the keys may not be recognized. But for some people it doesn't work even with Apple keyboard. That's why my recommendation is to use Luna Display. This works reliably with all variations.

        1. Hello nicole! Unfortunately, the adapters and cables are always a fish in the dark. Even the constellations that worked for one reader no longer work for the next for some unknown reason. For this reason, my recommendation is directly the Luna display adapter to get, because it works very reliably and also offers more resolution than the cable solution.

      3. Hello, I have a 2012 iMac with 2 Thunderbolt ports and I want to use it as a display for a Windows computer. The ordi has a CLASSIC HDMI connection. What should I do? Which cable should I use? .jari.

        1. Hello Jari! I think then you need to use a Thunderbolt to HDMI cable. But I can't tell you if this works as I don't have a PC and haven't tried it.

    1. Hello, I have a 2012 inch from the end of 27
      You have written…
      Apple iMac late 2009 or mid 2010 with 27 inch display and mini DisplayPort connection
      Apple iMac mid 2011 or 2014 with Thunderbolt connection

      2011 or 2014

      Doesn't my iMac work at all?
      Thank you very much

      1. Hello Heinz! I just looked it up at Apple again. Your model should be supported:

        • Via Mini-DisplayPort: iMac 27 ″, end of 2009 | iMac 27 ″, mid 2010
        • Via Thunderbolt: iMac in mid-2011 | iMac mid 2012 - mid 2014 (all sizes)
        • Not compatible: Older models and the model from the end of 2015 with a 5K display
        1. Hi Jens,
          I have now obtained a suitable cable and set up High Sierra.
          As described, I press cmd + F2 or cmd + fn + F2 at startup, but I always end up at the start screen.
          1.) How do I recognize the Target Display Mode
          2.) what am I doing wrong?
          Would be great if you could help me again.
          VG Heinz

          1. Jen Kleinholz

            Hello Heinz! So when Target Display Mode is on, the iMac should display what the other Mac is broadcasting. It should actually be clearly visible.
            Because of question 2: I don't know. Is it also an iMac that supports Target Display Mode?

          2. Thanks for the quick replies.
            I am trying to couple a Windows PC (laptop) as the source with the Mac as the target.
            I have now used a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable, but on the Mini DP (on the laptop) as the source and the Mac as the target.
            I have read that the Thunderbolt cables are backwards compatible, because I have not found an MDP for Thunderbolt.
            Maybe I'll have to try again with an HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter. What do you think, possibly more promising?

            However, what I also don't know is how it looks when the Mac is in Target Mode? Is that only possible if there is an input signal? I don't know if I was able to turn on target mode at all.
            I found a few more tips in the Apple support area, but none of them were successful.
            Thank you for your help.

          3. Jen Kleinholz

            Hello Heinz! Unfortunately, I'm only theoretician. I don't have an iMac or PC to try this out with. If I have understood correctly, even a Mini DP to Mini DP cable should be sufficient, as Thunderbolt does not play a role in this interaction. I'm sorry I don't have any more tips. At some point I'll probably get myself a suitable, old iMac, so that I can have a say from the practical side. : D

        2. Hello Jens, I have about the same constellation as Heinz.
          I also have a late 2012 Mac, but only the small screen, but that shouldn't matter.

          However, you write below that theoretically it should work with a Mini DP to Mini DP cable. Unfortunately I haven't managed to do it yet.

          But I'm also surprised that in your list above for the models from Heinz and me, Thunderbolt is mentioned explicitly. Where is the essential difference between MDP and Thunderbolt that could have an impact? So I'm not sure if I should order an extra Thunderbolt cable.

          Thanks in advance.

          1. Hello, tobias! The Thunderbolt port speaks a different protocol than the mini display port. The sockets are the same, but Thunderbolt can do a lot more.
            I've had so many different kinds of feedback from readers on all these cables that I can say there isn't one constellation that works. It's just unpredictable. For that reason, my tip is to swing to Luna Display, as the solution always works.

  2. Hi Jens,

    unfortunately it doesn't work for me. I bought the iMac 2020 in the hope of being able to connect my Dell laptop with it, because I can't work with the small laptop in the home office for a long time.

    I followed your instructions exactly and both devices are connected via a Thunderbolt port.

    Unfortunately, nothing happens after pressing the key combination.

    Greetings from a desperate Simone

    1. Hello Simone! If it's actually a 2020 iMac then it won't work. Only iMac models from 2009 to mid-2014 can use this "target display mode", in which you can use the iMac as a monitor. It doesn't work 2020% with a 100 iMac... there are no tricks. Sorry...LG, Jens

  3. With the above-mentioned Cabledeconn cable DP to Mini DP bidirectional, the 21 ″ Mid 2010 Mac (high sierra) does not switch to the target display mode, neither when starting the MAC with pressed cmd + F2 nor with a later cmd + F2 command. (There are different instructions on the net) Whether the problem is with the cable or the Mac is not clear to me. Seems to be a similar problem to Heinz. Greetings Wil

  4. Unfortunately, I have a similar problem and have already tried several cables.
    Today I got a Thunderbolt cable from the Apple Store. So it works at least to connect my iMac2015 to my iMac2011 and by holding down the key combination cmd+F2 for a longer (!) time (both computers are already switched on) to finally get into “Target Mode”.
    But I actually want to connect my Windows work laptop. So I also bought an adapter (Thunderbold 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2). Unfortunately it does not work. However, it can also be due to the laptop, as it gives a warning when it is connected that it may not work. Perhaps this (not exactly cheap) cable combination will help one of you. And maybe someone else has an idea what you might have to set on the Windows laptop (Windows 10). Kind regards, Maddy

    1. Hello Maddy! Thanks for your tips. I have to remember that for the next people who ask me. : D For your scenario, I would have the tip to send it by AirServer to try. The software is also available for Windows and you can then (if I understand correctly) use an iMac as a monitor.

      1. Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely take a look.
        Unfortunately, the problem seems to be “only” the Windows driver for me. However, since it is a service computer, the local IT department is not willing/authorized to install drivers for private monitors. So I at least hope that the solution will help other “desperate people” :)

          1. Hello Maddy! I seem to have the exact same problem. But for me it's my private laptop. Have you been able to find out exactly which drivers are involved in your research?
            Thank you and best regards! Paula

  5. Hi
    I thought I had found what I was looking for.
    Instructions: Use the iMac as a Windows PC monitor. Does this really only work with the specified IMAC models?

    I have an IMac Retina late 2015. Is there no solution?
    Thank you very much and greetings from Switzerland..RB

    1. Hello Bieri! Yes, unfortunately the target display mode is limited to the iMac models in the table. But you could do it with me AirServer try. This is a recommendation from a reader who has been using his iMac as an external monitor for years.

  6. Hello, thank you very much for the instructions. For me, target mode works very well. The iMac continues to work in the background and I am actively working on the company's Windows notebook in the foreground. Initially I only made the mistake of pressing the key combination when starting the iMac. The Mac is not interested in that and the start / login screen always appears. But if both computers are started and I have logged in to both, the keyboard shortcut works on the Mac. When switching the screen, the iMac will go black for a moment and then the Windows PC will appear. Many greetings René

    1. Hello René, very interesting. You might like to share your configuration. Mac, PC, Cable, OS, Windows.
      If I could manage that too, it would be of great help.

    2. Hi Rene,
      can you please tell me your configuration so that it works with iMac as a screen? Cables etc.
      Thank you.

    3. Oh, exciting! Which cables did you use? Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me, although all the requirements are there ... Thank you!

  7. Hello, I want to connect my iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2015), macOS BigSur Version 11.6 to my HP laptop and use the iMac as a display. Do you think my iMac can't? What can I do? Thanks in advance for the tips. LG .Kamo

    1. Hello Kamo! That certainly doesn't work, as only models up to 2014 offer the target display mode. The solution for you would be Air Server, but the software only offers Full HD resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels.

    1. Hello Renato! Unfortunately, I can't give you any advice. Unfortunately, I have no experience of connecting to Windows computers. And what the readers say, the same cable does not work for all people. I'm afraid it's a bit of trial and error.

  8. Hi Jens,
    I bought a Mac Mini M1 and would like to use my iMac 27 as a screen in mid-2011. In the A Shop I was told it works, all I need is a Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter and a Thunderbolt 2 cable. No sooner said than done, I connected everything but switching to target mode does not work, the iMac does not respond (key combination Command + F2 or Command + FN + F2)

    Doesn't that work with the M1?
    Version of the iMac macOS High Sierra 10.13.6

    1. Hello Heiko! Yes, unfortunately that is a question that I get asked a lot and cannot answer. Let's put it this way: If your iMac is running on High Sierra and you're using Apple cables and adapters, you can't actually do anything anymore. It seems to work for some people and not for others. Funnily enough, Apple Support also tells some readers that it doesn't work and other people at Apple Support tell that it works. Seems to be a little random ... either you're lucky or not. 😂

  9. Hello Jens, I would like to use my iMac from 2012 as a screen for my new notebook with Windows 10. I got a cable HDMI to display / port for the Thunderbold connection on the iMac. But it doesn't work with the command F2 for target mode? Could it be because I already have Mojave 10.14.6 on my Mac? I'm grateful for tips! LG, Christof

  10. Hello Jens, I've ordered the adapter you mentioned and I'm curious whether it works. It's not cheap fun and I'm pessimistic, but then I'll report ...

    1. Hello Jens, I got the two cables. Unfortunately, it still doesn't work with Target Mode on the iMac. Or could it be due to Mojave 16.14.6, or do you have an idea …… ..?

      1. Hello Christof! So if the iMac isn't running Mojave, then it should actually work. The iMac must have a maximum of macOS High Sierra installed. If a newer system is running, it won't work.

  11. Hello everyone, I've been working from home a lot lately and wanted to connect my business laptop (Asus ZenBook UX305) to my private iMac (27″, late 2013). The iMac should work as an external monitor.

  12. Hi all,
    I wanted to connect my business laptop (Asus ZenBook UX305) to my private iMac (27″, late 2013) ie iMac should work as an external monitor.
    I connected the two devices with a Thunderbolt/Hdmi adapter + HDMI cable + HDMI/HDMI-mini adapter.
    Unfortunately I can't get any further:
    Turn on the PC and the iMac.
    On the iMac, press and hold cmd + F2 or cmd + fn + F2 immediately after turning it on
    The target display mode is not activated by the key combinations cmd + F2 or cmd + fn + F2... :-(

    Could you please help me?
    Thanks in advance! Many greetings!!!

    1. Hi Lukasz,
      Please proceed exactly as Rene described above:
      “... At first I only made the mistake of pressing the key combination when I started the iMac. The Mac is not interested in that and the start/login screen always appears. But if both computers are started and I've logged into both, the key combination works on the Mac. When switching the screen, the iMac briefly goes black and then the Windows PC appears. Greetings René”

      Register both devices first and then the key combo/s

      Does this work?
      If not, this is probably the reason: The device runs at most macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
      I assume you are on OSX 10.15?

      1. Hello Mirko, thank you very much for your feedback and for your help! Unfortunately, the whole thing still doesn't work (even if both computers are already booted up). The iMac simply does not react to this key combination... :-( I have Catalina 10.15.7 on the iMac. So is it due to the operating system I have? Maybe the cables I have are not "bilateral" because I don't know enough ...:-( could a docking station help in any way? Thank you in advance for your feedback! Greetings

  13. Hello everyone, since the article helped me a lot, I wanted to publish my result on the subject again.
    Initial situation: iMac Late 2009 as the planned monitor, as well as a Windows Lenovo Miix Convertible (with USB-C) and optionally an iPad Pro (2021) should also be mirrored. Result: it works!!!

    Successfully tested cables/ adapters:
    - sicotool USB Type C (Source) to Mini DisplayPort Cable (I kept)
    - Amazon Basics - USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter
    - Sicotool USB Type C (source port) to Mini DP DisplayPort adapter, 18 cm cable
    - JSAUX USB C to Mini DisplayPort Adapter [4K@60Hz] to Mini DP Adapter

    With CMD-F2 (possibly + FN key) you can successfully switch between the external device and iMac.
    If the iMac is too bright as a monitor, you should simply log in with your account on the iMac, then the brightness can also be adjusted.

    Good luck!


    1. Hello Mirko! Thank you for the feedback and the list of cables and adapters. I have linked them all with the product names. I hope that is ok. It's great when the article is gradually expanded. This will help all future readers.

    1. Thank you for the ok Unfortunately I couldn't do the whole thing without Amazon... and I don't like to plaster the blog with banners... that always annoys me myself. 😊

  14. Windshield wiper

    Thank you for the hard work writing here. I'm also trying to connect my Lenovo X230 (unfortunately only with a VGA output) to a Mac Mid 2011 as a target display.

    Since VGA will not work in any case, I would have to buy a docking station (about 25€) with DP or HDMI output. Then the Thunderbolt cable for around €45 and then an HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter (if such a thing even exists for a maximum of €15).

    If I have all these components, there would still be a very high chance that it would fail for other reasons. Probably on the old notebook ergo: I'll leave it :))) Thank you, I've saved a lot of money, time and nerves. Hope those who at least try have a lot of success.

    1. I wouldn't try either. What I just saw with cables and adapters was not bi-directional at all. That means it only converts mini displayport to VGA but not vice versa as you would need.

  15. Hi

    I would like to connect a 2011 iMac to my Windows PC.
    Where can I find a cable that allows HDMI to Thunderbolt, I've been looking for a long time but haven't found anything. Can someone help me? Send a link?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Yes, unfortunately I don't have a solution for that either. You can only find a lot of adapter cables that turn Mini DP into HDMI. But they don't work the other way around. You can plug them in, but they're not bi-directional and only transmit signals from Mini-Displayport (Thunderbolt 1+2) to HDMI. If anyone finds something that goes the other way as well, I'd be very happy.

    1. That looks interesting. Since the last update, the dongle even offers up to 5K resolution (if the computer allows it). That's impressive. And yes, it works from Windows to iMac too, from what I've read.

      1. That sounds really good. Can anyone confirm it works!?
        Can someone also say something about the apps to be installed! What kind of access do they need? My Mac is private, I have no problem with that. My laptop is on business...

  16. Hello, I would like to connect my iMac mid 2011 to a new Dell Inspirion 16 Pro. I have now bought a cable that has an HDMI and a Thunderbolt 2 connector. Unfortunately, the connection does not work as described. The iMac starts everything up unperturbed... Why is that? It's probably the wrong cable, right? Which combination would be better here?
    LG Carole

    1. Hello Carola! In fact, it can depend on many points. It's always difficult to say. It's ok for the iMac to start up. But if you then press the key combo, it should go into target display mode. Unfortunately, I can't tell from a distance where it's stuck.

  17. Hello together,

    A few years ago I had an Avermedia ExtremCap U3 as a solution, with which you could tackle this topic well, so instead of recording you just let it run in full-screen mode and have an external screen.

    Now, however, the software no longer runs on the current operating system of the iMac. A new one has to be made - the question arises: Aver offers the GC553 Live gamer ultra, does anyone have any experience with it? Or an opinion? Or recommend another?

    Many others have the same problem, the service laptop does not allow the installation of software - I think that's a good option.



    1. Hm, the post above with “Luna Display from Astropac” would be a great alternative and definitely cheaper!

      1. Hello Axelmuc! I bought Luna Display and wanted to test it for a few days. So far it looks pretty good from what I've read on their website. With the 5K iMacs you even get full 5K resolution with the USB C Luna Display. That's not the case in Target Display mode. So in this regard alone, Luna Display is a great thing.

  18. Yes, BUT: Admin rights required again - so canceled.
    I have to try the Aver - about the same price.

    1. The Avermedia ExtremCap U3 is hardware for recording HDMI signals. This article is about using an iMac as a second monitor. I don't quite understand the connection. 😂

  19. grin, someone doesn't think far enough ;-)
    the recording window can be pulled large and used as a monitor - but not as a second monitor but as a 1:1 mirrored one.
    I've read the posts above and a lot of people want just that, hook up the business computer to the big Mac and use the resolution.
    And that went quite well with it, the latency was just acceptable. I hope that with the new one I won't feel it anymore.

    1. Ok, that makes sense now! 😊 But with the solution there is only Full HD resolution. Of course, if you are happy with that, you can do it like this...

  20. As far as I can see this is not correct, at least for the GC553, recording is HD at 120 1/2 and 4K 30/s ;-)
    Delivery is today, I will report...
    4Kp60 HDR: Pass-through, vivid 4K HDR while recording at 4Kp30
    High frame rate: Record Full HD videos at 120 frames per second
    Ultra-Low-Latency: Enjoy playing on the RECentral preview screen with almost no lag
    Plug and Play: Convenience at its best, just plug and play;Interface, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type C
    High Frame Rate: Capture up to 240 frames per second

    1. Yes, I think you are correct. I had found another card mentioned in the post below. It can only record Full HD. the AverMedia Live Gamer Ultra actually has 4k@30Hz when recording: “Max Record Resolutions:2160p30 / 1440p60 / 1080p120 / 1080p60 HDR”
      I look forward to your feedback on the latency when working.

  21. Hello Jens,

    so, I had already downloaded the installation on the Mac, so it was super easy to activate it, it really wasn't a problem at all.
    Latency almost 0, great, unfortunately the work computer/HP EliteBook can't have a really great resolution (1920 x 1080) - in this respect it can be improved on the big screen, if full screen is activated, the letters and contrasts are not 100%, but that's it complain at a high level.
    So I'm very satisfied and this is a solution that definitely DOES NOT NEED ADMIN RIGHTS :-)


    1. Hello Axel! Thank you for your feedback. Glad this is a suitable solution for you (and I'm sure some others). I'll have to update the post at the top when I get a chance.

      1. Hello Axel and Jens, is this the solution to connect an iMac from 2014 21,5 inches with a maximum of 10.13 (or does it also work with a higher version of MacOS or even iMac, I didn't quite understand that) to a Windows computer without admin rights? I'd get everything I need, but if it doesn't work, it would be really annoying. Otherwise I only have Apple at home and therefore I would not like to buy any other screen. I looked for the Aver GC553 Live gamer ultra. Then what kind of cables are needed?

        1. Hello Sarah! An answer from Axel would be great here, because I have not tried the device or the setup. But he does. As I understand it, you don't need admin rights. That was also the reason why Axel chose this path. But maybe Axel will give feedback again. LG, Jens

        2. Hi Sarah,
          Principle: Mirroring the display from the business notebook via HDMI to the Mac (admin rights are required for this)
          Then you can see in the recording window what the business computer has on the screen), of course you need a Thunderbolt connection for this variant.
          As long as the Aver software runs on the Mac, it can be combined without any problems.
          The cheaper variants from Aver have correspondingly different connections, HDMI/USB, so you just have to compare the requirements in the technical details.
          Mouse and keyboard must of course be connected to the notebook, the Mac is purely an image receiver.

          1. Hello, I wanted to thank you for your help for so long. As a result, I didn't dare. Otherwise I would of course have reported.

  22. Has anyone here experienced whether keeping the older OS (e.g. High Sierra) alongside the newer OS (I have Catalina) would also work? (possibly new partition?) So, High Sierra only for iMac use as a monitor and alternatively Catalina for “normal” work? Or is the iMac only allowed to have High Sierra for use as a monitor?

    1. Hello Sigg! I haven't gained any experience with this, but I can imagine that it will work, because the Mac or one macOS doesn't know anything about the other. If you boot the Mac with High Sierra - whether from the internal or external hard drive - then it will work with the Target Display Mode.

  23. Hi Jens,

    I've been reading a lot and unfortunately didn't find anything.
    I want to use my IMac 24 (2021) , Retina display as a monitor and connect my business laptop.

    Is it true that it doesn't work?
    Is there a cable/adapter I need? Gladly with a link to amazon.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hello Bytyci,

      I'll answer without being asked to suggest Luna Display as a solution: Check it out here. With the hardware from the linked shop and the appropriate software, you can send display signals from Windows and macOS laptops to any Mac and also to the iPad in order to use these devices as monitors.

      Best regards

  24. Hi Jens,

    I have now purchased the Bi Directional DP to Mini DP that you recommended in this article.

    Now I plugged it in and tried the key combinations (cmd + F2 and cmd + FN + F2), unfortunately it didn't work. Could it be because I don't have an Apple keyboard but a logitec?

    I pressed ctrl instead of cmd.

    The keyboard itself works on the Apple PC when you use it normally, hence the question.

    Best regards


    1. Hello Benedict! I can't say if it's the keyboard. I don't have an old iMac to test it with. Unfortunately, there are many people for whom it doesn't work for whatever reason, but you can't find out the reasons. So I have to pass... I would send the cable back and switch to Luna Display. The money is better invested there because it works with certainty.

  25. Hoi together

    I have an iMac (Retina 5k, 27-inch, late 2015), version 10.14.5
    Do I have a chance to use it as a Windows monitor (Dell laptop)?

    I also have a question regarding the Thunderbolt connection. According to the specifications, my monitor has two Thunderbolt 2 ports.
    People always talk about Mini-DisplayPort here. is this the same

    Sorry for the stupid questions, unfortunately I'm not a PC expert like you ;)

    Greetings from Switzerland and many thanks in advance for your help :)

    1. Hello Mayra! To your questions:

      Yes, with Luna Display you definitely have the option of using the iMac as a monitor for your Windows laptop. However, it is important that your Windows device has an HDMI or USB-C output.

      Regarding your Thunderbolt 2/ Mini-DP question: No, Thunderbolt 2 and Mini-DisplayPort are not the same. The plugs are technically the same, but the "interface" of the software is different. If you connect your monitor to the computer with a mini displayport cable, it will only transmit video and audio. If you take a Thunderbolt 2 cable, the monitor can function as a "hub" and you can also connect printers, hard drives and the like to the monitor.

  26. Hi Jens!

    Wow! Thanks for the super-ultra-rapid feedback and detailed explanation.

    Already lost my hope. So the supporters in the Apple shop couldn't help me at all.
    In this case I'll buy a bi-directional DP to Mini-DP cable.

    Thank you again!

    1. Yes, try the cable. Unfortunately, the thing is always that it is totally unpredictable whether it works or not. Luna Display usually has a 100% success rate. 😊

  27. Hello dear Jens!
    I would like to connect my Windows 10 PC to my late 27 iMac 2013". For this I would have the cable from Cabledeconn ( ) and also bought an adapter with HDMI input and DisplayPort output ( ) because my PC only has one HDMI port.
    Now my question: The iMacs listed above do not include my model from the end of 2013. But this one should also work, after all it's the same as the others, with a thunderbolt connection and without a retina display. So does this still work?
    I would appreciate feedback.
    Kind regards Alicia

    1. Hello Alicia! Unfortunately I can't tell you anything binding. The list of Macs was put out by Apple and I think they thought of it. Whether it will work with the cable and the adapter cannot be promised either. Theoretically yes, but I've heard from so many readers that they just don't get it that I can't comment on it. It can work, but it obviously depends a lot on the individual case.

      1. All right, thanks for the reply.
        Do you know any other way I can connect my iMac to PC? Unfortunately I am very desperate.

        1. When it comes to connecting a PC with a USB-C output to the iMac as a display, then I would Luna Display recommend. This also works with all iMac models. If the PC has USB-C, you would need to order the USB-C variant from Luna Display.

          1. Unfortunately, that's too expensive 😅 Then I could buy a new Windows monitor right away.
            Then I have to try the best with the cable anyway, maybe it will work!

          2. Yes, try it. But no monitor for the price will have the brilliant color reproduction of the iMac.

  28. Hello, I have also tried a lot to use my IMac 27″ (Late 2013) as a monitor for my Packard Bell laptop. All purchased cables without success. Then I bought the Luna adapter, but also without success. What I overlooked were the system requirements for the Luna adapter, because I didn't have a UHD graphics card in my laptop. Now I have a brand new Luna Display Adapter (HDMI) for sale, so if you are interested, please let me know.

    1. Hello Karsten! Oh I'm sorry. Unfortunately, I don't know much about the PC stuff, but I will point out to future people that they pay attention to the technical specs before ordering the adapter. Unfortunately you won't be able to sell the adapter here because nobody can see your email address. I would put him in a classifieds market.

  29. Good evening,

    I have an iMac mid 2010 (27 inch). I now use this as a monitor for my Win10 PC with an Nvidia Geforce GTX 770. The cable I bought is bidirectional (display port to mini display port). The cable works so far...

    Unfortunately I couldn't find a solution for the following problem:

    Yesterday: iMac and PC turned on at the same time, then pressed cmd+F2.. after pressing 3-5 times, the iMac switches to the Windows login screen.

    PC and iMac both shut down normally after work is done.

    This morning: same scenario as described above with the difference that after pressing CMD+F100 2 times nothing happens.

    Cables on both sides out and reinserted -> brings nothing!
    iMac and PC restarted -> brings nothing again.

    Cable plugged in and out again... still nothing...

    Half an hour later I press cmd+F16 2 times and lo and behold: it switches back to my Windows PC.

    What could be the reason for this?! I can't get through there anymore ;)

    Thanks in advance.


    1. Hi Sasha! So all I can say is: I have no idea. This whole iMac-with-cable-as-a-display thing is a black box. You never know why it works for one and not for the other. And now there's even you, where sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Totally crazy... I can't give you a reason.

      1. Is it possible that the battery in the keyboard isn't that good anymore and all the commands aren't being transmitted correctly?

    2. Hi Sasha,
      could you please tell us the exact name of the cable (displayport to mini displayport) and where you bought it?
      Thank you.

  30. Thanks for the quick reply. Yes, it just annoys me! Must have something to do with the graphics card signal.. But why is it sometimes there and sometimes not.. well, before I invest any more time in it, I'd rather buy a clever gaming curved monitor... Above all, the power consumption of the iMac is way too high Duration... after a few years of intensive use, you've consumed a new top monitor of electricity...


  31. Hello, does it work to use an iMac 2012 via Thunderbolt(!) as a display for an iPad Pro M1? Apple Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapters and Thunderbolt 2 cables are available.

    1. No, that doesn't work (as far as I know). As far as I know, it doesn't work between iPad and Mac. I just looked again in the English-speaking area, but didn't find any source that would have addressed this variant. But maybe there is someone who could test it. Maybe nobody has tried it yet?

  32. Hey, one question: I have the iMac 2011 27 inch and would like to use it as a screen for my Microsoft Surface (Windows 11 operating system) but I don't know what kind of cable I should get because there's only one "Stom /Blitz” sign is what it means to send but not receive, right? Otherwise I have a FireWire connection and a Gigabit Ethernet connection...

    LG, Angel

    1. Hi Angi! I don't know if that will work. It doesn't work with iPad and iMac, for example. But you can test it. However, I do not know which port Microsoft uses on the Surface. The lightning bolt sign can also mean it's a Thunderbolt port. But as I said: I have no idea about the Surface. 😊

      1. Hey Jens! Sureface only has USB c connections on the device itself, I also have such a cable with a mini DP adapter. However, it also says on the packaging that this connection does not work if the "lightning symbol" is marked on the connection. Can I try a different port on the iMac or does it make no sense?

        1. Hi Angi! Then maybe the USB C port is only for charging? Unfortunately, the iMac only accepts signals through the mini-DP port. If you have a USB-C to Mini-DP cable, you can test it out... just nothing can happen. 😊

  33. Hi,

    it works fine for me, but my hard drive runs constantly and the dear old 2009late gets very warm. Is there any way I can park this?

    VG Peter

    1. Jen Kleinholz

      I'm afraid you can't park the hard drive in this mode. You could at most boot from a small external SSD and nothing turns there. You don't have to park anything there. Unfortunately, I can't say whether this also parks the internal disk because nothing is being done on it. :(

  34. Hi Jens and everyone! I've seen a lot of questions about whether a newer iMac model that isn't on the list will work, but what about the older ones? 2007 model eg if I connect that to my laptop via a mini DVI adapter to hdmi and then double hdmi... do you think that might work? I would be very happy!

    1. Jen Kleinholz

      Hi Anna! No, that won't work, because it's not just a "connector problem", but in macOS or the Mac the hardware and software must also be prepared for this input and it isn't.

  35. Hello in the round,
    I have an iMac 21,5 4K purchased January 2020 at home. I would also like to use this as a PC monitor for my windows laptop. a/ is that technically even possible with OS Ventura? b/what has to be set up for this?
    Many thanks to everyone who knows about this,

    1. Jen Kleinholz

      Hello Stefan! As far as I know the iMac may not be that new and only have macOS High Sierra installed. So with your model you could only go with Luna Display work. But that also works with your iMac and a PC.

  36. Can someone help me here?

    I want to display the image from a Windows laptop on an iMac (running IOS 10.15.17 Catalina)?

    The laptop has mini display port, the imac only thunderbold (USB C).

    Does this work at all? If so, which cables and/or adapters do I need?

    I currently have a mini display to mini display cable lying around – would that work with a d adapter or would it be better to have a mini display to usb-c right away?

    I need help please!

    Thank you

    1. I think it gets harder with cables because your iMac's Target Display Mode no longer works with the installed system. My recommendation would be either, the remote desktop tool AnyDesk to use or to invest a bit of money and Luna Display (the USB-C version!) to buy. This allows you to mirror the screen content of your Windows laptop to the iMac either via Wifi or via a USB cable. And with very low latency.

  37. OK for 2010 iMac as external display on Windows 11 notebook. The only problem: camera/microphone.

    I connected (with an ANNNWZZD 8K Mini DisplayPort cable, 1.4 Mini DP to Mini DP connector cable, delivery time from the USA 2 weeks) my 2010 iMac with High Sierra in Target Display Mode as an external display to my DELL7560 Windows 11 notebook. If you don't forget to give the picture signal to the output on the notebook :) and press Cmd(-FN)-F2 on the iMac, the picture and sound work well.

    Problems are still:
    1. the noisy fan/plate/heat generation
    2. The iMac camera and the iMac microphone are not recognized on the PC in the settings and are then also not usable in telcos.

    Does anyone have any idea to solve e.g. the problem 2. Mini-DP to Mini.DP 1.4 should be bi-directional and I thought that my iMac 2010 doesn't support Thunderbolt (otherwise USB-C/Thunderbolt on iMac Thunderbolt might be worth a try)

    1. Hello Karl-Heinz,

      You can find the sobering answer directly in the Apple support document on the subject (HT204592): "The other Mac can't use the iMac's built-in camera or ports […]” – That will probably also apply to the microphone. The Target Display Mode is therefore only intended for transmitting image and sound to the iMac, but not for using it as a studio display or similar.

      Best regards

  38. Hi John,

    I have an IMac Mid2011 with High Sierra and would like to use it as a second screen in my home office in conjunction with a Dell laptop. I'm very unsure about the Luna display because the business laptop is very tightly protected and applications can only be installed with the approval of IT.
    The laptop has a USB-C and an HDMI connection, the IMac has the well-known Thunderbolt.
    What cable combo would you recommend? I don't know for sure, but I'd like to try it.

    Thank you
    Gruss Volker

    1. Hello Volker,

      If I were you, I would talk to IT first.

      What might be possible - since only video and audio go out of the laptop, but no data goes in - would be the use of a capture card. You could connect the laptop via HDMI and connect the part to the iMac via USB. Capture cards are actually used for recording video games (connecting consoles to the computer), but in your case would be a kind of "firewall" if you like. However, you have to be careful with compatibility. I like Elgato as a manufacturer, but as far as I know they no longer offer software for High Sierra.

      However, I believe that before you experiment a lot with cables, capture cards and the like and invest a lot of money, you can simply buy a monitor :D

      Best regards

  39. Hello Jens and Johannes,

    Thank you for your tips. I bought the two cables or adapters but unfortunately nothing is happening. It doesn't matter whether I press cmd+f2 or fn+cmd+f2 when starting up, or if it's already booted up, the Mac goes straight to the login screen.
    Since I use the IMAC privately, I would also like to use it as a home office screen with the business laptop because of space problems on my desk.
    Could it be the MacOS version? Have High Sierra 10.13.6
    I do not give up.. :-)


    1. Hello Volker! So you actually press CMD + F2 when the devices are connected and booted up. And you have to register too, if I remember correctly. Don't press the keys while booting. macOS High Sierra should actually work. It is the last system where the target display mode is still possible. I hope you still get it!

  40. Hi

    This is exactly the solution I'm looking for. But I can't find a suitable cable or I'm just too stupid.
    Here's what I plan to do:
    iMac late 2013 with Thunderbolt port Target Display Mode
    I want to connect my work laptop, HP via USB C or HDMI.
    So that I don't have to use 2 monitors,
    can someone tell me the right cable? I'm afraid I've made the wrong purchase here 5 times :D
    Thank you very much Steffen

    1. Hello Steffen! Unfortunately, I don't have a PC and therefore can't give you a cable recommendation, but there's a real chance that you'll buy a bunch of cables and it still won't work. Users' experiences so far show that despite using the same cables, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Because of the uncertainty, I always recommend Luna Display because it works 100%. Unfortunately, expensive shipping costs from abroad. :(

    1. Hi Karsten! Did you use it with a Mac or a PC? And have you ever written to support? I tried it here with two old iMacs (and new MacBooks as “transmitters”) and it worked without any problems on both. LG, Jens

  41. Good morning, I tried to mirror from Notebook (PC) to iMac 2013 with the HDMI version of the Luna Display. I even had to downgrade the MacOS version to Sierra according to the instructions, but that didn't help either.
    Then I resold the adapter. Maybe it was the HP laptop, but according to the instructions the technical requirements were actually met.

    So if you have a usable variant (notebook via HDMI or DVI or VGA to iMac 2013, please write to me, because my iMac is still lying around unused ;)

    1. Hello Karsten! Okay, thats a pity. But it's good to know that this solution doesn't always work either. :-( I still have one way, which is certainly not the greatest: You could switch from the iMac to the PC using AnyDesk and then the iMac would show the image from the PC while you continue to work on the PC. But it would be allowed have a bit of “lag” because it’s over Wifi. LG, Jens

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