Connect MBA to iMac for Display?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ForumViewer, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. ForumViewer macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011
    I just purchased a new MacBook Air and I'm wondering if there is a way to connect it to my Late 2009 Model 27" iMac to use as a display.

    I would basically need a ThunderBolt to MiniDisplayPort adapter (?) correct? Not sure how that works exactly. Any advice and links would helpful!! Thanks in advance.
  2. petrucci666 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm 99% sure that you can't use the iMac as a display. Somebody has asked this before and I remember reading that it couldn't be done because some people want to use the iMac as their PS3 display or as a TV
  3. Sodner macrumors 68020


    Jan 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have a 2011 iMac and was able to use it as a display for a MacMini I had using "Target Display Mode." (Though both were 2011 models and I used a TB cable.)

    To enter Target Display Mode, press command + F2
  4. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    How would you get the FireWire port on the MBA? Isn't that's what you need to make it run in target mode?
  5. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Thunderbolt -> Mini Displayport works fine.

    Mini Displayport -> Thunderbolt port does not work.

    You will be able to connect your new Air to your older iMac.

    Check for a mini displayport - mini displayport cable. Around 10 USD.
  6. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    thats target disk mode, the iMacs have target display mode.

    a new macbook air will work with an old imac, but a new imac won't work with an old macbook air.
  7. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    Why don't you just transfer the content to the iMac?
  8. ManuelGnR, Sep 1, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012

    ManuelGnR macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2008
    I've got exactly the same as the topic starter: a late 2009-iMac (27) that I want to connect to my MBA 13'' 2012 I just ordered. The MBA has a thunderbolt port, the iMac has a mini-DisplayPort. According to the Apple website you can just use a cable from mini-DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort and plug it in to a Thunderbolt port. Is this the way to connect the MBA and iMac?

    Is it possible to use the iMac both as a screen for the MBA and as an iMac at the same time? I think I've seen something like that somewhere..
  9. Blackberryroid macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2012
    The thunderbolt to thunderbolt and minidp to minidp are exactly the same, aren't they? So I can't see the issue why it's so hard to pick between thunderbolt to minidp and vice versa.
  10. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    To connect a Macbook Air (with Mini-Displayport or with Thunderbolt) to a 27" iMac without Thunderbolt, you need a Mini-Displayport to Mini-Displayport cable.

    To connect a Macbook Air with Thunderbolt to an iMac with Thunderbolt (2011 model) you need a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable.
  11. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I don't understand what you're trying to say here.
  12. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I have a mid-2010 27" iMac and it does allow video input through the display port to use the screen for an external source.

    I know it was the last model which did this, but I don't recall if the previous model which you have also allowed video input. You might check your owners manual (or view it online at Apple Support) to see if your model supports this.


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