Help with second iMac for monitor

Joelh82

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 7, 2018
3
0
Washington
my wife has a 2017 27” iMac and I want to purchase another used 27” iMac to use for a second monitor. The goal is just for the screens to be identical in size and shape, so I would like to buy the oldest/least expensive model I can. I have dug around online and a 2015 model looks to be the same but I’m not certain on that? Any help in what I should be looking for would be a great help, thanks!
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
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I believe the iMac models capable for Target Display Mode are the 2009-20014. Not sure why Apple took that ability away, especially since they are out of the display business.
[doublepost=1544207723][/doublepost]Here is a guide from Apple showing the models you can use and what ports you need on the Mac you want to display from.
[doublepost=1544207834][/doublepost]This is important to note for the 2014's:

Apple Website said:
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014) and later iMac models can't be used as Target Display Mode displays.
[doublepost=1544208232][/doublepost]It might also be important to note that the resolution will be different from the Retina 2017 27" iMac and all the iMacs that are capable of Target Display Mode.

This might be a concern for some people.
 

Joelh82

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 7, 2018
3
0
Washington
Thanks for the help. So does the note about 2014 and later models not supporting target display mode meant I can use them for a second monitor? As far as the difference is picture quality, it won’t be a big deal. This second monitor will be used for school work and writing papers. The most important thing to her it that they match as far as size and shape so the look identical sitting next to each other. I noticed the newer models have a much smaller profile from the side and want to get the oldest one possible that still looks the same. I just can’t justify buying a second new computer just to use as a screen. Thanks aging for responding.
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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So does the note about 2014 and later models not supporting target display mode meant I can use them for a second monitor?
The 2014 Retina models, and the 2015+ models WILL NOT do Target Display Mode according to Apple.

The Late 2009 - Mid 2014 (non-Retina) models can do Target Display Mode.

The most important thing to her it that they match as far as size and shape so the look identical sitting next to each other.
From the front, I believe that there are no noticeable differences between the Late 2009 through the 2017 models.

I noticed the newer models have a much smaller profile from the side and want to get the oldest one possible that still looks the same.
This started with the Late 2012 models, so if you want identical form between the source iMac to the second one, then you will have to start with the Late 2012. From the side view, the Late 2012's look like the 2017's.

Maybe someone could chime in if I am incorrect about any of this, as my newest iMac is the Late 2012.
[doublepost=1544211147][/doublepost]
From the front, I believe that there are no noticeable differences between the Late 2009 through the 2017 models.
This started with the Late 2012 models, so if you want identical form between the source iMac to the second one, then you will have to start with the Late 2012. From the side view, the Late 2012's look like the 2017's.
Just a side note, depending on the position of the iMacs, the user might not ever notice the thin models from the thick ones.

I have a Late 2012 27" iMac. Due to the design and position of my desk that the iMac sits, my children have never seen it from a side profile.

A friend of mine pulled an iMac out of the trash that wouldn't boot up and asked me to look at it. It end up being a max out, BTO Mid 2011 27" iMac. I got it working, and it runs really well.

Anyways, while my girls were at school, I was working on the iMac on my one daughter's computer desk. They came home and saw the iMac, and due to the position of the iMac, they could clearly see how thick it was.

For a few days they thought it was my Late 2012 iMac until one of them saw mine on my desk and was confused about the second iMac. I told them the story about it being in the trash and asked them why they thought it was my Late 2012 iMac. They swore it looked exactly the same, until I rotated my iMac for them to see how thin it was, and they had no idea.

My point is that from the front, your wife would probably not know they were not the same thickness.
 
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Joelh82

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 7, 2018
3
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Washington
Thanks everyone for helping out. The only thing I’m not clear on now is target display mode. If the Retina display models don’t support it, can you not use a Retina display model as a second monitor?
 

Tmelon

macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2011
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Thanks everyone for helping out. The only thing I’m not clear on now is target display mode. If the Retina display models don’t support it, can you not use a Retina display model as a second monitor?
Target display mode is just the ability to use it as an external monitor. Any models that don't support that cannot be used as secondary monitors.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
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Thanks everyone for helping out. The only thing I’m not clear on now is target display mode. If the Retina display models don’t support it, can you not use a Retina display model as a second monitor?
Only iMacs that support Target Display Mode can be used as a monitor.

Retina iMacs, along with many other Macs like MBP, MBA, Mac Minis can use iMacs that support Target Display Mode as a monitor.
 
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Talwin Davis

macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2020
2
0
Wisconsin
I believe the iMac models capable for Target Display Mode are the 2009-20014. Not sure why Apple took that ability away, especially since they are out of the display business.
[doublepost=1544207723][/doublepost]Here is a guide from Apple showing the models you can use and what ports you need on the Mac you want to display from.
[doublepost=1544207834][/doublepost]This is important to note for the 2014's:


[doublepost=1544208232][/doublepost]It might also be important to note that the resolution will be different from the Retina 2017 27" iMac and all the iMacs that are capable of Target Display Mode.

This might be a concern for some people.
Is there a work around for this
 
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