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saldun70

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 30, 2023
2
1
UK
Hi everyone. Complete noob to the forum here! If this is in the wrong place please move as you see fit, mods. Thanks.

So I have a few questions that relate to each other so I've put them in a single thread:

1. Can I use my iMac as a display for a new Mac Mini M2? Opinions differ out in internet land!

Here's what I have:

27" iMac (2017) 3.4 GHz quad core Intel core i5
Radeon Pro 570
16GB ram

I haven't bought my Mini yet but will go for the M2 with 16gb ram and 512 SSD.

Here's why:

Despite reformatting and reinstalling the OS, and emptying out the hard drive to only essential software, my iMac is still hanging up when I try to edit 50MP photos via Lightroom Classic. So I have to assume it's just not up to the task.

I don't mind upgrading per se, but I do mind having such an amazing display go to waste.

What I'd like to do is get a new Mac Mini M2 and use the iMac as my display.

My research has led me to:

Luna Display
Open Core Legacy Patcher

Both seem okay. Ish.

2. Has anyone used these solutions? Or have any better ideas?

3. How would I set up any kind of solution if I only have the Mac Mini and the iMac? I.e. only one display around. Scratching my head on this one!

Thanks so much in advance for your input.
 

henry72

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2009
1,536
942
New Zealand
It is not viable to make a 2017 iMac to work as an external display. I suggest you sell the iMac and get an external display to avoid issues.

You mentioned 50MP photo editing, is the iMac running on a SSD?
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 603
Jul 20, 2011
5,042
4,409
Hi everyone. Complete noob to the forum here! If this is in the wrong place please move as you see fit, mods. Thanks.

So I have a few questions that relate to each other so I've put them in a single thread:

1. Can I use my iMac as a display for a new Mac Mini M2? Opinions differ out in internet land!

Here's what I have:

27" iMac (2017) 3.4 GHz quad core Intel core i5
Radeon Pro 570
16GB ram

I haven't bought my Mini yet but will go for the M2 with 16gb ram and 512 SSD.

Here's why:

Despite reformatting and reinstalling the OS, and emptying out the hard drive to only essential software, my iMac is still hanging up when I try to edit 50MP photos via Lightroom Classic. So I have to assume it's just not up to the task.

I don't mind upgrading per se, but I do mind having such an amazing display go to waste.

What I'd like to do is get a new Mac Mini M2 and use the iMac as my display.

My research has led me to:

Luna Display
Open Core Legacy Patcher

Both seem okay. Ish.

2. Has anyone used these solutions? Or have any better ideas?

3. How would I set up any kind of solution if I only have the Mac Mini and the iMac? I.e. only one display around. Scratching my head on this one!

Thanks so much in advance for your input.
Since you haven't bought the Mac mini, I'd recommend waiting until (likely) next month for the M2 iMac refresh. Obviously the display will be slightly smaller than you have now. Your other option is of course external display i.e. Mac Studio.

Using the iMac + Luna Display is rather wasteful, as you have to turn on a relatively power hungry machine, just to use your new and efficient Mac mini. If you already had the Luna Display, it might be a decent temporary solution. But at $120 + power cost of using the old iMac, it doesn't seem like a good long-term solution.
 

magphotos

macrumors member
Jan 28, 2023
33
44
Turin, Italy
1. Can I use my iMac as a display for a new Mac Mini M2? Opinions differ out in internet land!
2. Has anyone used these solutions? Or have any better ideas?
3. How would I set up any kind of solution if I only have the Mac Mini and the iMac? I.e. only one display around. Scratching my head on this one!

1. Officially you can't since late 2014, when retina iMacs were released and Target Display Mode was killed. Period. That's all.

2. Was considering those options but ended up buying a Studio Display to pair with my M2 pro mac mini. I investigated a lot but everyone using LunaDisplay or Open Core always says the same: too much lag. Might be pretty good if you only use it as a second reference monitor (ie: viewing fullscreen photos on the second screen when editing in Lightroom) but absolutely not for a primary screen.

3. I would consider trying Screen Sharing via Ethernet (meaning the each Mac is connected to your router via its own Ethernet cable), which is officially supported in Ventura and seems to work pretty fine in this example. I didn't try it myself as i don't have an iMac anymore.

In any case, keep in mind that after buying the Mac Mini you will need any kind of HDMI monitor or TV to set it up on its first boot. You can't do that with the iMac only. Also, keep your Apple keyboard and mouse around as you will need to connect them via usb to the mini for the first setup, after that they will work wirelessly.

Good luck and let us know if you test the various solutions!

EDIT: if you dare, you can convert your iMac to an external screen only. There is an entire thread for that.
 
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