Macbook Air > Thunderbolt Cable > iMac - Question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macdudesir, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. macdudesir macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2011
    Blacksburg, VA
    I was thinking about getting a thunderbolt cabe to hook my Macbook Air up to my iMac as an external display. I read that it could also be used for data transfer, so does that mean that the iMac could essentially be a thunderbolt display? (Like using the ports on the back of the iMac as an extension to the Macbook Air ports) Or does it just mean you can transfer data from the iMac hd to the Macbook Air hd (or vice-versa)?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    You can use the iMac as a Thunderbolt display, sort of. It's called Target Display Mode and you press cmd-F2 (I believe) at startup (on the iMac) to use it as an extended display to your MBA. But whether you can use its ports, I'm not too sure. If I had a Thunderbolt cable, I'd try, but alas, I don't =\
  3. jeffg819 macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2006
    I have a 13" 2011 MBA with the Thunderbolt port and a mid 2010 27" iMac that I use as a display for the Air.

    For me, I needed to use a mini-display to mini-display cable to get it to sort of work. When I plug the cable into the MBA and iMac, I can get the iMac into target screen mode and use it with the MBA. I've never been able to get Cmd-F2 to work in that I've read it should be like a toggle switch to allow you to go back and forth with the iMac between normal and target display modes.

    I tried the Apple Thunderbolt cable but it does not work because the iMac only has a display port.

    The work around I have used is I screen share into the iMac so I can use listen to Pandora over the iMac desktop speakers. I've not been able to use any ports on the iMac when in target display mode with the MBA.

    Hope this helps. Been a trial and error kind of thing thus far.
  4. DragonRider macrumors newbie


    Jul 11, 2008
    Related question,

    Can you use the Thunderbolt cable as a network cable to the iMac?? That way you can use the 1 gbps network transfer vs the 400 mbps via usb or 300 mbps via 802.11n?

    At the Apple stores I've gotten both answers. Just picked up an Air and considering a iMac as well.


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