10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 8, 2012 1:04 PM by den.thed
brantly Level 1 (0 points)

I have an iMac that I bought in 2009.  I want to use it as monitor 2 to our two macbookpro's.  One macbookpro has a mini display port.  The other has thunderbolt which as I believe is backward compatible with mini display port. The iMac documentation says it's only video connection is "mini DVI" (note - mini DVI not DVI).  I see no cables/adapters that can go direct from mini display port to mini DVI so I am thinking I need to go through some other intermediate. I have a mini display port to VGA adapter already but if I get new cables here I'd like to support higher resolution so I am thinking a mini display port to HDMI cable connected to a HDMI to mini DVI adapter.  Can get both with appropriate male/female connection on Amazon.


Has anyone done this specifically (mini displayport to mini dvi)?


Realize that support for audio over this link is questionable but not a concern for me. Hoped to verify that at least the video will work before I bother to order the cables/adapters!

iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)

    According to the specs I found a 2009 IMac has a mini-displayport, not mini-DVI.  So you should be able to just use a mDP-to-mDP cable with no adapters.


    Using a 27-inch iMac (Late 2009 or Mid 2010) as an external display


    Note, it's not clear whether target display mode works with the smaller 2009's.  Maybe not since that apple doc singles out just the 27".

  • brantly Level 1 (0 points)

    It definitely is mini DVI.  I saw that post you referenced and it made me think I had a solution at first but agree that maybe the disconnect is probably that the 27” model is different than mine (which is 24”).  Hence my post!

  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)

    Then I guess it is not a 2009 imac.  It's a 2008 imac.  And I don't think you can use that in target display mode.

  • brantly Level 1 (0 points)

    Thought is was purchased in 2009 but could be the case that it was a 2008 model potentially. Or also that post is referring specifically to 27” models so it may be that the 24” models were different than the 27” ones.


    Will be bummed if I cannot use the iMac as a target display as I had hoped I could do! Has anyone gotten that to work??

  • den.thed Level 7 (25,980 points)



    The Early 2009 only supports output:


    iMac (Early 2009) - Technical Specifications


    Screen shot 2012-03-07 at 7.55.25 PM.jpg


    only the Late 2009 and 2010 27" models support input from an external DisplayPort sources:


    iMac (21.5 and 27-inch, Late 2009) - Technical Specifications


    Screen shot 2012-03-07 at 7.59.45 PM.jpg

  • brantly Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the response but not quite bingo. Neither of those you listed is my system.  I have the documentation that came with the iMac and it lists that it has a ”mini DVI” port, not a mini display port like both options you posted do. And I confirmed that it is mini DVI on the system itself before posting here (found online images of the various types of ports to confirm what I have).


    Seems to support that maybe my system is a 2008.  Sorry if I threw things off by even mentioning a year (I thought it was 2009!). In any case my question still stands - can you connect from a macbook pro (with mini display port or thunderbolt) to an iMac with mini DVI?  Has anyone made that work?  If so via what intermediary since it appears from my research that there is no way to directly connect the two and therefore I think you need to go to VGA or HDMI or something between the two systems?

  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)

    As I said you cannot do this with a 2008 imac.


    And why all this guessing back and forth about the machine? Click the Apple menu, About This mac, More Info... to open the System Profiler, and just click Hardware on the left pane to see what machine you have in the right pane (Model Identifier).

  • den.thed Level 7 (25,980 points)

    Sorry I missed the Mini DVI part, yes that would make it an 2008 or earlier model.


    iMac (Early 2008) - Technical Specifications


    There is no way to connect the two together using any of those connections because neither system supports it.


    Your best solution is > ScreenRecycler

  • brantly Level 1 (0 points)

    Bummer that cannot be handled via simple cables/adapters but I was afraid that might be the case. Thanks for the tip on ScreenRecycler.  Looks like that might be my solution.  Will try it out!

  • den.thed Level 7 (25,980 points)

    Your welcome!