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Question: Connecting a 2011 macMini to a new iMac

How do I set up a 2011 macMini to a new iMac? I would like to use the macMini as a backup/Time machine destination.

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You could boot it into target disk mode and connect it via Apple's Thunderbolt 3 - 2 adaptor with a Thunderbolt cable to access its hard drive (it will show on the iMac's desktop as you would like), but again, that would not be a good time machine destination (not even sure if macOS would allow you to if the mini still had its OS installed, but it probably would if you erased it).


That said, 2011/12 minis are still coveted machines due to upgrade paths, you could be better suited selling it, putting some proceeds towards a dedicated backup drive, and pocketing the rest! 🙂


It seems like you know your plan, but macOS Server - Overview - Apple (CA) is a nice little product with a host of features, that may allow you to get more use from the machine. I use it for its time machine and vpn services.

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Nov 17, 2017 11:47 AM in response to Chris Billington1 In response to Chris Billington1

Not a good idea at all to use another Mac as a TM backup if you are still using it as a computer. It's much easier to get an external HD (recommend OWC Mercury Elite Pro series) and use that EHD as your TM drive. There are plenty of other uses for a MM, such as using it as a media server.

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Nov 17, 2017 11:47 AM in response to Chris Billington1 In response to Chris Billington1

Not a good idea at all to use another Mac as a TM backup if you are still using it as a computer. It's much easier to get an external HD (recommend OWC Mercury Elite Pro series) and use that EHD as your TM drive. There are plenty of other uses for a MM, such as using it as a media server.

Nov 17, 2017 11:47 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 11:51 AM in response to rkaufmann87 In response to rkaufmann87

I got the iMac yesterday. Great piece of work I think. I have no intention of using the macMini as a computer. I am thinking to erase it, reinstall the OS and then sell it. Still, it would be good know how to connect the two so the MM would show on the iMac desk top.

Nov 17, 2017 11:51 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 11:55 AM in response to Chris Billington1 In response to Chris Billington1

You could boot it into target disk mode and connect it via Apple's Thunderbolt 3 - 2 adaptor with a Thunderbolt cable to access its hard drive (it will show on the iMac's desktop as you would like), but again, that would not be a good time machine destination (not even sure if macOS would allow you to if the mini still had its OS installed, but it probably would if you erased it).


That said, 2011/12 minis are still coveted machines due to upgrade paths, you could be better suited selling it, putting some proceeds towards a dedicated backup drive, and pocketing the rest! 🙂


It seems like you know your plan, but macOS Server - Overview - Apple (CA) is a nice little product with a host of features, that may allow you to get more use from the machine. I use it for its time machine and vpn services.

Nov 17, 2017 11:55 AM

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Question: Connecting a 2011 macMini to a new iMac