How to Use iMac as External Monitor?

How to Use iMac as External Monitor? All the options to use your Apple iMac as an external monitor for other devices.

The Apple iMac has many advantages. Being an all-in-one computer, it comes with its own high-quality display, so you don’t need to hook it up to an additional monitor to enjoy all your macOS content. However, with this in mind, many users wonder about the possibility of use the iMac as a monitor with its screen instead of being a complete computer.

The truth is that this function existed years ago by default and, in fact, if you have a Mac with macOS Catalina or earlier, you might still be able to use it depending on your computer model. However, although Apple does not currently offer the option of using it as an external monitor, we will show you the existing options to do it.

How to Use iMac as External Monitor?

We show you all the possibilities of using an iMac as an external monitor

As we mentioned, despite the fact that Apple does not always allow the use of an iMac as a monitor, unlike what happens with other all in one available on the market, there are always options that will allow you to use your screen to transmit content from other devices, using it as a monitor.

Use software like Duet or Luna Display

Probably one of the easiest options for using your iMac as a monitor is to use a third-party program. Software like Duet Display or Luna Display can be very useful. With either, you can connect another Mac or Windows PC to your iMac and use it as a second monitor to maximize your productivity.

However, it must be taken into account that Duet Display requires an annual payment in order to get the most out of it and have the functions. During, Luna Display is free but it is true that you will need a small accessory that connects to the device to be able to access it properly, and it’s usually not cheap.

Luna Display: Use the iMac as an external monitor

Thanks to programs like Luna Display, it is possible to use an iMac as an external monitor

In detail, it is important to note that both programs are also compatible with operating systems such as iOS, iPad, or even Android. This means that you can also use an iPad or an Android tablet as a second monitor for your computer, with the possibilities offered by the presence of a touch screen.

Use AirPlay to stream screen content between your devices

With the arrival of macOS Monterey, the ability to AirPlay on Mac has been enabled. This means that you can, for example, take content from your iPhone, iPad, or even the whole screen of another Mac and share it via AirPlay on your iMac.

If what you wanted was, for example, to play a video or pictures and you have a nearby iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch which you can use to stream the content, with just share it via AirPlay you will have the option of using your iMac as an external monitor. Or, if you just wanted to use it as a monitor for another computer with macOS using this same feature, you can connect one computer to another and use the iMac to view the other computer’s screen.

So you can AirPlay your Mac with macOS Monterey

In addition, the use of this method has an important advantage in that you won’t need to use a single cable. It is enough that the two computers are connected to the same Wi-Fi network to be able to use the function. For this reason, it turns out much more comfortable as long as the router is a sufficient distance between all devices.

Sidecar can also help you if you have an iPad

Another option that can help if you have an iPad Its Sidecar. It was introduced with macOS Catalina and promises the possibility of using any iPad as a second iMac monitor it is compatible. As for the functions like those offered by Luna Display or Duet Display, it allows using all the advantages like the touch screen of the iPad.

To use it, just connect the iPad and iMac to the same Wi-Fi network or connect them using a cable USB (most recommended for best possible performance). From there, in the macOS Control Center, you’ll have the option to use Sidecar to extend your iPad screen. This way you can choose if you want to use the iMac monitor as an external display or if you prefer to use the iPad for this depending on your preference.

Use the iMac as a display with Target Display Mode

As Apple explains on its site, the destination screen mode is only available on older iMac computers iMac released in 2011, 2012, 2013, and mid-2014 using a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 cable, or iMacs released between 2009 and 2010 using a Mini DisplayPort cable.

Must also have macOS High Sierra or earlier operating system on the iMac to be used as a monitor, and macOS Catalina or earlier on the main computer to connect the iMac too, the latter having been released before 2019. If you meet these conditions, to use it as an external monitor you just need to follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your iMac is turned on and meets the above requirements.
  2. Make sure the other Mac is turned on and connected.
  3. Connect the two computers with the Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt cable, as appropriate.
  4. Press Command-F2 on the iMac keyboard. You should be able to see the other Mac’s desktop.
  5. To exit target screen mode, press Command-F2 again.

With iMac target display mode, you can use it as an external monitor

This way you can use your iMac as an external monitor. However, it is important to note that this only works on older computers. Unfortunately, Apple chose to eliminate it from its development plans, so if you want to use one of the latest iMacs as an external monitor, you’ll have no choice but use one of the alternatives mentioned sooner for that.