Can I Use My iMac As A Monitor?

Can I Use My iMac As A Monitor?

The Apple iMac is renowned for its stunning display, but can it be used as a second display? This question has puzzled many users over the years, as the answer has evolved with new iMac models and operating system releases. In this article, we'll explore various options and solutions to help you harness the power of your iMac's large screen and impressive speakers.

Option 1: Target Display Mode (Discontinued)

imac and macbook displaying a surfer in water

One of the solutions that used to be available was Target Display Mode, allowing you to use your iMac as an external display when connected to another Mac. However, this feature has been discontinued and is no longer a viable option for iMacs introduced after mid-2014 or Macs introduced after 2019, or those running an OS newer than Catalina. You can check the full requirements on Apple's official site for more details.

Option 2: AirPlay

macbook streaming to imac with airplay

AirPlay, introduced with macOS 12 Monterey, offers a wireless streaming solution. While it won't turn your iMac into a secondary monitor for extending your workspace, it allows you to wirelessly stream videos, images, or mirror your screen from one Apple device to your iMac. This is perfect for enjoying videos, music, or mirroring smaller displays on your iMac's larger screen and enhanced speakers.

Requirements for AirPlay to Mac:

  • macOS 12 Monterey or later
  • iMac introduced in 2019 or later
  • iOS 14 or later
  • iPhone 7 or later
  • iPad Pro (2nd generation) or later
  • iPad (6th generation) or later
  • iPad Air (3rd generation) or later
  • iPad mini (5th generation) or later

Option 3: Sidecar

ipad and imac showing presentation

Sidecar is another feature that might cause some confusion, as it enables you to use your iPad as a second display with your Mac. While it doesn't utilise your iMac as a secondary display, it's worth mentioning as it extends your display using existing Apple devices. More information about Sidecar can be found here.

Option 4: Third-Party Options

woman using a macbook and ipad

Luna Display and Duet Display

If you're looking for a third-party solution to use your iMac as a secondary display, consider Luna Display and Duet Display. While we haven't personally tested these options, they provide promising alternatives.

  1. Luna Display
  • Luna Display offers a USB-C dongle priced at approximately $150 (orders are shipped from the US).
  • It allows you to use any Mac as a second display for your Mac or PC.
  • It can also pair a Mac mini with an iPad, offering versatility and portability.
  1. Duet Display
  • Duet Display is a software solution available for Mac, iPad, or PC.
  • It allows you to turn your iMac into a second display.
  • Pricing starts at around £25 per year, with various membership options.


While Target Display Mode is no longer a practical option, Apple offers AirPlay and Sidecar for specific use cases involving your iMac's display. For those seeking additional solutions, third-party options like Luna Display and Duet Display can provide the functionality you need. Choose the option that suits your requirements and enjoy the versatility of your Apple iMac's impressive screen and audio capabilities.

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