Wednesday, Jul 20, 2022, 17:01 Tips & Reports

Mac Tip: How To Use An iMac As An External Monitor

Those hoping to expand their screen content onto a larger display who already own an iMac can use the device as an external monitor. Dependent upon model, the computer comes with either a 24" or 27" display in resolutions up to 5K. Apple's "Target Display Mode", however, only works with iMacs from the years 2009 to 2014, but there are alternatives. For some usage scenarios, Apple does provide specific solutions, and in other cases – apps from third parties can be of great service.

Dongle – Yes, Subscription – No: Luna Display
The application Lunda Display allows for multiple different usage constellations. For example, an iPad can function as an external display for the Mac, or a Mac can be used as a monitor for another Mac device – along with a plethora of other possible usage combinations. The hardware requirements do represent some limitations, however – the device with the broadcasted display must be from 2011 or later, and the device on the receiving end requires at least OS X El Capitan. Additionally, this method also requires the "Luna Display" dongle which can be ordered from The United States, costing US$119.99 or around €117. For those ordering from outside The United States, shipping costs must also be taken into account, and they're not entirely insignificant in this case. There is, however, no monthly subscription requirement for the Luna Display service.

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Subscription Required – No Dongle: Duet
To use a Mac (or even PC) as an external monitor, the app Duet is well suited to the task. Additional hardware isn't required, however, users do have to will have to pay a subscription of US$2.09 (€2.04) monthly to gain access to the service's full set of features. There's another single-time payment plan available, providing partial access for US$14.99. The content of the broadcasting device can be either mirrored or expanded on the display of the receiving device.

Broadcasting From The iPad: Sidecar
For those hoping to use their Mac as an external display for their iPad, Apple offers a rather smart in-house solution. Per "Sidecar" the task can be performed with either the help of a cable or completely wirelessly. However, the hardware in question can't be too dated, and the process necessitates at least an iPad Air (2019) – further requirements can be found here. As far as the software side is concerned, iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina suffice.

iPhone Or iPad Content Via AirPlay
If the intended broadcasting device is either an iPhone or iPad, or even an iPod Touch – AirPlay can be of service. Via the broadcasting device's Control Center, screen mirroring can be activated. In some applications, the AirPlay icon will even pop-up in a prominent area of the screen – allowing for videos to effortlessly be broadcasted to the large display of a Mac or other device on the same network. An iPhone 7 or iPad Air (2019) with iOS 14 or newer is ideal in this case, and the Mac requires the current operating system, macOS 12.

External Display For iMac
Of course, the iMac also allows customers to connect with an external monitor – however, which display is selected as the output source depends on the user. In addition to mirroring content from the main display, this method also allows users to expand their desktop display, with the only additional costs (other than the external monitor) being an acceptable USB-C/Thunderbolt cable.

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