Monday, Jun 14, 2021, 12:41 Hardware

Using Your Mac As An External Display: Now Possible Again In macOS Monterey

Some users are still mourning the loss of an earlier iMac feature several years in the past: Target Display Mode. Target Display Mode allowed iMac users to use their "all in one computer" as an external display. macOS Monterey announced at last Monday's WWDC hosted by Apple, will bring a comparable feature to a diverse range of newer Macs with the help of AirPlay.

The Revival Of Macs As An External Display
iMacs from 2009 to 2014 could effortlessly be used as an external display by (for example) a MacBook Pro. This allowed MacBook Pro users to profit from the larger display size of their iMac even if they no longer used the computer. Several iMacs could also be operated side to side. In 2014, Apple cut the feature without a replacement, leaving several users befuddled.

At the WWDC announcement of macOS Monterey this year, the company presented a feature it is calling "AirPlay to Mac". It's more or less the same as the "Target Display Mode" that could be used with iMacs from 2009 to 2014. As an example, AirPlay to Mac can allow a user to mirror the display of their MacBook Pro onto their iMac or to take advantage of their iMac as an additional display. In addition to iDevices, the following models will support the feature: the MacBook Pro (2018 or newer), MacBook Air (2018 or newer), iMac (2019 or newer), iMac Pro, Mac mini (2020 or newer), and Mac Pro (2019).

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AirPlay to Mac Also Possible With USB
In macOS Monterey's feature list, Apple provides some more details about Airplay to Mac. According to the feature list, the feature can allow supported Macs to be used as a "secondary display" for other Macs. The feature works over WiFi and also via USB. The USB option is for users who want to eliminate latency or who don't have access to WiFi.

Not A Full Replacement For Target Display Mode
Exactly how well the feature will allow a Mac to work as an external display remains to be seen. According to Apple, Mac apps will have to provide explicit support for the new AirPlay feature (which includes Keynote and Photos). According to MacRumors, the feature also compresses video quality slightly and still has some latency issues with USB connection – especially when compared to a standard external display. "AirPlay to Mac" is, unfortunately, not a replacement for the old Target Display Mode, however, it is still capable of offering some of the diverse advantages of a true external display.

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