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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Mac Mini / Thunderbolt 27 & iMac (late 2011)?

Mac Mini / Thunderbolt 27 & iMac (late 2011)?
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Richard Clark
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Join Date: Apr 2000
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Feb 25, 2021, 12:18 AM
Hi Guys,

I can't believe it, but it's been 12 years since I've posted on here. Crazy. So I have an old 21.5 inch iMac (late 2011). I'm about to replace it. So here is the scenario and I want to know if it will work:

I'm going to buy a MacMini M1 tomorrow. Tonight I went and bought a 27inch Thunderbolt Display off of Facebook Marketplace. So I'm going to use the display with the Mac Mini.

I want to use the old iMac as a secondary monitor. Since it's got a Thunderbolt port on the back I should be able to use it to connect to the 27in Display with a TB cable.

I know that if I use Command F2 that it should make the iMac a secondary monitor
BUT - would I also be able to access the hard drive in the iMac? I remember in the old days if your started up a computer and held down the T key, then that computer drive would be a target drive and show up on the computer you were booting from.

I'll be honest, getting that 27 inch display was awesome. Especially since it has a hub in the back for USB ports, Firewire 800 (which I use) and Thunderbolt. If I get the set up running the way I want I will have gained a lot of real estate! Please saved money in the long run using the iMac for another display. It will be a bonus to use it as a display and access the hard drive for additional storage (500GB - not a lot but it would be helpful.)

Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!
( Last edited by Richard Clark; Feb 25, 2021 at 01:38 AM. )
"Tough Little Ship" - Riker
"LITTLE?" - Worf after having the Defiant salvaged by the Enterprise (First Contact)
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Mar 1, 2021, 11:08 AM

"Truth be told, we’re at the point where this is no longer as viable an option as it once was because it demands some really precise conditions. The feature isn’t supported on iMacs with the Retina display, and it specifically only works with the following models: 27-inch iMac (late 2009 or mid-2010) or iMacs from mid-2011 to mid-2014."
21.5" iMac 2.7GHz i5; 15" FP iMac 0.8GHz G4, iPhone 5S
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