How To Use An iMac As A Monitor For A PC

In this article, we will discuss “How To Use An iMac As A Monitor For A PC”. The iMac features are one of the best displays in the market. And if you are more lucky to have a 4K retina monitor. The vibrant screen is more likely to make your workflow more pleasant.

Best of all, you can also use Target Display Mode to connect a MacBook by a late 2009 or mid-2010 iMac.

To answer this question properly – yes, it is possible to use your iMac as a PC monitor. Also, you will need a compatible iMac and PC, even a special cable/adapter. If your Mac is having a Retina Display, this is not possible anymore.

This article will provide a step-by-step article on how to do it, as well as a summary of the necessary gear. Without much more ads, let’s go right in.

iMac As A Monitor For A PC

Can my 24 inch iMac be used as a monitor?

Setting up your iMac to make it use as a PC monitor is much easier than you may also think. but it will only work if you also have a compatible iMac model and cable.

Here is everything you need to know to connect your iMac to your PC.

Requirements

The first thing which you need to do is to check if your iMac can also be used as a secondary monitor. Let’s have a look at the ports. And also if your iMac features a Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort, it can also be used as a monitor.

Also, things are not necessarily as simple as that, so let’s check out some of the compatible models:

  • Late 2009 and mid-2010 24-inch iMacs also featuring a Mini Display port
  • Mid-2011 and 2014 iMacs which is featuring a Thunderbolt port

Some other models (up to late 2014) may also be used as a secondary display. Also, the late 2014 5K retina iMac basically does not offer Target Display Mode. As for some other requirements. You will also need a PC that usually features a Mini Display or Thunderbolt port.

If your PC basically does not feature all these ports. You can also use an HDMI or Display port basically with a suitable adapter. For example, you can also use an HDMI to Mini Display adapter or Mini Display to Display Port adapter. Also, Mini Display, Thunderbolt, or HDMI cable is also required.

If you are not sure about the age of the Mac on  which you are working, it is very simple to find. Then you should click the Apple symbol which is at the top of your Mac. And then simply click on ‘About this Mac’. Next, you will have to review the pop-up for the necessary information.

Setup Guide

When you are sure that your Mac meets the structure list above, let’s get to work when you are setting up your system.

Step 1: Connecting the Cables

You should turn off your iMac and PC. Then you will have to plug the cable into the Thunderbolt, HDMI, or Display port on your PC. Next, you should plug the cable into the Thunderbolt or Mini Display Port on your iMac.

Note: If you are now using an adapter, and you will need to connect the cable to the adapter at the very first. Then you will have to insert the other end into the Mini Display/Thunderbolt port which is on the iMac.

Step 2: Trigger Target Display Mode

You should have to turn on both the iMac and the PC. Then you will have to hold Cmd + F2 or Cmd + Fn + F2 on the iMac keyboard to trigger Target Display Mode. In a while, you should be able to see the screen of your PC mirrored on the iMac.

Screen Resolution Concerns

Basically for optimal display quality. It is more important to properly set the screen resolution.

Generally, by setting the video output to 2550 x 1430 on your PC. Should also be able to match the screen resolution of an older iMac (2008, 2009, 2010, and some 2013 models). Also, Apple introduced 4K retina displays with the 27-inch line in 2014. These iMacs have a great resolution of 5120 x 2880 which may be hard to match if you are working by using a laptop. And, maybe Target Display Mode will not be available anymore.

If you want to check the iMac’s resolution. Then you should click on the Apple logo. Which is located at the taskbar, and then you should select ‘About This Mac,’ and then select the ‘Displays’ tab.

How do I connect my iMac to my PC?

You can also connect to Windows computers and servers on your home network by using your Mac.

For the main instructions of setting up the Windows computer. You should be able to Set up Windows to share more files with some Mac users.

Connect to a Windows computer by browsing

First, in the Finder on your Mac, you will need to select Go > Connect to Server, and then you will have to click Browse.

Then you are easily able to find the computer’s name in the Shared section of the Finder sidebar. Then you should click it to connect. You also need to press All to check out all the shared computers.

When you already locate the shared computer or server, you will have to select it. And then you will need to click Connect As.

In most of the cases you will always need the network area for the shared computer. If you don’t have information regarding this. You will have to contact the computer’s owner or your network administrator.

If you find it necessary, then you should enter your username and password. And then simply select volumes or shared folders on the server.

Passwords for Windows computers and servers are maybe 14 characters or less. Then you should check with the owner or administrator to make sure.

To make it much easier to connect to the computer in the future. You will have to select “Remember this password in my keychain”. To add your username and password for the computer to continue your keychain.

Connecting to a Windows computer by simply entering its address

  • First, in the Finder on your Mac, you will need to select Go > Connect to Server, and then you will have to click Browse.
  • Then you will have to type the network address for the computer in the Server Address field. By using any one of these given formats:

smb://DNSname/sharename

smb://IPaddress/sharename

  • For more information about the correct format for network addresses. You should check Network address formats for shared computers and servers.
  • You will need to follow the onscreen instructions. To type your specific workgroup name and a username and password. Then you will have to select the shared folder which you want to access.
  • And if you don’t know the workgroup name and the network name. (which is called the computer name) for the Windows computer. You should contact the person. Who is the holder of the computer network or your network administrator.
  • If you find it necessary, then you should enter your username and password. And then simply select volumes or shared folders on the server.

Passwords for Windows computers and servers are maybe 14 characters or less. Then you should check with the owner or administrator to make sure.

  • To make it much more easy to connect to the computer in the future. Then you will just have to select “Remember this password in my keychain” to simply add your username. And password for the computer to continue with your keychain always.

Connect using an Ethernet cable

First of all you should connect your Mac to the Windows computer by using a standard Ethernet cable. And if your Mac does not have any Ethernet port, you will have to try using a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.

And connecting the two computers will also result in creating a small local network. That mainly contains just the two computers.

After that, on the Windows computer, you will have to turn on file sharing. And also refer to the instructions which have already come with the Windows computer. But if you are not sure how to do this.

And you will have to make sure the Internet Connection Firewall. Should be turned off on the Windows computer. Or if it is on, you will have to make sure TCP port 445 is also open to allow sharing connections.

For further information. You will have to refer to the user manual and onscreen help for the Windows computer.

And then, on your Mac, select Go > Connect to Server, then simply click Browse. Or type the network address for the computer in the Server Address field.

Reconnect to recent computers or servers

Here are some easy steps to make it more easy to reconnect to all of the shared computers. And servers which you are frequently using:

  • First of all, on your Mac, you will have to select the Apple menu > Recent Items. And then just choose anyone from the list of recent servers.
  • After that in the Finder on your Mac, you will need to select Go > Connect to Server. And then simply click the pop-up menu to the far right of the Server Address field, and then select a recent server.
  • After that you should add shared computers. Network areas and workgroups to the Finder sidebar. And then you will need to select the item, then select File > Add To Sidebar or press Command-T.
  • Then you should add a shared computer or server to your list of favourites. And now in the Finder on your Mac, choose Go > Connect to Server. You will have to enter the network address, and then simply click the Add button .

If you can’t be able to locate a shared computer or server or connect to it. It may not be available, or you may not have permission to connect to it. Then you will have to contact the person. Who basically owns the computer or the network administrator for help.

Can I use an Apple monitor with Windows PC?

A PC can also be able to work with an Apple monitor as long as it supports a mutual connection standard. Apple monitors basically use three connection types: VGA, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt. And the newest monitors use Thunderbolt and while the oldest use VGA. VGA and DisplayPort monitors can also use adapters to work with PCs. Which basically use some alternative connection types.

VGA – Oldest PC Monitor Standard

Most of the older Apple monitors which basically support the VGA connection. Standard and which are fully-compatible with PCs. The VGA standard. It does not have any differences and transmits a straight analog signal. PCs which only have DVI or HDMI monitor connections and can be also use an adapter to add VGA support. The adapter usually connects directly to the DVI or HDMI port on the computer. and then simply converts the signal to analog VGA.

DVI also has built-in support for analog conversion while HDMI does not. Which is making DVI-to-VGA adapters less expensive.

DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort

Most of the Apple monitors which use the DisplayPort connection. Standard are fully-compatible with PCs. The DisplayPort standard was basically designed to complement the HDMI standard. And also has similar performance when using a smaller port. And basically according to PCWorld, DisplayPort is intended for use with computer monitors. When HDMI is intended for consumer devices. PCs which have built-in DisplayPort connections. It can also use Apple’s DisplayPort monitors without the need of any adapter.

Also, if you are having a VGA-, DVI- or HDMI-equipped computer. Which you can use adapters to connect your PC to Mac DisplayPort monitors. The VGA standard also requires a digital-to-analog conversion. And similar features to a larger adapter. DisplayPort and MiniDisplay ports can also be interchanged with adapters as well.

Thunderbolt – High Speed Data

Thunderbolt monitors usually vary from computer to computer. PCs are usually made with Thunderbolts on their motherboards. And are also able to use some Apple’s Thunderbolt-sporting monitors. And according to PC Magazine. Thunderbolt was basically designed for high-speed video editing across many different monitors. Thunderbolt technology basically works more differently than VGA, DVI and HDMI in that. And it does not just transmit some used visual data. But it can also be used to make a perfect chain for any kind of external computer device.

Non-Thunderbolt-contained PCs are usually unable to use an adapter. Basically to convert an outgoing VGA, DVI or HDMI signal. Into the Thunderbolt standard completely. Laptops used to lacking Thunderbolt are more incompatible with the display type.

Basically a new wrinkle to the already-complex world of cables. And monitors is Thunderbolt 3. And the latest version at the time of publication. Thunderbolt 3 usually sports a USB C-style connector. Which is different from Thunderbolt 1 and 2. And you will need an adapter to use an earlier Thunderbolt PC along with a Thunderbolt 3 monitor. You will also be able to find Thunderbolt 3 adapters for DisplayPort, DVI and HDMI as well as VGA.

DVI-supporting PCs

DVI-supporting PCs require some extra attention even when purchasing adapters. And cables to connect to Apple VGA and DisplayPort monitors. And basically according to DataPro, there are five different styles of DVI connections. That are different in adapter and cable support. PC graphics cards typically support some ports. Which are capable of handling the DVI-Dual Link version. That basically includes all the pins which are found in all versions.

The DVI-I Dual Link post can also result in scaling down. For compatibility with the four other DVI versions.

Also, some adapters will only help in supporting a cable. That usually connects to a different type of DVI cable. Digital-only converters will always be missing the analog pins. And analog-only converters will always be missing some of the digital pins. And it means a cable that usually supports all standards. Which will be unable to connect to these adapters.

imac as pc monitor

Imac Target Display Mode Pc

This IS is more compatible with any Operating System, as long as the graphics adapter. It can be able to support the resolutions that the iMac can support. This feature is basically called Target Display Mode. And can also be accessed by pressing COMMAND-F2 on your keyboard when the cable is connected.

Use iMac as a Second Display

Despite the iMac model which you have, it can also be used as a second screen for your PC. You can say in other words, you can also verify the PC display to an iMac even if it is the latest 5K. But you should also know that the iMac always needs to run Windows 10 Home or Pro for the simplest trick to work.

As we all know, Apple has more instructions on running Windows on Mac via Boot Camp here.

Step 1

  • First of all, you will have to make sure your iMac is on and running Windows. Then you will need to connect to the same network as your PC via Ethernet or WiFi.
  • Then you will have to go into Windows Settings on your iMac. Select ‘System’, and select ‘Projecting to this PC’ from the menu bar which is at the left.

Step 2

  • After that, under ‘Projecting to this PC,’ you will have to click on the first drop-down menu. And then select ‘Available everywhere.’ Select ‘First time only’ under ‘Ask to project to this PC. And it is not that much necessary to ‘Require PIN for pairing,’ so you can also keep the option off.
  • Now, at the bottom of the window, you will have to make sure that you give your computer a name. Usually if you are having many different machines at your home.

Step 3

  • You will have to move to the PC and then you can simply access the ‘Action Center’ which is at the bottom-right corner. Then you will need to select the ‘Project’ tile and then select ‘Connect to a wireless display.’
  • The PC will also look for some already available displays. And your iMac should also appear in the results. You will have to click on the iMac and your PC should also show both displays.

Step 4

You may also need to go into ‘Display Settings’. And then you will need to change the resolution so it will appear the same on both of the machines. For example, if you are observing a 5K iMac. The resolution of 2560 x 1440 should work perfectly. But this basically depends on the exact iMac and PC model which you are using now.

Why are Macs more expensive than PCs?

There is also a common misconception. That Macs are basically more expensive than Windows PCs. Macs are very expensive, and also there is not a lot of variety in terms of design. Basically, Apple does not make low-end or mid range machines, only high-end devices. Which is because of that you can’t be able to find a new Mac for $700. Also, there are some high-end PCs which are just as expensive. As most Macs and even much more expensive than entry-level Macs. So it is not entirely correct to say that Macs should always be more expensive than PCs.

Before you are going to make a switch from Windows to Mac. You should always get a realistic idea of the price difference. If you are currently using a low-end PC, the price difference will be substantial. But if you are still using a luxury PC now, the difference may be not ignorable.

Do Macs last longer than PCs?

It is very hard to answer this question. Because there are so many OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Which usually build Windows PCs. Most of the people who feel that Macs last far longer than PCs have switched from using low-end PCs to using Macs. Which are basically high-end devices by default. In that type of case, it is unsurprising that the high-end device would also last longer.

By comparing the longevity of a PC with having a similarly high-end build to a Mac. You may be able to find less of a difference in lifespan. If your main reason for switching to Mac is increased lifespan. You may be just as well off buying a better PC rather than switching from Windows to Mac.

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