How to Use an iMac as a Monitor for a PC

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

The 27-inch iMac has a built-in LCD screen that displays images produced by the iMac’s internal graphic video card. A special video input on the back of the iMac allows it to be used as an external monitor, bypassing the functions of the computer entirely. You will need an MDP-to-MDP (MDP stands for Mini DisplayPort) video adapter cable from Apple or a third-party retailer to connect the iMac to a PC so that it can be used as the computer’s monitor. No additional software is needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Mini DisplayPort-to-Mini DisplayPort cable

Step 1

Place the iMac next to the PC. Remove the monitor cable from the connector on the back of the PC.

Step 2

Plug one end of the MDP-to-MDP cable into the MDP connection on the back of the iMac. Plug the other end of the MDP-to-MDP cable into the connector on the back of the PC that formerly held the monitor cable.

Step 3

Turn on the iMac. Wait as the iMac automatically enters "target display mode" due to the presence of the MDP-to-MDP cable and displays a blank screen.

Step 4

Turn on the PC. Wait until the desktop appears on the iMac’s display. Go to "Start," then "My Computer," then "Control Panels." Select the "Display" icon from the window that appears.

Step 5

Click the "Resolution" tab in the window that appears. Select the highest resolution from the list of choices presented beneath "Resolution," for example, "1600 x 1400." Click the "Apply" button on the bottom of the window.

Step 6

Click the "Colors" tab. Select "Millions" from the list of choices presented beneath "Colors."

Step 7

Close the window by clicking the red "X" in the upper right hand corner. Repeat this procedure to close the window that is still on the screen.