Can I Use My iMac As A Gaming Monitor?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Nov 21, 2022

Gaming monitors enhance visual quality during gaming by offering high-definition visual output at an ultra-fast refresh rate and high resolution. How a display monitor renders video output affects the gaming experience and performance.

External high-tech monitors may also be needed to improve display and ensure the quality of graphics is rendered correctly, with minimal input lag or display input latency.

Do you have your old iMac lying around in your closet? Can you use it as a gaming monitor?

The 24-inch or 27-inch iMac computers released between 2009 and 2014 can be used as gaming monitors for other Apple devices because they support Target Display Mode.

Also, iMacs offer the graphical capacity to run graphic-driven modern games.  They’ve been proven to beat most integrated and dedicated graphics cards, including the GeForce 1050 Ti and Radeon RX 560.

Apple, HP, and other established tech companies are always in a death race to offer the best devices to their wide range of consumers, and this does not exclude gamers.

With every new model of gadgets and accessories shipped into the market, you get a feeling that the one in your home office or gaming room is becoming obsolete and needs to be replaced soon.

Well, in some not-too-rare cases, old or abandoned gadgets can be put to use in another capacity.

For instance, gadgets like the
HP Spectre x360 14 and

Lenovo Chromebook Duet can serve as tablets when they’re no longer required as laptops and vice versa.

Another relevant example is some of Apple’s old model iMacs, which can serve as a gaming monitor.

Every gamer would love a unique gaming space environment – one that augments competitiveness and guarantee ease of use.

That said, I’m sure you’d love to know the intricacies behind converting your iMac to a gaming monitor.

  • Will iMac make a good display monitor for gaming?
  • What are the requirements?
  • Can I use iMac as a display monitor for my PS4?
  • How can I connect my Xbox one to my iMac?
  • How do I configure target display mode for my iMac?

Not to worry, you’ll find out soon.

Real quick: before we get too far along here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Battle Station Setup here.

Can iMac Function As A Gaming PC?

Can iMac Function As A Gaming PC?


The Macs perform incredibly well compared to other computers of similar capacity, and one would consider throwing out their gaming PCs to get an iMac.

However, Macs are built towards functionality and performance in terms of software optimization. With the hardware configured to improve functionality, it gives little room for the ideal property required for hardcore gaming.

Although you can run most games seamlessly on the iMac, it won’t be the best option to go for when you are considering modern hardcore games. 

Should I Choose An iMac Or A Regular Display Monitor For Gaming?

Should I Choose An iMac Or A Regular Display Monitor For Gaming?

The iMac and iMac Pro monitors are built with high-grade ultra-fine OLED Pro display output features that provide high-resolution video output compatibility.

Gaming monitors have various requirements including, high-resolution video output, high refresh rate usually between 60Hz – 144Hz, compatible display ports like the USB-C ports, thunderbolt ports, with a few providing HDMI compatibility ports.

These features offer better color and resolution quality compared to most regular display monitors, beating most integrated graphics cards at gaming performance when tested with modern heavy graphic games.

Also, having a lower input lag ratio when compared, the Mac monitors will perform better than regular monitors when used for gaming.

Now that you’re certain you want to transform your iMac into a gaming monitor, here are the things you’ll need to make it happen.


  • A Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt Port-enabled iMac. Mini DisplayPort is standard on 27-inch iMac models manufactured between 2009 and 2010, while Thunderbolt is standard on versions released between 2010 and 2014.
  • A PC that has a Thunderbolt port or a Mini DisplayPort.
  • Thunderbolt or Mini Display Connecting Cable

How Do I Configure Target Display Mode On My iMac?

How Do I Configure Target Display Mode On My iMac?

When connected correctly, the iMac screen will automatically display the video output of the connected device that it receives visual signals from.

However, if the interface of your gaming console or Mac PC desktop does not display on this screen, let’s guide you on a few steps to configure target display mode on your iMac:

  1. Restart the iMac or shut it down for a few minutes and reboot.
  2. Restart the other PC or turn off the gaming console and restart.
  3. Unplug the mini-display-to-HDMI adapter or thunderbolt cables from the Mac and the gaming consoles and reconnect. Ensure that all cables are connected tightly and in the right direction.
  4. Input “Command + F2” on the iMac to switch the display.

Alternatively, if this doesn’t fix the problem, and the display still won’t work properly, follow this procedure:

  • While you are logged in to the iMac you intend to use as a gaming monitor or display monitor, move the cursor to the Apple icon and click to activate the menu >> Log out of your user account and return to the login window >> From the login page, input “Command + F2” on the keyboard.
  • Most third-party keyboard third-party Apple keyboards might not support target display mode, so it will be best to use an iMac compatible keyboard. Navigate and select the Apple menu >> click on “System Preferences” and select “Keyboard.” If “F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys” is selected, then you can access target display mode by inputting “Command + Fn + F2” instead of the regular “Command + F2”.
  • Check the version of macOS that your iMac is running on, ensure that it is “macOS High Sierra 10.13.6” or earlier. Target display mode is not supported on later versions of macOS and Windows Operating systems.

Can iMac Work As A Display Monitor For My PS4?

Can iMac Work As A Display Monitor For My PS4?

If you are looking to use a PS4 console on an iMac, then you might have to consider a different setup because an iMac does not have HDMI-compatible ports.

Using a regular display monitor or Mac screen that has HDMI compatibility display ports, the basic requirement is to connect the PS4 console using an HDMI cable.

How Do I Connect My Xbox One Console To My iMac?

Home Office Design Ideas

Every gamer that owns a Mac and Xbox console will definitely want to take advantage of the large LCD screen of the Mac for enhancing their gaming experience. I mean, who wouldn’t? The Xbox one provides more compatibility with the Mac as it can use a display-to-HDMI adapter to support the connection. You can connect the Xbox one to a Mac using the following steps:

  • STEP 1: Plug in the mini display side of the mini-display-to-HDMI adapter to the display port at the back of the Mac monitor.
  • STEP 2: Plug in the other side of the mini display cord to the corresponding port in the adapter box.
  • STEP 3: Plug the HDMI cable from the adapter to the HDMI port of the Xbox console.
  • STEP 4: Plug the power cables of the adapter box and turn on the Xbox console and the adapter box.
  • STEP 5: Press “Command + F2”, navigate and switch the iMac display mode to the Xbox display mode. The Xbox interface will appear and be visible on your iMac display monitor.

Next Steps

Want to join others who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be?

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Robert David Orr

I'm an old school gamer from way back as a kid of the 80s - My first console was the Commodore 64. Since then, I've been gaming on everything from PC games to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the Xbox One. Learn more.

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