This article describes how I use an early 2009 27″ iMac as an external monitor. There are many articles which describe the process when using Windows 10 but since I don’t use that operating system, I will document the steps on Linux.

My daily (Linux) driver is OpenSUSE Tumbleweed and sometimes, I use my old 2009 iMac as an external monitor for my MSI laptop. My laptop has a mini displayport output so all I needed was the right cable which Amazon delivered for CAN $10.49 plus tax.

This is the specific cable I bought but keep in mind that my laptop has a mini DP output. Depending on your laptop brand, your configuration is most likely different which means that you need to find the correct cable.

linux 2009 imac external monitor
Image showing my laptop with 2009 iMac as external monitor.

How to configure a laptop running Linux with an iMac es external monitor

After I plugged in the displayport cable, I booted the iMac and logged in. Then I booted the laptop and noticed that the iMac screen went dark for a few seconds. I then booted the laptop and without pressing any keyboard shortcuts, the screen instantly mirrored on the iMac.

After a while, I rebooted and the second time this did not happen automatically so I temporarily unplugged the displayport cable from the laptop and upon re-inserting it, the iMac instantly picked up the signal and gave me a pop-up where I could select from four options. Basically, there are four ways to use the external screen. I could mirror the laptop or use the external monitor in dual-screen mode which is what I did.

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