I just got my first Raspberry Pi and I was wondering how I can use an iMac as a display for NOOBS.

I tried connecting an HDMI cable to the Raspberry Pi and connecting the other side to a Mini Display Port Adapter (4k) connected to the iMac's thunderbolt slot but the computer doesn't seem to get the input.

  • 2
    I'm pretty sure the HDMI port on the iMac is output only. I don't believe you can use them as a display like that... – Ron Beyer Jul 15 '16 at 1:26
  • Any suggestion on how I can do it? – Daniel Valderrama Jul 15 '16 at 1:43
  • The same way you would connect your TV to another TV -- oh wait, you can't do that... – goldilocks Jul 15 '16 at 12:36

The connection by HDMI Port is not possible this way. What you want to do: connecting to the PI with a remote desktop application to view the GUI.

But this way doesn't work until you have installed an OS on the PI. Because you don't have a keyboard or monitor available I recommend you reading this post: Installing Raspbian from NOOBS without display

It shows you how to install the OS by remote (from your MAC). You just need a SD card reader.

Plan some time to set this up and be patient. It will prevent you from making mistakes.

  • I followed the link. There are a few steps which are out of date, but for anyone dedicated and knowledgeable enough may be possible. But WHY BOTHER? The whole point of NOOBS is easy install without requiring any special tools. If you were going to go to this much trouble, would it not be better to just install Raspbian? – Milliways Jul 15 '16 at 8:04
  • @Milliways you are right it's pretty extensive to go this way. The easiest way maybe is to go with respbian. I was in the same situation as Daniel. What I did to keep things easy: Plugged the PI to my TV via HDMI and borrowed a usb keyboard of friend. After half an hour Raspbian was installed and I did the configuration via ssh. Maybe this is still the best option. – timdelawe Jul 15 '16 at 8:17
  • A thing didn't noticed yet: A ssh remote configuration is possible even if Raspbian isn't installed. You can just boot into it than connect by any ssh application. I guess this is what @Milliways thought about. – timdelawe Jul 15 '16 at 8:40

You can not use the Mac (or AFAIK any other computer) as a HDMI monitor.

You can connect to the Pi using VNC as GUI or ssh as terminal BUT first you have to setup NOOBS which requires a screen and keyboard.


Try using VNC viewer. Just look up a tutorial online.

  • Although this is certainly a solution to the problem you haven't actually explained why it might not be possible to connect a Pi 3 to an iMac in the way proposed in the question. – Darth Vader Aug 14 '16 at 16:57
  • Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include some explanation here. – Ghanima Aug 14 '16 at 21:08

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