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A1418 / EMC 2833 / Late 2015 / 3.1 GHz Core i5 or 3.3GHz Core i7 Processor. Released October 13, 2015.

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Can I turn my iMac 21.5" 2015 into an external monitor for PC?

My iMac 21.5" 2015 is basically dead. I turn it on and it takes forever to pull up anything. It basically freezes if I try to open a folder - let alone a program. I haven't had it looked at yet but I work from home and wondered if it would be worth the hassle or money to mod it to be turned into an external monitor for my work set up at the house since Target Display Mode doesn't exist for my model. I'm a huge DIY guy. If it's not worth doing that to it, then what should I do with it? Is it worth getting checked out anyways?

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@brandonada40800 if you want to go through the troubleshooting part of the manual for your computer, let me know. My email address is in my profile.


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Using it as an external monitor without Targeted Display Mode is technically possible, but it would require quite a bit of time and technical skills.

Basically, the process involves opening the device up, taking the screen and LVDS cable and removing the Logic Board (which has a built in graphics driver) and replacing it with an independent graphics driver card and driver board, one that features external adapters for things like HDMI and VGA (or what you intend to use).

Here is a post of @moomike doing it with a 2006 model: How to turn a iMac Intel into an External Monitor

On a 2015 Model it will likely be about the same thing overall, but parts may be harder to source. I didn't find anything but sketchy AliExpress listings when I searched for a few minutes just now, but perhaps with the part number of your screen on your specific device and a heftier investment of time you can get better results.

That being said, all the symptoms you've describe point to an aging (and possibly failing) HDD. Given it is 8 years old, if the HDD has never been replaced before this is a sure bet. If you would like to keep this machine running instead, I am fairly confident that replacing that HDD with an SSD will restore your use of the device and be better than it was even when brand new.

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Thank you for your response!! Learned a lot in that video and I definitely don't think it'll be worth the time, effort or money to sink into gutting and replacing as I am no expert - just thought it would be fun to tinker around with. I think replacing the HDD to SSD would be a better solution. Thank you for your expertise and advice!



Completely understandable decision in your situation. It is not the easiest of tasks and if you were looking for a quick and easy side project, it is likely not the right one.

Regardless, the other users here and I are happy to help if you do want to pursue any other project or repair goals, so please don't hesitate to come back. And in the meantime, good luck with your iMac! :)


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@brandonada40800 this is just for the question about the possibility to convert it to a designated monitor. Yes , it is. We would need to know your exact panel number (it's an a label on the back of your LCD) but I show this model to have a LM215UH1(SD)(A1) For that particular model you would simply need a universal driver board like this or even something like this These are examples only and not an endorsement for the product or the seller.

As for "Is it worth getting checked out anyways" that is something only you can answer. It will all depend on what your plan is. Just ask yourself the question are you going to use as a great computer that it is, it if it is fixed. If you decide to convert it, sell the other boards as donor boards etc. through some online auction sites to recover the cost for the driver board. Nothing needs to go to the landfill

Repair is War on Entropy!

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Thanks for the insight! I definitely don't want to throw it away. Just wanted to see which route would be the most sensible. Sounds like getting it looked at is the way to go. Thanks!


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I have done this and converted an iMac into a display. It is not economically feasible. You can buy TV or displays much cheaper that the time, money and study effort. to convert your iMac.

How to build a display using a iMac

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If you get the machine for free or basically nothing it's worth it; but I wouldn't buy one to modify unless it had the LG DCI-P3 panel. The standard sRGB ones aren't worth it.

It's worth it for P3 because the standalone P3 displays are equally as expensive.


@mayer do you remember the cost for you LCD driver kit? Looking back, how much do you think you’ve spend? I ‘ve done a few conversions and never considered economical cost. My motivation to do this was not based on cost etc. I am currently trying to do the same on TV’s where mainboards etc. are not available or are to costly.


@oldturkey03 sorry, it's been to long to remember my costs


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