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Tales from IT – Connecting a FireWire 800 MacBook Pro to a Thunderbolt 3 iMac December 11, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos, Tales from IT.
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If you need to get your data copied off of a Mac without taking it apart, Apple built a feature into the OS X operating system called Target Disk Mode. Simply hold down the “T” Key as you turn the computer on and your Mac instantly becomes an external hard drive capable of being read by other Mac computers.

However, certain older Macs have limits on what ports can be used while in Target Disk Mode, and many of those older ports are no longer used in modern Macs like the recent iMac. The 2010 MacBook Pro, for example, can only use its 9-Pin FireWire 800 port in Target Disk Mode, and in order for another computer to connect to it in Target Disk Mode, it needs to be compatible with that port. Newer Macs no longer offer FireWire ports in their computers, and instead include newer Thunderbolt-branded ports. While faster and more capable, Apple users need to purchase an adapter to make the Thunderbolt port work with a FireWire device. Thankfully, Apple does make a FireWire To Thunderbolt adapter, its really expensive, and it doesn’t fit the new Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports included in all new iMac models. You would need to get a second, even more expensive adapter, to connect a Thunderbolt 2 device to a Thunderbolt 3 port.

So it came to be that in order to perform a direct peer to peer data connection between two Macs with just seven years in age apart, Maniac would need to buy no less than one cable and two separate adapters. Maniac called every Apple Tech Support, Genius and personal friend he knew familiar with Apple products and not a single one of them (on either coast) admitted to attempting what he wanted to do, although a few admitted it would probably work on paper.

So what happens when your 2010 MacBook dies and you want to get the files off of it? Will nearly $100 worth of Apple cables do the trick? Watch and find out!