How to Start a Mac in Target Disk Mode on Mac Intel and M1 (2023)

Summary:This is a guide on how to use target disk mode, describes what it is, how to enter target disk mode on Mac Intel and M1, and how to fix target disk mode not working.

How to Start a Mac in Target Disk Mode on Mac Intel and M1 (1)

Mac offers some tools to help increase productivity and solve problems such as: B. repairing hard drivesDisk UtilitymiRestore Mac from Time disk modeis another hands-on program we will delve into. Stay tuned to learn more.


  • 1. Target Disk Mode Overview
  • 2. Prepare to use or target disk mode
  • 3. How to boot a Mac in target disk mode
  • 4. How to fix target disk mode not working
  • 5. Frequently asked questions about target disk mode

Target disk mode overview

Target Disk Mode is a boot mode on Intel-based Macs that helps with data transferget flashIfMigration assistant does not work.Intel Mac target disk modeMac OS won't boot, but the Mac drive behaves like an external storage device on the target Mac, where you can mount, access, format and partition the booted Mac drive in target disk mode.

It should be noted that there is no target disk modeApple Silicona Mac. The previous Target Disk Mode has been replaced by Shared Disk Mode (also called Mac Shared Mode), a new boot option on the Mac M1. Similar,Target disk mode M1 Macprovides a way to access theBoot-DisketteYour Mac from another connected Mac.

How to Start a Mac in Target Disk Mode on Mac Intel and M1 (2)

So what can you do after entering Mac target disk mode? Now that this feature can mount your Mac drive as an external drive on another Mac, you can view, edit, move, and copy files stored on the drive just like you would any other external drive. But much more than that, Target Disk Mode works for:

  • Transfer many files from one Mac to another.
  • Migrate your data from an old Mac to a new Mac.
  • Runfirst aidto fix a Mac drive that won't boot.
  • Start a Mac from another Mac.
  • Disable files ifmacbook won't turn on.

How to Start a Mac in Target Disk Mode on Mac Intel and M1 (3)

(Video) Free up space! Turn any Mac into an external hard drive with Target Disk Mode

How to Run iBoysoft Data Recovery in macOS Recovery Mode?

If no other Mac is available for us to rescue files from broken Mac, you can run iBoysoft Data Recovery directly in recovery mode to recover data on broken Mac.Read more >>

Ready-to-use or target disk mode

Before switching to Mac target disk mode, you need to prepare for smooth and successful data transfer.

  • two Mac computers. The host Mac used for macOS target disk mode must be running macOS High Sierra or later if the source Mac's drive is formatted asAPFS.
  • Non-cable compatible. A Firewire or Thunderbolt cable for an Intel Mac A USB, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, or Thunderbolt 4 (MacBook Pro 2021) cable for an Apple Silicon Mac It's best to use the same connector on both if possible to use Macs. If not, an adapter will do.
  • a charger. AC power is required for MacBooks in the event the Mac fails while using macOS Target Disk Mode.

Monitoring:If either computer has macOS 11 Big Sur or macOS 12 Monterey installed, you need to connect the two computers with a Thunderbolt cable to switch to Mac target disk mode.

How to Start a Mac in Target Disk Mode on Mac Intel and M1 (4)

[2023] Mac Thunderbolt not working - Thunderbolt accessories cannot be used

When you connect a Thunderbolt device to a Mac with a Thunderbolt port but it doesn't work like Thunderbolt display not working, you can read this post to know the solutions for Thunderbolt error on Mac.Read more >>

How to start up a Mac in target disk mode

First, you need to identify your Mac model, whether it's equipped with an Intel chip or an Apple silicon processor. You can then follow the appropriate steps to boot an Intel Mac in Target Disk Mode or an Apple Silicon Mac in Mac Sharing Mode - M1 Target Disk Mode.

(Video) Transfer Files Between Macs with Share Disk! A Target Disk Mode Replacement on Apple Silicon M1 Macs

How to boot into Intel Mac Target Disk Mode

  1. Connect two Macs using the Firewire or Thunderbolt cable mentioned above.
  2. When the Mac turns on on the target drive, click on the Apple logo and go toapple menu>system settings>Boot-Disketteand clicktarget disk modein Startup Disk Preferences, your Mac will reboot and enter macOS Target Disk Mode.

    If your Mac won't turn on now, you can force your Mac to shut down by pressing and holding the power button and then restarting your Mac withTbutton pressed. For Macs with T2 or FileVault enabled, enter the password when prompted.

  3. You will then see a Thunderbolt or FireWire icon on your screen, which means your Mac is in target disk mode.
  4. Wait for the second Mac to recognize your Mac and see your startup disk as an external drive.
  5. You can then proceed to copy orTransfer files from destination Mac to connected Maclight.

How to Start a Mac in Target Disk Mode on Mac Intel and M1 (5)

If this post helps you get into target disk mode, please share it to help more people!

Do not boot M1 Mac Target Disk Mode (Mac Sharing Mode)

Below is a video tutorial.

  1. Connect your Mac M1 to your second Mac using a USB, USB-C, or Thunderbolt cable.
  2. Turn off your M1 Mac and hold the power button until you see the "Load boot options' on your screen.
  3. Cliqueoptions, then clickKeep goingwith the password requested for youAdministratorkonto.
  4. Select from the top menupublic utilities>share driveand click the disk or volume you want to share, and then click theStart sharingPossibility.
  5. On the second Mac, clicklocalizer>Locations>Rot.
  6. In the second Mac network window, double-click the Mac M1 that is sharing the disk or volume and clickconnect as, chooseGastin the Connect As window and clickConnect.

After entering Target Disk Mode on Intel Mac or Mac Sharing Mode (M1 Target Disk Mode) on Mac M1, you can transfer all files stored on the target disk, including folders, movies, music, documents, etc. For other information like apps, user accounts, and macOS you need help fromMigrationsassistent.

Do you find this post useful? Share with more people!

How to Fix Target Disk Mode Not Working

sometimes himThe target disk mode is not displayed on the host computeror the target Mac drive does not appear as an external hard drive on the connected Mac. Do not worry. There are some workarounds to fix Mac target disk mode not working issue.

(Video) Mac OS Migration to M1 MacBook Pro using Thunderbolt 3 Cable in Target Disk Mode 4K

Solution 1. Check cables and ports

With the wrong connectors or faulty cables, the two Macs cannot be properly connected to use macOS target disk mode. Swap different ports or cables to see if there are any connection issues that are causing target disk mode not working.

Solution 2. Disable Firmware Password

IfMac firmware passwordis enabled, you cannot enter target disk mode during a cold boot. You can start your Mac in macOS recovery mode and choose Utility > Firmware Password Utility to disable it with your password.

solution 3Update macOS

If the host Mac's hard drive is in APFS format, the target Mac must be running macOS High Sierra or later. Older macOS cannot read APFS, so it will not recognize or mount the drive on your Mac. Updating macOS via Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update may cause target disk mode to work properly.

Solution 4. Check the settings in Finder

Ifexternal hard drive not showing up on mac, it might be Finder where you set it to hide the drive. In this case, the target disk will not be displayed. You can check this by navigating to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar > Places. Make sure the boxes next to Hard Drives and External Drive are checked.

Solution 5. Mount the hard drive

If the destination disk doesn't appear after making changes to the Finder preferences, you can try to mount the disk manually if theexternal hard drive won't mount on mac. Open Disk Utility on the connected Mac and browse for the destination disk. If it's grayed out, select it and click the Mount button. Then try to access Mac target disk mode again.

Unfortunately, the above approaches cannot make Target Disk Mode work on your Mac, the reason may be related to Mac hardware malfunction. You can contact Apple Support for further assistance.

Get target disk mode working again? Share with more people!


With the steps in this post, you can boot an Intel Mac in macOS Target Disk Mode and an Apple Silicon Mac in Mac Sharing Mode (M1 Target Disk Mode). If Mac target disk mode doesn't work normally, you can try the above fixes to get it working again.

Frequently asked questions about target disk mode

QHow do I exit target disk mode?

(Video) Recover or transfer you files using Target Disk mode


On the target Mac, click on the target Mac's mounted drive and select Eject or drag it to the Trash on the Mac and press the power button to shut down the target Mac, unplug the cable and boot the Mac normally.

QWhat other methods are available to transfer files from Mac to Mac?


(Video) How to use Target Disk Mode with Thunderbolt 3 on MacBook Pro

Apart from using Target Disk/Shared Disk mode, there are several ways to transfer files between two Macs, such as: B. Migration Assistant, Airdrop, File Sharing, Dropbox Email, Cloud Service, etc. . depending on the number and size of the files.


1. How to Use Target Disk Mode on an Apple MacBook
(ExpertVillage Leaf Group)
2. How to do target disk mode on Mac
(Justin's tech trends )
3. How To Use TARGET DISK MODE on Mac
4. Connect this Mac to another Mac in Target Disk Mode
5. Target Disk Mode not Working on M1 Macs? Use Share Disk to Transfer Files From an Apple Silicon Mac
6. Using M1 Apple Silicon to Recover Data From T2 Intel Macs 2018-2020 Target Disk Mode DFU Restore
(Andrew Tsai)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg Kuvalis

Last Updated: 05/19/2023

Views: 5808

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg Kuvalis

Birthday: 1996-12-20

Address: 53157 Trantow Inlet, Townemouth, FL 92564-0267

Phone: +68218650356656

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Knitting, Amateur radio, Skiing, Running, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Greg Kuvalis, I am a witty, spotless, beautiful, charming, delightful, thankful, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.