About the external features and ports on your iMac

Learn about the external features and ports on iMac computers from 2012 and later.

2017

   

Front panel

Learn more about these features on the front of your 2017 iMac:

Ambient light sensor

Your iMac uses the ambient light sensor to adjust the display's brightness based on your environment.

FaceTime HD camera

You can use the FaceTime HD camera to video chat with FaceTime for Mac over a broadband connection, take pictures using Photo Booth, or capture video through iMovie. A green indicator light turns on when the camera is in use.

Mic

The built-in microphone supports recording at bit depths of 16, 20, or 24 bits per sample and at sample rates of 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, or 96 kHz. Audio recorded from the microphone is presented as a stereo data stream with the same data on both the left and right channels. You can adjust the microphone gain from -16 dB to +30 dB.

Rear panel

Learn more about these ports on the back of your 2017 iMac:

3.5mm headphone jack

The headphone output supports a stereo data stream at bit depths of 16, 20, or 24 bits per sample and at sample rates of 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, or 96 kHz. The headphone output volume can be adjusted from 0.0 dB to -43.0 dB.

During playback of a 1 kHz sine wave at -3 dBFS voltage level, 24-bit sample depth, 44.1 kHz output sample rate, 100 k load (unless otherwise specified), the audio output has the following nominal specifications:

  • Jack type: 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) stereo combo
  • Maximum output voltage: 1.4 VRMS (+5.15 dBu)
  • Output impedance: <24 ohms
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz, +0.5 dB/-3 dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR): >90 dB
  • Total harmonic distortion + noise (THD+N): <-80 dB (0.007%)
  • Channel separation: >85 dB

SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) card slot 

The built-in SDXC card slot allows your iMac to read and write data to SD media. The slot accepts cards that are Standard SD (Secure Digital) 4MB–4GB, SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) 4GB–32GB, and SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) cards of 32GB and larger. Learn more about the SD and SDXC card slot.

USB 3 ports

Your iMac has four USB 3.0-compliant ports. You can connect compliant USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and USB 1.1 devices to these ports. Learn more about using USB devices with Mac computers.

Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports

Your iMac also has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports. Thunderbolt 3 is an I/O technology that connects devices to your computer at speeds up to 40 Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 combines data transfer, video output, and charging capabilities in a single, compact connector. It offers faster speeds than Thunderbolt 2—up to 40Gbps with a Thunderbolt 3-compatible cable. Thunderbolt 3 also supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity at up to 10Gbps, and can supply 15W of power per port to external devices.

Ethernet port (10/100/1000 Base-T)

iMac computers have a built-in Ethernet port for 10Base-T/UTP, 100Base-TX, and 1000Base-T Gigabit operation. You can connect your iMac to an Ethernet cable from a cable or DSL modem, hub, switch, or router, or to another Mac computer.

The connected device can be either a 10Base-T, 100Base-T, or 1000Base-T device. The port automatically detects which type of device you connect. You don't need to use an Ethernet crossover cable to connect to other Ethernet devices.

The Ethernet port supports the configuration of Ethernet frames larger than 1,500 MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit).

Kensington security lock slot

Secure your iMac with its Kensington lock slot, located below the power cord receptacle.

2012 through 2015

   

Front panel

Learn more about these features on the front of your iMac from 2012 through 2015:

Ambient light sensor

Your iMac uses the ambient light sensor to adjust the display's brightness based on your environment.

Dual mics

The dual microphones operate independently from all other audio input ports and are always available. The built-in microphones support recording at bit depths of 16, 20, or 24 bits per sample and at sample rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, or 96kHz.

Audio recorded from the microphone is presented as a stereo data stream with the same data on both the left and right channels. You can adjust the microphone gain from -16dB to +30dB.

Dual microphones enable beam-forming technology, which delivers more accuracy when using Dictation and reduces background noise for FaceTime video calls.

FaceTime HD camera

You can use the FaceTime HD camera to video chat with FaceTime for Mac over a broadband connection, take pictures using Photo Booth, or capture video through iMovie. A green indicator light turns on when the camera is in use.

Rear panel

Learn more about these ports on the back of your iMac from 2012 through 2015:

3.5mm headphone jack: Line/headphone output

The headphone output is automatically selected for audio output if no external Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format (S/PDIF) optical digital output device is detected. The headphone output supports a stereo data stream at bit depths of 16, 20, or 24 bits per sample and at sample rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, or 96kHz. The headphone output volume can be adjusted from 0.0dB to -43.0dB.

During playback of a 1kHz sine wave at -3dBFS voltage level, 24-bit sample depth, 44.1kHz output sample rate, 100k load (unless otherwise specified), the audio output has the following nominal specifications:

  • Jack type: 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) stereo combo
  • Maximum output voltage: 1.4VRMS (+5.15dBu)
  • Output impedance: <24 ohms
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz, +0.5dB/-3dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR): >90dB
  • Total harmonic distortion + noise (THD+N): <-80dB (0.007%)
  • Channel separation: >85dB

3.5mm headphone jack: S/PDIF optical digital output 

The S/PDIF optical digital output is automatically selected when an S/PDIF optical digital output device is detected on the external combination audio port. The S/PDIF optical digital output supports pulse-code modulation (PCM) and Arc Consistency Algorithm #3 (AC-3) audio formats with the following stereo data stream characteristics:

  • PCM: 16, 20, or 24 bits per sample at sample rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, or 96kHz
  • AC-3: 16 bits per sample at sample rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz

The S/PDIF optical output channel status conforms to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60958-3 consumer mode digital audio.

During playback of a 1kHz sine wave (S/PDIF output format at 0 dBFS output level, 44.1kHz sample rate, 24-bit sample depth, unless otherwise specified), the digital audio output has the following nominal specifications:

  • Jack type: 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) stereo combo
  • Digital audio signal-to-noise ratio (SNR): >130dB
  • Digital audio total harmonic distortion + noise (THD+N): <-130dB (0.00003%)

SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) card slot 

The built-in SDXC card slot allows your iMac to read and write data to SD media. The slot accepts cards that are Standard SD (Secure Digital) 4MB–4GB, SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) 4GB–32GB, and SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) cards of 32GB and larger. Learn more about the SD and SDXC card slot.

USB 3 ports

Your iMac has four USB 3.0-compliant ports. You can connect compliant USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and USB 1.1 devices to these ports. Learn more about using USB devices with Mac computers.

Thunderbolt 2 ports

Your iMac also has two ports that support Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2. Thunderbolt is an input/output (I/O) technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices. Thunderbolt gives you two channels on the same connector, each with 10Gbps of throughput in both directions. 

iMac models from 2014 and 2015 are equipped with Thunderbolt 2, which provides more speed—up to 20Gbps.

Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 ports support these digital video output modes:

  • Mini DisplayPort output using a Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable (optional)
  • DVI output using a Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (optional)
  • VGA output using a Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (optional)
  • Dual-Link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter. Supports 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display (optional)
  • HDMI audio and video output using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter
  • Target Display Mode: In this mode, some iMac systems can serve as a display for another Mac. This is supported via the Thunderbolt port using a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (not supported via a Mini DisplayPort cable).
    iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014) and later iMac models can't be used as Target Display Mode displays.

Ethernet port (10/100/1000 Base-T)

iMac computers have a built-in Ethernet port for 10Base-T/UTP, 100Base-TX, and 1000Base-T Gigabit operation. You can connect your iMac to an Ethernet cable from a cable or DSL modem, hub, switch, or router, or to another Mac computer.

The connected device can be either a 10Base-T, 100Base-T, or 1000Base-T device. The port automatically detects which type of device you connect. You don't need to use an Ethernet crossover cable to connect to other Ethernet devices.

The Ethernet port supports the configuration of Ethernet frames larger than 1,500 MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit).

Kensington security lock slot

Secure your iMac with its Kensington lock slot, located below the power cord receptacle.

FaceTime is not available in all countries or regions.

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