Will this allow users to start a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac in "Target Disk Mode" and access it via a FireWire-only Mac? (And vice-versa)

I know that Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt Target Mode is available and obviously FireWire-to-FireWire, but I'm more curious about using Target Disk mode to support older Macs with newer ones and vice versa.

Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter

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3 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    I have tested a cross Thunderbolt to FireWire "Target Disk Mode" connection using an Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter both ways ("master" and "slave" roles done either way). The OS was 10.8.1. The computers were Mid 2012 MacBook Air with Thunderbolt (only) and 2010 MacBook Pro 13" with FireWire (only).

    First of all I confirmed that the actual "Target Disk Mode" connection worked both ways when the machines switched roles as "master" or "slave". When the FireWire (only) machine is "slave" the FireWire Symbol shows on the screen. When the Thunderbolt (only) machine is slave you sometimes see both a Thunderbolt symbol and a modified FireWire symbol.

    As a test of actual practical use for troubleshooting, I installed the latest version of DiskWarrior (4.4) on both machines and then ran DiskWarrior from the "master" machine" to the "slave machine" both ways having the Thunderbolt and FireWire machines switch roles.

    Everything worked beautifully.

    Interestingly I asked Apple floor staff at Apple Ginza Tokyo store (non-genius) if this would work, and I was told that "Target Disk Mode" used between Thunderbolt and FireWire machines had not yet been confirmed. The impression I got was that the Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter is mainly promoted for connection of FireWire equipped externals (like hard disks etc) to the new Thunderbolt machines. "Target Disk Mode" use seems to be "something nerdy" that few users would ever attempt :-D

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  • Yes, a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac will do either Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode, or with the Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter, it will do Firewire Target Disk Mode just fine.

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  • Yes! As long as the Thunderbolt adapter is connected to a Mac's Thunderbolt port, any FireWire-equipped Mac (and the Thunderbolt Mac) may be targeted.

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