Target Mode Imaging

Disclaimer: Apple does not recommend or support monolithic system imaging as an installation method because of recent improvements in macOS security, hardware, management, and deployment. Apple encourages IT administrators to convert from device imaging to Automated Device Enrollment (formerly DEP) workflows. For more information on supported methods of installing macOS, see APFS and imaging in Apple's macOS Deployment Reference. For more information about enrolling and deploying computers using Automated Device Enrollment and a PreStage enrollment configured in Jamf Pro, see Computer PreStage Enrollments.

Target Mode Imaging (TMI) allows you to image multiple computers subsequently by connecting them to a host computer using a FireWire, Thunderbolt, or USB-C cable. This can be ideal when using a network connection is not optimal or supported.

To use TMI, you run Jamf Imaging on a host computer. Then, you boot the computers being imaged (target computers) to target disk mode and connect them to the host computer.


To use TMI, you need:

  • Target computers that support target disk mode

  • A host computer with Jamf Imaging installed and a FireWire, Thunderbolt, or USB-C port

    Note: It is recommended that you use a dedicated host computer for TMI.

  • A configuration with a base image and packages (For more information, see Configurations.)

  • A distribution point (For more information, see About Distribution Points.)

    Note: While you can use a file share distribution point on the network, it is recommended that you use a local distribution point for optimal data transfer speeds. For more information, see the "Target Mode Imaging" section in the Imaging Mac Computers with Jamf Pro technical paper.

  • A Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable, FireWire cable, or USB-C cable

  • A naming scheme (For more information, see the "Target Mode Imaging" section in the Imaging Mac Computers with Jamf Pro technical paper.)

Using TMI

  1. On the host computer, open Jamf Imaging and authenticate locally.

  2. Authenticate to the Jamf Pro server when prompted.

  3. To add the computer to a site, click Site images/download/thumbnails/79174930/Site.png and choose a site.

    Note: This button is only displayed if you have a site configured in Jamf Pro and are logged in with a Jamf Pro user account that has full access or access to multiple sites.

  4. Choose "Target Mode Imaging" from the Target Drive pop-up menu.

  5. To erase each target drive before it is imaged, select the Erase drives connected to this computer checkbox.

  6. From the Computer Names pop-up menu, choose how to assign names to target computers:

    • To be prompted to manually enter a name for each computer, choose "Prompt for Each Computer".

    • To automatically generate names in numerical order, choose "Use Numerical Order". Then enter a starting number, and a prefix and suffix as needed, and click OK.

    • To use each computer's MAC Address as the name, choose "Use MAC Address". Then enter a prefix and suffix for the MAC Address as needed and click OK.

    • To use each computer's serial number as the name, choose "Use Serial Number". Then enter a prefix and suffix for the serial number as needed and click OK.

    • To assign names based on the contents of a CSV file, choose "Upload CSV File" and upload the file.

    • For more information on using a CSV file to assign computer names, see the Creating a CSV file to Assign Computer Names During Target Mode Imaging Knowledge Base article.

  7. Choose a configuration from the Configuration pop-up menu.

  8. Choose a distribution point from the Distribution Point pop-up menu.

  9. From Computers Will Check In with Jamf Pro pop-up menu, choose the approximate amount of time until computers will check in with Jamf Pro.

    Important: Computers that do not check in within the specified amount of time will not be enrolled with Jamf Pro.

  10. To bypass the prompt displayed before imaging each computer, deselect the Prompt before imaging each drive checkbox.

  11. (Optional) Click Show Custom images/download/thumbnails/79174930/Show_Custom.png and use the tabs and options to customize the imaging process.
    For an overview of each pane, see Customizing the Imaging Process.

  12. Click Start.

  13. Boot a target computer to target disk mode.
    To do this, turn on the computer and immediately press and hold down the T key.

  14. Use a FireWire or Thunderbolt cable to connect the target computer to the host computer, and then click OK if prompted.
    The imaging process starts immediately.

  15. When the imaging process is complete, disconnect the target computer.

  16. Repeat steps 13–15 for each target computer.

Related Information

For related information, see the following sections in this guide:

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