However, specific hardware and cables are required.
The applicable document here is: Here's what TDM is all about. Let's say you have a MacBook Air with a small display that you use for travel. At home you have one of the qualifying iMacs see the table below.
With the right cable, you can connect the MacBook Air to the iMac and use that iMac as either a second display or a mirrored display, giving you a lot more room to work.
To activate TDM, have both computers running, not sleeping, and connect the required cable to each Mac. See Apple's article for more details. Curiously, it does not include an updated reference to iMacs, but this review at TechCrunch suggests that iMacs are supported.
Here's Apple's summary chart. Note how specific Apple is about the cable. Also, note that the source computer doesn't have to be a MacBook.
You can use the iMac target display in either mirror or non-mirror mode. You'll use the brightness control on the target iMac's keyboard.
Because the target iMac is being used as a display only, the source Mac won't have access to the iMac's camera or, say, USB ports. The OS and apps on the target iMac aren't affected and keep running—blindly, however.
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Again, Apple's article has all the details. If you're lucky enough to have the right iMac, this is a great way to save space and money by letting it serve as a second display for another modern Mac.
Unfortunately, the options are limited and have to be followed exactly. The Best Spaceships of Science Fiction.
Connecting an iMac to a MacBook opens a wide range of options for sharing Click the "Wi-Fi" button at the top of the screen, select the network and enter the The iMac and a MacBook Pro both have Ethernet ports.
To connect to a DVI display you need a USB-C to DVI cable or adapter and Apple. If your Mac has Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, you can connect it using iMac ( Retina 5K, inch, Late ) and later iMac models can't be.