Does an iPad Sync with an iMac?

by Anne Hirsh ; Updated February 09, 2017

An iPad syncs with any computer that runs the latest version of iTunes and has a USB port. This includes modern iMac computers. If you have an older iMac, it must meet the minimum requirements for iTunes, plus you need enough free storage space on your hard drive to back up all files on your iPad.

iTunes Download Specifications

Your iMac must have 200 MB free on its hard drive and 1 GB of RAM to download iTunes. A high-speed Internet connection is best for performing the download, so you need an AirPort card or Ethernet port and cable as well as a broadband Internet connection. Your iMac needs to run OS X 10.5 or a newer version and use a PowerPC G5 or G6 processor, or its Intel or AMD equivalent.

Additional Software and Hardware

Your iMac needs the Safari web browser and QuickTime, both available as free downloads if they are not already installed on your computer. To connect your iPad to your iMac for syncing, you need an accessible USB port and the power adapter cord that came with your iPad. To ensure you have space for all of your data, make sure you have well over 16 G of free hard drive space if you have a 16 G iPad, or 32 G or 64 G for the larger capacity iPads, respectively.

How to Sync

Download and install iTunes if you have not already done so, and then launch the program. In the future, iTunes should automatically launch when you connect your iPad. Plug your iPad into the iMac and wait for it to recognize the device. When it does, your iPad will appear in the "Devices" category in the left column of the iTunes window. Click the iPad title to view your options. The sync process may start automatically. If not, click the "Sync" button to begin syncing your iPad. You must sync the iPad through iTunes when you first set up a new iPad; afterward, sync regularly to back up and protect your iPad data.


The combination of an iMac and an iPad works well for anyone who works with photos, videos or other creative projects. The large iMac screen on newer models lets you do your creative work easily, while the iPad offers you a portable device so you can show off your photos, videos and presentations without carrying any heavy equipment. Many programs you have on your iMac have mobile equivalents on the second-generation iPad, such as Garage Band and iMovie, so you can edit your work on the go if you have an iPad 2.

About the Author

Anne Hirsh has been writing and editing for over 10 years. She has hands-on experience in cooking, visual arts and theater as well as writing experience covering wellness and animal-related topics. She also has extensive research experience in marketing, small business, Web development and SEO. Hirsh has a bachelor's degree in technical theater and English and post-baccalaureate training in writing and computer software.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images