What Are the Ports on an iMac?

by Peter Grant

Apple's iMac desktop has a monitor that is embedded within the case of the computer, so it offers a slim form factor. Despite its thin design, the number of ports on the computer for peripheral hardware is competitive with many traditional desktop PCs.

FireWire Support

The iMac features a single FireWire port that operates at 7 watts. FireWire is also known as the IEEE 1394 interface. This connection is a serial-bus-based interface and can be used for high-speed, real-time data transfer. It's commonly used to connect digital audio and video components to computers.

USB 2.0 Ports

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a hardware connection that is often used to connect peripherals such as keyboards, mice, digital cameras and printers. Like the FireWire port, it's an industry-standard port and is on many other Apple computers. The iMac offers a total of four USB 2.0 ports. USB 2.0 offers faster data transfer and more versatility than the first iteration of USB ports.

SDXC Card Slot

The iMac also features a single SDXC card slot that allows users to insert SD memory cards used in digital cameras and other electronic devices directly into the iMac. Once the SD card is inserted, you can browse its contents as if it were a hard drive or other memory source attached directly to the computer. Using software included on the iMac, you can also run photographic slide shows directly off the SD card.

Audio Ports

Though the iMac features built-in speakers powered by two internal 17-watt amplifiers, there are audio ports that allow users of the iMac to plug in headphones as well as optical audio inputs. The optical digital output port is a 1/8-inch plug that can be used to connect headphones or external speakers. The optical line-in 1/8-inch plug can be used to connect an external microphone or another audio device, such as a CD player or audio recording equipment, that would be used in tandem with software installed on the iMac.

Video Ports

The iMac also includes ports that allow for video output. The Mini Display Port is a proprietary video-output port designed by Apple. With the help of an adapter, this port connects secondary monitors that use DVI, VGA or dual-link DVI video connectors.

About the Author

Peter Grant has been a professional writer since 1998 and software engineer since 1995. He has contributed to academic papers, open-source software projects and technical documentation across several industries. Grant holds a master's degree in public policy from National University.