Using and Old iMac as a Server

A random question…
I have a functioning 2013 iMac that is currently not being used as I replaced it with a new iMac in late 2020.
The 2013 iMac has an older OS, some of the apps are obsolete, and it operates rather slowly. I could happily wipe the hard drive and reload the OS.
I am aware that many people use a Mac mini as a home server. I wondered if I could use my 2013 iMac as such? I have not yet researched this at all and I am not even sure how I would use the old Mac as a server. It just seems a waste to have it sitting in a cupboard when it could potentially be useful.
Can anyone point me in the direction of an “idiot’s guide” to using a Mac as a home server?

You definitely can use it as server. If you want to keep using macOS with it, I would suggest to try “patching” it using OpenCore Lagacy Patcher. This would allow you to upgrade to Ventura and pretty soon Sonoma.

I would use this as some sort of automation or backup server. Having it on a more recent OS would allow it to take advantage of the latest versions of your favorite mac apps.

For me, this would be Shortcuts, Hazel, Keyboard Maestro and Bunch. I currently use KBM’s remote trigger feature to launch stuff on my 2016 MBP. That’s barely scratching the surface.

If you’re in to home automation, another favorite of mine is Home Assistant. There are different ways to install it, one of which is as it’s own OS. This would of course replace macOS.

I’m not sure how savvy you are with Linux but another idea is to replace the OS. There are a lot of Awesome Self-Hosted software that you can install that are accessible via browser. Media servers, document management, personal accounting, blogs, etc.


Has Apple said how long they’re going to support Intel? Replacing the OS might be the better solution.

Set up Mac mini as Linux Server

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While this article doesn’t exactly say, i feel like it’s suggesting Sonoma or the next major one will be the last.

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I’ve put Linux on my discarded MacBooks to run as servers or laptops, some with memory less than needed in today’s macOS. Using Ubuntu now. Has all the bells and whistles to be a server and/or laptop. Works well.


Many thanks for all the replies. I will think about my options and try to get something working.