In the scene when the T-1000 arrived at John’s foster parents' house, he asks for a picture of John (thinking that SkyNet doesn’t have any files of what he looked like as a kid). A few scenes later, the T-800 catches a glimpse of John riding by on his motorcycle and instantly recognizes him as John Conner. How is it that the T-800 has the file of what John looked like as a kid but not the T-1000? Is it possible that John uploaded a picture of himself as a kid to the T-800 when the Resistance captured and reprogrammed him or is this a plot hole?

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    Mayhaps they uploaded a photo of young John into the T-800 in the future? You'd think they'd want the bodyguard to know what his subject looks like.
    – Möoz
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 3:58
  • I’m going with that theory too. I’m a huge fan of the Terminator series and I was just watching it recently and never caught that after all these years. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 4:10

4 Answers 4


The T-800 doesn't have a picture of John at that age, as far as we know. But what it does have is a detailed ...

"target profile"

... consisting of John's age and probable location as well as his height (HGHT), weight (WGHT), hair colour & style (HAIR), gender (GEND), eye colour (EYES), distinguishing marks (DIST), facial characteristics (FACI) and build (BILD). When added together these were sufficient to give the Terminator a 99.45036% probability match when it saw him.

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On top of that, it also knows precisely what make and model of motorbike John is riding.

a 1990 Honda 125 dirt bike.

The command to listen and watch for this particular vehicle was locked in priority memory under target profile.

Frakes Novelisation: Terminator 2 - Judgement Day

By contrast, the T-1000's target profile is painfully thin. It knows what Skynet knows from interrogating John's soldiers; John Connor's name, his mother's name, his approximate age and approximate location and that's about it. On arrival it has to 'fill in the gaps' using external sources like the police computer and a picture it sourced from his foster parents.

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    that weight and height always, always bothered me. im a grownass man and i cant remember what my weight was 3-4 years ago. let alone 25+ years ago. and the height... john was a teen and teens tend to go through growth periods. 99.45% match based on all the criteria?? pffff.... shoddy wtiring of the movie staff.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 7:22
  • A computer could easily guess your weight within a kg or two, based on build and height. There was a guy at a local amusement park who would bet with bystanders that he could guess their weight. He was quite good, and he wasn't a computer with all sorts of advanced scanners. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 7:58
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    It makes sense since Future John would be the only one to know what type of bike he rode when he was a kid and uploaded that information into the T-800 to be able to look for him when it was sent back. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 20:14
  • @KlausÆ.Mogensen he's talking about John. He would have to remember his own exact height and weight on the right day in order to program the T800 with the target profile.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 21:16
  • @OrangeDog - I don't think it needs to be exact figure. Merely knowing that he was an early or late bloomer and fat/skinny as a kid would give the Terminator a set of parameters to work with
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 22:47

It makes perfect sense. The T-800 was sent back in time by John Connor to protect his younger self, just like Kyle Reese was sent back to protect his mother. It stands to reason that, just like Reese was supplied with a picture of Sarah Connor, so he could identify her, the T-800 was shown what young John looked like before being sent back. This is just one point in which the plot of Terminator 2 runs closely in parallel to that of The Terminator.


There is actually a key line of dialogue you guys are missing and is often ofterlooked: when the T-1000 went to Connor's foster home and has asked for a photo of him, John's stepfather casually brings up a "BIG GUY ON A BIKE" looking for John prior to the T-1000 arriving. Basically, the T-800 (Arnold) had already been to visit the house, it just happened off-camera. Odds are he didnt know what Connor looked like either, and also had to see a photo of him first.

There was a guy here this morning asking about him, too.

Yeah, big guy. On a bike. Has that got something to do with it?

  • I like this idea. The only squiffy part of it is that, though Janelle and Todd "were dicks", they still seemed to have a basic level of due diligence as foster-parents. I doubt they'd show a big, scary biker photos of their foster son. AND, since everything was calm without a suggestion that violence had occurred, the T-800 didn't forcibly acquire a photo. There is a chance the T-800 got a foot in the house and distance-scanned a photo of John from across a room, but that's getting pretty speculative.
    – Blaze
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 16:27

The T-800 is an infiltration unit...meaning it can use whatever tactics necessary to get the info it needs to get to its target. He could have given Todd and Janelle a million justifiable reasons why he needed to know what John looked like. Todd and Janelle were already tired of John so when the "Big guy on the bike" shows up looking for him, they probably thought John has done something and gives him up to teach him a lesson.


The T-800 already had his profile stored and came to the house just for the sole purpose of intercepting John before the T-1000 got there but had missed him.

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    Hi, is there any evidence that the T-800 actually received information about John in the present as opposed to using whatever he was sent back with? Also, please only post one answer at a time.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 14:05

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