Video: We Turned an iPad Pro Into a Mac Mini Display With the Luna Display Adapter

Last week, the team behind the Luna Display adapter that's designed to turn the iPad into a second display for any Mac published an article outlining how the adapter was used to morph a current iPad Pro into a display for Apple's newest Mac mini.

The Mac mini ships sans display, which means if you have an iPad, it can be used as the Mac mini's sole display. We thought the idea was interesting, so we decided to try it out in our latest YouTube video.


The Luna Display is a little adapter that plugs into the USB-C port on your Mac (for older Macs, there's a Mini DisplayPort version). So to use the iPad Pro as a Mac mini display, you need to plug the adapter into the Mac mini and then download the appropriate software.

There's Luna software for both the iPad and the Mac, which you'll need to download to get this setup working. For setup, you're going to need a separate external display for the Mac mini so you can get the software installed, but once it's set up, the iPad Pro can be used as the only display.

Because the iPad and the adapter in the Mac mini work via WiFi, you'll need a strong connection for seamless performance and a zero lag experience.

Once the iPad Pro is set up as the Mac mini's display, it's a neat example of what it's like to use a touchscreen with a Mac machine. You can display full Mac apps on the iPad Pro, from Photoshop to Final Cut Pro.

What's neat is that you can control apps on your Mac mini through the iPad using the Luna Display app and then swipe out of it to access all of your standard apps. Switching between the two is flawless.

The iPad Pro is, of course, a super expensive display for the Mac mini so this is only useful if you happen to have both of these devices. Buying an iPad Pro just to use as a Mac mini display probably isn't a good idea since you can get a bigger display at a cheaper price.

You can also use the Luna Display with other Macs to turn the iPad into a secondary display. If you want your own Luna Display, it's available for $79.

What do you think of the iPad Pro as a touch display for Mac mini? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, Mac mini

Top Rated Comments

mcfrazieriv Avatar
32 months ago
How cost effective!

I think I want to buy a Ferrari to pull my Honda Civic. It will make it a supercar.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anarchy99 Avatar
32 months ago
never heard of luna display, but im curious, wondering if its more reliable than duet display being a quasi-hardware solution.
that said its embarrassing that Apple, the company that invented target display mode hasn't done this natively yet.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tozovac Avatar
32 months ago
How is this different than the Duet iOS app?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
32 months ago
MacOS on an iPad looks pretty gorgeous.
Now, Apple, give me a native experience with a trackpad and keyboard and I'm buying this iPad PRO.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chloros Avatar
32 months ago
When i'm out of toilet paper....i use $100 fresh cut bills.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
elfxmilhouse Avatar
32 months ago
My theory as to what Luna Display is doing is emulating a display in order to get GPU acceleration working.
I've been doing this on my Mac mini server for several years now and you can really tell the difference in performance when using VNC or other screen sharing apps.

https://www.amazon.com/CompuLab-fit-Headless-Display-Emulator/dp/B00FLZXGJ6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1542752841&sr=8-4&keywords=hdmi+display+emulator

I'm guessing the luna dongle is just a display emulator and their software specifically pipes that display output to their viewing server and to the client on the ipad. The fact that both the iPad and the Mac need to be on the same network is evidence that they are using some sort of remote display over IP. They say so much on their website that their protocol offers lower latency and that its less than half of what others are capable of. If so, kudos to them. It would be nice if you can just buy the software and use any display emulator or even a real display to get the same results. However they are probably making a good margin on the dongle and it is acting as a sort of a hardware license key. It probably has a specific EDID that the luna software looks for in order to function.

How is this different than the Duet iOS app?
I'm wondering the exact same thing.
[doublepost=1542752089][/doublepost]

This is from Luna's website. Points out some differences. Keeping in mind this is Luna's info not a independent party

https://lunadisplay.com/pages/luna-display-vs-duet-display
Looks the answer is here https://lunadisplay.com/pages/luna-display-vs-duet-display
Duet is meh... It's slow, not a hardware solution and has a fixed resolution meaning black bars on most iPads whereas Luna supports the full native resolution as the Mac thinks its a real display.
This is the same thing as vnc! Don't be tricked into paying for it.
Or how is this different to Splashtop or any VNC app?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
parallels windows 10 arm mac

Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:00 am PDT by
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared ...
iphone 13 pro render rear

iPhone 13 Pro Rumored to Be Thicker and Feature Larger Rear Camera System

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Tech blog 91Mobiles has obtained 3D renders of what it claims will be the iPhone 13 Pro, revealing a largely familiar design with a few notable changes, including a smaller notch and a significantly larger rear camera system. Following renders of the standard iPhone 13 model from MySmartPrice yesterday, which showed a new diagonal rear camera layout, these renders of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...