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: Mac mini, iPad Pro
Related Forums: Mac mini, iPad

Top Rated Comments

mcfrazieriv Avatar
71 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
71 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
71 months ago
How is this different than the Duet iOS app?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
71 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)
elfxmilhouse Avatar
71 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: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chloros Avatar
71 months ago
When i'm out of toilet paper....i use $100 fresh cut bills.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Apple Announces 'Let Loose' Event on May 7 Amid Rumors of New iPads

Tuesday April 23, 2024 7:11 am PDT by
Apple has announced it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, May 7 at 7 a.m. Pacific Time (10 a.m. Eastern Time), with a live stream to be available on Apple.com and on YouTube as usual. The event invitation has a tagline of "Let Loose" and shows an artistic render of an Apple Pencil, suggesting that iPads will be a focus of the event. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
iPhone 15 Pro FineWoven

Apple Reportedly Stops Production of FineWoven Accessories

Sunday April 21, 2024 6:03 am PDT by
Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories, according to the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami." In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kosutami explained that Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories due to its poor durability. The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future. Kosutami has revealed...
Apple Vision Pro Dual Loop Band Orange Feature 2

Apple Cuts Vision Pro Shipments as Demand Falls 'Sharply Beyond Expectations'

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple has dropped the number of Vision Pro units that it plans to ship in 2024, going from an expected 700 to 800k units to just 400k to 450k units, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Orders have been scaled back before the Vision Pro has launched in markets outside of the United States, which Kuo says is a sign that demand in the U.S. has "fallen sharply beyond expectations." As a...
iOS 17 All New Features Thumb

iOS 17.5 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Sunday April 21, 2024 3:00 am PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17.5 update for the iPhone includes only a few new user-facing features, but hidden code changes reveal some additional possibilities. Below, we have recapped everything new in the iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 beta so far. Web Distribution Starting with the second beta of iOS 17.5, eligible developers are able to distribute their iOS apps to iPhone users located in the EU...
iPad And Calculator App Feature

Apple Finally Plans to Release a Calculator App for iPad Later This Year

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:08 am PDT by
Apple is finally planning a Calculator app for the iPad, over 14 years after launching the device, according to a source familiar with the matter. iPadOS 18 will include a built-in Calculator app for all iPad models that are compatible with the software update, which is expected to be unveiled during the opening keynote of Apple's annual developers conference WWDC on June 10. AppleInsider...
Provenance Emulator

PlayStation and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store [Updated]

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, SEGA Genesis,...