iPad Pro Works as Mac Mini Display With Astropad's Luna Display

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Apple's Mac mini machines ship sans peripherals, which means there's no display, keyboard, or mouse included. It's a bring-your-own desktop.

As it turns out, if you have one of the new Mac minis, you can use an iPad Pro as a display with Astropad's Luna Display dongle, which is designed to turn an iPad into a second display for a Mac.


Luna Display hasn't previously been used as a primary display because it's been paired with Macs that come equipped with a display, but since the Mac mini has no display, it's the perfect machine for testing an iPad Pro as a primary display.

In a blog post, Astropad explains how the Luna Display dongle, the iPad app, and Mac app can be used together to turn the iPad Pro into a Mac mini display, with full instructions available.


According to the Astropad team, using the iPad Pro this way was like a "whole new product" because it's essentially macOS on the iPad with the Luna app, and a regular iPad Pro when not in the Luna app
This setup truly combines the best of both Mac and iPad, with the processing power of the Mac Mini and the edge-to-edge retina display of the iPad. Using Luna, we're able to take full advantage of every pixel on the iPad at full retina resolution. It offers more ways to interact with your macOS too, where you can seamlessly flow from mouse, to keyboard, to Apple Pencil, to touch interactions. And since Luna runs over WiFi, you have the flexibility of a completely wireless workspace. It all just works.
To get the same setup, you'll need a Luna Display dongle to plug into the Mac mini's USB-C port, the accompanying apps, an iPad Pro (any will work, but best results will be seen with Apple's newest model), a keyboard, a mouse, and a reliable WiFi network.


The Luna Display can be purchased from the Luna Display website for $80.

Article Link: iPad Pro Works as Mac Mini Display With Astropad's Luna Display
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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They've been dumping tons of money into advertising this thing across social media and elsewhere lately. Not at all surprised to see it pop up here.

I much rather prefer real screens for my Mac mini. Currently have 2x 24" and they work wonderfully.
 

greyshirtguy

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2016
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Hmmm... I love the idea of a touch display for MacOS...but you gotta admit....It's kinda "special"
to have a display that costs almost the same as the computer and has a processing built in that probably more powerful than the computer connected to it!
 
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Kinotto

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May 7, 2018
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Just got the Luna Display dongle yesterday and, after some testing with a MacBook Pro and iPad Pro 12.9, I’m pretty sure this setup won’t work well with a Mac mini without having always at hand a traditional display. The mirroring runs through an app, so every time the Mac goes in sleep mode or reboot or a bug occurs ( and I have experienced a few already ), there’s the need to type the Mac password again or restart the app.....
Not sure if I’m missing something as from the article the people at Astropad seems quite confident this will work just fine.
Other than that, the Luna Display paired with Astropad Studio is great to use the iPad as a Cintiq replacement or just as second display.
 
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jdmagoo1

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May 5, 2010
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They've been dumping tons of money into advertising this thing across social media and elsewhere lately. Not at all surprised to see it pop up here.

I much rather prefer real screens for my Mac mini. Currently have 2x 24" and they work wonderfully.
So would this work as a MacBook replacement? Obviously you couldn’t use on a bus etc, but I’m thinking in situations where you have access to a PowerPoint. It’s says reliable network, but can it be used if you don’t have a wifi network setup?
 
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Roscorito

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Nov 14, 2018
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Given that the iPad Pro is now usb-c, I wonder if someone will find a way to connect the two via thunderbolt 3 instead, albeit without the touchscreen functionality...
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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So would this work as a MacBook replacement? Obviously you couldn’t use on a bus etc, but I’m thinking in situations where you have access to a PowerPoint. It’s says reliable network, but can it be used if you don’t have a wifi network setup?
No. The keyboard and mouse connect to the Mac, so the Mac has to be nearby. You can't just leave it at home and carry an iPad, keyboard, and mouse with you.

And it requires wifi. That's how it sends the video from the Mac to the iPad. Without wifi, you have no video connection.
 

now i see it

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The promo ad looks jaw dropping- as in Mac OS on an iPad with touch functionality. But we know that Apple is dead set against that ever seeing the light of day (no matter how simple it may be to implement) - so this ain't gunna last long, and it's probably buggy as heck.
 
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coolguy4747

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Jun 26, 2010
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No. The keyboard and mouse connect to the Mac, so the Mac has to be nearby. You can't just leave it at home and carry an iPad, keyboard, and mouse with you.

And it requires wifi. That's how it sends the video from the Mac to the iPad. Without wifi, you have no video connection.
Pardon me if I'm wrong but I think they meant if you had all the components together, but no existing wifi network. Say you're on a desert island, with a power source for some reason but no internet connection/router, can you still connect the Mac to the iPad?
 

33man

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2011
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Stupid question but as the iPad is ONLY showing a remote desktop screen... Why taking last ipad for that??? The new iPad pro is so overkill for that single task...
 

Chung123

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Dec 5, 2013
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Pardon me if I'm wrong but I think they meant if you had all the components together, but no existing wifi network. Say you're on a desert island, with a power source for some reason but no internet connection/router, can you still connect the Mac to the iPad?
The Luna dongle works via WiFI or directly via a Lightning (USB) Cable from the Mac.
[doublepost=1542234624][/doublepost]
The promo ad looks jaw dropping- as in Mac OS on an iPad with touch functionality. But we know that Apple is dead set against that ever seeing the light of day (no matter how simple it may be to implement) - so this ain't gunna last long, and it's probably buggy as heck.
The Luna people are the same folks that do the Astropad app (turning an iPad into a Cintiq). The Luna hardware dongle makes it so the iPad appear as a second monitor on the Mac. (mirroring, extended desktop etc.) It is a much superior experience than just using the Astropad app itself. It really becomes a touchscreen Mac. (Works best with the Pencil in my opinion though.)
 

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JohnnyApple$eed

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Feb 19, 2015
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Juli Clover - please stop using the word “sans”. It’s as if you just learned this word and feel you need to use instead of “except, not included or without” in your articles. You even go so far as to explain what it means in the following sentence you wrote it in as if we don’t know what sans means.
 
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212rikanmofo

macrumors 68000
Jan 31, 2003
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That's really cool how the iPad Pro can be used as a display for a computer. This really is making me considering purchasing a mac mini, iPad Pro, keyboard, mouse for a truly portable setup.

However I do wish the iPad Pro can be used natively as a display without any 3rd party apps.
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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Pardon me if I'm wrong but I think they meant if you had all the components together, but no existing wifi network. Say you're on a desert island, with a power source for some reason but no internet connection/router, can you still connect the Mac to the iPad?
No. It clearly says that a wifi connection (and a good one at that) is REQUIRED. Now, you may be able to turn an ad-hoc network but wifi is a hard requirement.