How to use your iPad Pro as a display for your Mac mini

Well, that's one way to add a monitor to your Mac mini setup.

The folks over at Astro HQ, the developers behind Astropad, have come up with a novel use for Luna Display, the company's hardware module that turns your iPad into a full wireless touchscreen display for your Mac. By plugging Luna Display into a Mac mini and opening the Luna Display app on the new iPad Pro, Astro HQ was able to get the iPad to serve not as a secondary display for its Mac, but a primary one.

With this setup, you can control macOS using touch and Apple Pencil, just as you would anything else on your iPad. You can also use a keyboard and mouse, as you would with any Mac. From Astro HQ:

But still, this setup was mind-blowing in other ways. There's definitely an element of inception to using your iPad as a display for your Mac. When you launch Luna, you're running your macOS on your iPad; and when you close out of the Luna app, you have a regular iPad Pro again. It's strange and exciting all at the same time, but once you settle into your workflow, it makes you wonder why this hasn't been an obvious product pairing for Apple all along.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.

Of course, you don't need Apple's latest iPad Pro to do this with your own Mac mini, but with its symmetrical bezels on all four sides, it certainly makes a handsome small display for your Mac. But if you have an older iPad or iPad Pro, that should work fine, too. But no matter which iPad you use, you'll now have a touchscreen serving as your Mac's primary display, one that you can take with you all around your workspace. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to have a macOS tablet, this is the closest you'll probably get to that exact experience.

If you have Apple's new Mac mini and an iPad, you can try this out yourself. All you need is Astro's Luna Display hardware, as well as the companion app. You can find the Luna Display on the App Store for free:

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As for the Luna Display hardware, it comes in two versions: USB-C and Mini DisplayPort. For the new Mac mini (and Macs released since 2016), you'll want the USB-C version. You can pick it up for $79.99 directly from Astro HQ.

See at Astro HQ

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.