Using iPad Pro as the main display for Mac mini with Astropad’s Luna Display

Mac mini is a BYOKDM purchase, meaning the miniature computer requires that you Bring Your Own Keyboard, Display and Mouse. Thank to Astropad’s awesome Luna Display dongle for the Mac, your iPad Pro can actually become the primary display for your Mac mini.

The dongle turns an iPad into a second display and a graphics tablet for your Mac.

In a blog post, they explain how Apple could have combined its latest Mac mini computer and the iPad Pro tablet. With a little help from Luna Display, Astropad was able to create a pretty slick setup where a 12.9-inch iPad Pro acts as a wireless main display for a Mac mini.

Check it out in action.

All you need to do is plug the adapter into a USB-C port on your Mac, download the Astropad apps for iOS and macOS and connect both devices to a fast, reliable Wi-Fi network.

Astropad’s setup also includes Apple’s Magic accessories like the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. Because Luna Display lets you draw with your finger or stylus in Mac apps using your tablet, their setup includes a second-generation Apple Pencil, too.

From their blog post:

To bring our idea to life, we used Luna Display—hardware that turns the iPad into a second display for your Mac. Luna works over Wi-Fi, so you can wirelessly connect your Mac and iPad into one workspace. We were curious to see if Luna could also turn the iPad into the primary display for Mac mini.

Our initial thought when we got Luna up and running with the Mac mini was ‘this is like a whole new Apple product!’ It really felt like that. In many ways, it was so obvious and second-nature to use the iPad as your main display. The iPad Pro has such a large and beautiful screen, that of course you’d want to find a way to use it in your workflow.

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 Wi-Fi, you have the flexibility of a completely wireless workspace. It all just works.

This is just one of the many use cases for this handy adapter.

If you use your Mac mini as a media hub, a server or just a machine that doesn’t require constant attention, you can just plug the adapter into the computer and bring your iPad whenever you need to adjust some settings in the macOS user interface.

Astropad has provided a complete set of instructions for using Luna with Mac mini.

We’re currently evaluating the Luna Display adapter and will post our review shortly. In the meantime, be sure to check out everything that the adapter offers or purchase your own Luna Display from the official website for $80.