This Unique Setup Might Be as Close as You Can Get to a Touchscreen Mac

Ipad Display Mac Mini Credit: YouTube / Jonathan Morrison
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Apple, unfortunately, won’t be merging macOS and iOS anytime soon, but one intrepid YouTuber has figured out how to run macOS on his iPad Pro in the meantime.

In a video posted earlier this month, technology YouTuber Jonathan Morrison showed off the setup. It essentially turns the iPad Pro into a display for the Mac mini. Technically, macOS isn’t running directly on the iPad Pro — but this method gets pretty close.

The result is pretty awesome to watch. Because macOS is running on the Mac mini, it’s a full version of the desktop software. But all of the features of the iPad work, too.

That means you can use the iPad’s touchscreen to navigate macOS — and even use the Apple Pencil directly on the display. You can also have the usual set of peripherals, like a keyboard and trackpad or mouse. (Though there’s no way to get audio to come through the iPad’s speakers, so use an external one.)

While it seems like magic, the method is actually made possible by a small accessory made for MacBook or iMac devices.

The device is called the Luna Display and it basically is meant to allow users to use an iPad as a secondary display for Macs. But, as it turns out, the Luna Display adapter works just as well on the Mac mini — and a connected iPad can be used as the computer’s primary display.

If you want to try this out for yourself, you should note a couple of things.

  • Firstly, Luna Display comes in two versions: one for DisplayPort and one for USB-C. It’s absolutely imperative that you buy the proper version for your own Mac, since it won’t work with an adapter or dongle.
  • You’ll also need to have an actual computer monitor lying around because the method for setting up an iPad as a display via Luna Display requires that you navigate macOS (which is pretty hard without a display).
  • Also, Luna Display uses a Wi-Fi connection to tether an iPad and a Mac. You’re going to need a quick Wi-Fi connection, otherwise, you’ll be hit with shoddy performance. Both devices need to be connected to the same Wi-FI network.

Once it is set up, the bootlegged touchscreen Mac works “surprising well” for a workaround that isn’t Apple-approved. With a decent Wi-Fi connection, Morrison said there is little to no noticeable lag.

The 2018 iPad Pro itself is a stunning device that’s inching ever closer to becoming a full-fledged computer replacement. But it does have its limitations, most of which are due to the fact that it runs iOS instead of macOS.

Of course, while Luna Display is relatively inexpensive at $80, we don’t recommend that you run out and buy an iPad Pro to use purely as a monitor. It’s expensive — so this unique setup makes the most sense if you already have both devices.

Still, while a touchscreen Mac probably isn’t coming soon, using your iPad Pro as a Mac mini display comes pretty close.

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