Duet Display is a slick app developed by ex-Apple employees designed to allow your iPad to function as a second monitor on your laptop or iMac using a lightning or iPad 30 pin cable ( for older iPads ). The application works extremely well with none of the lag or latency in display refresh experienced by some of the alternative apps that use the iPads WiFi connection to transfer screen updates.

As the Duet name suggests the intended use for the app is to create an easy to use portable secondary display for MacBook users ( or in fact Windows laptop users as there is a Windows version of the server application as well as one for OS X ) but it isn’t limited to this use case. My main use of Duet is as a primary monitor on my Mac Mini media server.

I have used my Mac Mini in a headless ( no monitor ) setup for a long time and use Screen Sharing from my MacBook to login and manage it, however it recently struck me that the Duet Display app that I had purchased some time ago would be perfect for creating a tiny compact keyboard/monitor setup. Combined with a small bluetooth keyboard from Anker and bluetooth mouse I now have full access to my Mini in a compact little setup that looks pretty slick on the shelf in my study.

Duet Display is £7.99 in the UK iOS App store which I admit is probably at the high side of many peoples acceptable budget for an app of this type, however this app is extremely good and provides amazing functionally and performance. For people who travel with a MacBook and iPad the benefit of being able to setup a usable dual monitor setup whilst on the move can be liberating, and for home media servers like mine it can create a slick, compact and usable alternative to a bulky VGA/HDMI monitor.

Duet Display
Duet Display on iPad and Mac Mini
Using Duet Display As A Primary Monitor

8 thoughts on “Using Duet Display As A Primary Monitor

  • April 28, 2016 at 9:43 pm
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    Great article thanks. Will Duet work the same way for a pc as it does with your Mac? In other words, as the only display?

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    • April 28, 2016 at 9:45 pm
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      …and can I control my pc via the touch screen of the iPad?

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      • April 30, 2016 at 9:15 am
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        To be honest I haven’t tried with a PC as a primary monitor so can’t say for certain but I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t. I have used Duet on my Windows laptop as a secondary display and that works well.

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  • October 28, 2016 at 3:41 am
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    Great article, I been trying to work out if this would work. I’ve been wanting to buy a Mac Mini and use Duet display with my laptop as the primary monitor. So your 100% sure it will work for me 🙂

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  • December 14, 2016 at 9:21 pm
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    Hi Scott – this is exactly the solution I’ve been looking for. One question, though: If you reboot your Mini, does OSX properly remember your uber-slick configuration?

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  • March 3, 2017 at 6:47 am
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    Glad I stumbled across your post as I’m looking into running a similar setup but with a compute stick instead of the Mac mini. I was curious to hear about lag – you mention lag free but is it completely free in that it could be used for gaming? I’ve seen mixed reports on this

    Reply
  • July 27, 2017 at 4:10 am
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    I am trying to do the same thing, what settings do you use to let you use this feature.

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  • September 11, 2017 at 8:24 am
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    I want to do this but wondering how I can back up my ipad to the mini if its automatically used as monitor

    Reply

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