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How to use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac



Duet Display is an app created by former Apple engineers that lets you use your iPad as the second screen for your Mac. In this article, we'll explain how it works and what steps you need to take to get things running.


The Duet display is a great way to extend your Mac's desktop. This is especially useful if you want to work outside your home and increase your productivity without the luxury of having a dedicated external monitor.

In earlier versions of macOS, the app was hampered by changes to Apple's operating system that did not cause developers any problems. The latest Duet update (v2.0.3.8 +), released on December 5, seems to have solved these issues by introducing full hardware acceleration support.



Duet Display is actually one of Two apps that are known to allow users to use their iPad as a second screen for their Mac. The other is Luna Display ($ 79.99), but this app uses a different implementation that requires two small dongles to ensure a consistent low-latency connection.

Duet Display, on the other hand, is a pure software solution and much cheaper at $ 9.99. That's why we decided to treat them here.

How to Use Your iPad as a Second Screen for Your Mac

  1. Launch the App Store on your iPhone or iPad and download Duet Display ($ 9.99).

  2. Open a browser on your Mac, navigate to www.duetdisplay.com, and click the Download Mac button at the top of the page to download the free Mac client.
  3. Once the Duet client app has been installed on your Mac, drag it from the Download folder to the Applications folder.

  4. Double-click the Duet Mac client to start it.
  5. Connect your iPhone or iPad to a free USB-A port on your Mac using a Lightning cable. (If you're using a Mac with the newer USB-C connectors, you'll need to use a Lightning-to-USB-C cable that sells Apple in lengths of 1 and 2 meters.)

  6. Launch the Duet app on your iPhone or iPad and wait a moment while communicating with the Duet Mac client. You should see the desktop of your Mac mirrored or expanded on your iPad screen once a successful connection has been made.

If everything works, it's worth checking out Duet's display options: Click the Duet applet on your Mac's menu bar. If you have an iPad connected, a button will appear that allows you to activate a touch-sensitive MacBook Pro. Style bar at the bottom of the iPad screen.


If you click Advanced Settings you can choose from a number of display options to scale the output to your iOS device. With the predefined resolutions, you can either display larger text or more space on the desktop. Duet recommends choosing the scale to use based on the device model.


Select the check box next to Mirror Display if you want to duplicate your Mac's desktop on your iPad and not expand it. There are also options to enable the Retina display mode, increase the refresh rate from 30 to 60 fps, and change the image quality from normal to high, which requires more power from all devices.

If you click on the cogwheel in the Duet menu bar applet, you will also find some additional settings to keep in mind. If your Mac has a dedicated video card, you can choose to use Duet for faster performance only. Alternatively, you can limit the integrated graphics to energy efficiency.

There are also menus to enable or disable the transparency of your iOS device's display, an option to launch Duet at login, and a link to change the display layout of your screens in System Preferences.

iPad as External Display in System Preferences


If you can handle Duet Display, there are Air (19.99 $) and Pro (24.99 $ ), the additional options provide features such as wireless connectivity and Apple Pencil support. For more information and support, visit the Duet Display website.


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