Extend your monitor workspace with this handy tool.
I think it was Walt Mossberg that said the greatest Windows machine on the market was a Mac. And he’s not that far off.
But since the move to the Apple Silicon Platform, Apple has retired BootCamp for running Windows on Mac hardware. This reopens the Mac/PC divide, seemingly permanently. And when you have to run Windows, there’s no real way to have multiple monitors unless you invest in more hardware.
Thankfully, Luna Display by Astropad continues to bridge the gap, with a new update that lets Mac users wireless repurpose an old iMac as a secondary monitor for a Windows machine. Or even an iPad. Let’s take a look.
The idea was rather ingenious. Take an older iMac that had become obsolete, but its high-resolution monitor still had plenty of useful life in it. If a user couldn’t continue to run macOS applications on it, why couldn’t it become a secondary monitor? Sadly, Apple doesn’t offer this capability. But Luna Display does.
Luna Display can link from Mac to Mac, Mac to iPad, PC to Mac, or PC to iPad. That’s a ton of functionality.
Originally released to run from an old Mac to a new Mac, Luna Display was designed as a wireless USB-C dongle you plug into your main display and then connect wirelessly to your iMac. It will then mirror or extend the real estate of one Mac onto a new one. Even more impressive is that this Luna Display promises to be really snappy, with latency reduced to 16 milliseconds. This could be a great opportunity for filmmakers working in post.
The next step was to link an iPad to your MacBook Pro, thereby extending your screen real estate with a simple drag and drop from macOS to iOS and back. That was extremely helpful for users who work out in the field but feel constrained by a single 13-16 inch laptop screen.
With its 5.1 update, the extended screen real estate works from Mac to Windows. Users can wirelessly connect their iMac, running the Luna Display software, to a Windows-based PC and not only extend the display environment to the iMac, but also connect to keyboard and mouse like it was a simple computer monitor interface.
And the former Apple engineers who rewrote the entire code from the ground up to provide this cross-platform support also added several other cool features, including high-resolution 4K/5K mode, a headless mode to turn your iPad into a display for your Mac Mini, and Teleprompter mode for Zoom meetings, online teaching, and interviews. This mode flips the video image, so that beam splitters can display the image in its proper orientation.
And don’t forget Magic Keyboard support, which will take advantage of the iPad’s ability to convert to a PC via the Magic Keyboard.
Here are the system requirements:
- Primary PC: Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, Build 1809 or later
- Primary Mac: macOS 10.11 El Capitan or later
- Secondary Mac: macOS 10.11 El Capitan or later
- 4K/5K display: macOS Big Sur or later; USB-C Luna
- iPad: iOS 12.1 or later
- Recommended WiFi/Network: 802.11n or wired ethernet
Lastly, there’s an Office mode, which keeps Luna Display from jumping from computer to computer on an office network. Once users manually connect to their secondary source, Luna will faithfully keep that connection and ignore any other wireless connection options.
New users can pick up Luna Display directly from Luna for $129.99. Existing users should receive notification of the update to download. Check the iOS AppStore for the latest version on your iPad.