My grandfather, never one to engage in modern technology behind a land line telephone, was fond of saying “The road less traveled is often less traveled for a good reason.” Here is a road less traveled, but worth it.
Many Mac notebook users have dual displays; often using a MacBook display connected to an external display. Why? Another old saying, but not one from my grandfather. “You can never have too much screen real estate.” We can argue the point but pixels matter. Here’s a new way to add an iPad’s screen to your Mac’s screen.
Look At All Those Pixels!
This article is really a quick look at a couple of apps; one for the Mac, one for iPhone and iPad. Combined, they do something magical to your Mac’s screen pixel count. The Mac app is called Duet and it’s free. Why free? Because to use the free Duet app for the Mac to attach an iPad or iPhone screen to your Mac. It’s the iOS version of Duet that has the price tag.
Duet Display for iOS and Duet for macOS combine to let you use your iPhone or iPad (particularly the iPad because that’s where the real screen real estate lives) as an extra screen attached to your Mac.
Whoa! Wait! What?
Yep. An iPad becomes a second screen when attached to a Mac. Wait. Who wants to put a little iPad screen next to a MacBook Pro (as an example)? Well, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has native screen resolution of 2560×1600 pixels (though you’re not likely to use it with all those pixels).
An iPad with Retina display has 2048×1536 screen resolution, so using Duet is akin to doubling the MBP’s screen size. For MacBook Air users, an iPad Air 2 more than doubles the Mac total screen resolution.
Take a look.
All you need is a Mac, and iPad or iPhone, both Duet for Mac and Duet Display for iOS, and a cable to connect the iPad or iPhone to the Mac. The iPad’s Retina display runs at 60fps, so there’s no lag (thanks to the cable connection).
The example I prefer to use is what I use myself. A MacBook Pro and an iPad. One lightning cable with the Duet apps and my total screen real estate has more than doubled. Now, get this. You can touch the iPad’s screen and interact as if your finger was a mouse. Yet, the Mac’s trackpad or mouse also interacts with the iPad’s screen.
There’s even duet for Windows notebooks and it works the exact same way.
Although you can use Duet with a much larger iMac and a much smaller iPhone, the magic really happens between MacBook and iPad, both logistically and emotionally. It just works. It’s like having a larger external display attached to your Mac, but it’s your iPad. All those Retina display pixels add up to a great package.
In the case of Duet for Mac and Duet Display for an iPad, “The road less traveled…” happens to be the right road to get more screen, more flexibility, more mobility, but all for less money. Why would you do this to an iPad? It’s really more of a Mac issue instead. You get more screen real estate when you’re traveling.
Even the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar works with Duet. Yes, the Touch Bar shows up on the iPad’s screen. How cool is that?