Duet Display: Transform Your iOS Device into a Second Screen

Duet Display: Transform Your iOS Device into a Second Screen

Utilizing a secondary display offers numerous advantages, from expanded visual workspace to distinct areas for active work and reference materials. This setup is particularly beneficial for those using smaller laptops, as it can significantly enhance productivity. For individuals with an iPad, Duet Display presents a straightforward and cost-effective method to implement an additional monitor, priced at US$14.99.

Since the release of the iPad, various applications have attempted to transform the device into a secondary screen. However, these applications often suffered from latency and connectivity issues, primarily due to reliance on Wi-Fi connections. Duet Display circumvents these issues by linking the computer to the iPad—or iPhone—via the charging cable, thus establishing a direct and reliable connection.

Duet Display: Transform Your iOS Device into a Second Screen

Our evaluation of Duet Display involved a late 2013 model iPad Air and an early 2011 13″ MacBook Pro equipped with 8GB of RAM.

The setup process is swift and straightforward. After downloading the necessary iOS and Mac applications, simply connect your iPad to your computer. Initiate Duet by launching the application on your computer and performing a restart. Once restarted, activate the application on your Mac first, followed by your iPad. Within moments, your iPad or iPhone will serve as a secondary display.

While using the app with an iPhone generally feels more like a novelty, the experience may vary with larger models like the iPhone 6 Plus.

The experience of using Duet Display with an iPad is exceptionally smooth. The app maintains touchscreen functionality, and your Mac’s mouse or trackpad behaves as it would with a standard secondary display. The only minor drawback noted was the inability to scroll using finger gestures on the iPad, though this was largely mitigated by mouse functionality.

We successfully ran the game Limbo in one window while managing chat and internet logs on the iPad, all without any noticeable degradation in speed or performance. While not the most productive use of the app, it demonstrates its capability to handle multiple active programs smoothly.

Duet offers various settings for refresh rates and resolutions, enabling users to optimize for Retina displays or select “Energy Efficient” modes to save power. This flexibility is a significant plus for an already highly useful application.

Whether you are a frequent traveler accustomed to a dual-screen setup at home, or an iPad owner looking to extend your Mac’s desktop without purchasing an additional monitor, Duet Display offers an easy and affordable solution.


Brian is a dedicated writer for TUAW, where he shares his insights and expertise on all things Apple. With a deep love for technology, Brian covers a wide range of topics, from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to the intricacies of macOS and Apple Watch features. His clear and engaging writing style makes complex tech topics accessible to all readers. Brian’s enthusiasm for Apple products shines through in every article he writes.