Can I use a MacBook Pro as a Mac mini monitor?

Is it possible? Haven’t found any relevant information if this is possible: Run a Mac mini but connect it to a MacBook Pro, which only function would be as the monitor for a Mac mini.

This is coming in Monterey (MacOS 12).


You can’t use the MacBook’s display as a monitor in the usual way, but you can use a remote desktop app (basically VNC), or (soon) AirPlay. Depending on your expectations those might be viable options or you may find the slight lag doesn’t work for you.

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found a large thread on 9to5 with many people asking similar questions, and arrived at the same conclusion, there’s no way without Target Display Mode. thanks for the reply.
I would prefer no lag, and there’s a promisingadget, Luna Display, but unsure how it works.

Luna Display is similar to Apple’s SideCar in terms of performance. It works by providing a dongle that looks to macOS like a USB display device and then uses either WiFi or USB to produce a display on another device (like your MacBook). Like SideCar, it’s very useable, but like all of the other non-actual-graphics-interconnect technologies (things that aren’t HDMI, DisplayPort, etc.) the performant isn’t 100%

Interesting, so performance-wise then the best option is a monitor.

Out of curiosity, why are you interested in doing this? No judgement, just wondering. :slight_smile:

want to buy a Mac mini M1, and keep the MacBook as a “dumb” monitor.
Have an external monitor, but was looking it this was feasible.

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The performance of the solutions that have already been listed here can be very good, so they may work well for you, but they’re not good enough (in my opinion) for extended graphics or video work. I did a fair bit of software development on a remote desktop setup for years and it was pretty-to-very good and that was across an Internet connection, rather than across a LAN. If you’re going to buy the Mini anyway and are willing to use the monitor that you already have then there’s little harm in trying alternatives :slight_smile: (Though purchasing something like Luna does involve a bit of financial risk if it doesn’t meet your requirements)

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This is pretty much true. To my surprise, even vanilla Remote Desktop works quite well for remotely managing my 2012 Mac Mini from my 2018 MBP vía wifi. Granted, these are occasional sessions but I’d say that It’s almost there for regular usage. It’s basically free so why not giving it a spin?

I have a 2018 and 2012 Mini on the same desk, connected via Ethernet, and it’s more than fine for text-based workflows - but if there’s any graphical stuff going on I see fragments / artifacts occasionally. Not enough to be a problem, but if somebody is picky or doing graphical work it might be a dealbreaker.

Agree that it’s free to try though, so can’t really hurt. :slight_smile: