Luna Display Review

I posted by Review of the Luna Display at in case anyone would like some more information and another perspective on using it.

I haven’t seen much written about it elsewhere (I did hear Federico Viticci saying he was planning on writing something up about his experience with it, but I haven’t seen anything yet) so everything I’ve heard has pretty much been limited to short and fairly-similar ad-spots.

That’s fine for an introduction, but an actual review by someone who has used it is hopefully more helpful in letting people know what it’s like to use, what some of the shortcomings are, and what works just as well as the commercial says.

I hope it’s helpful. Feel free to post questions here or hit me on on Twitter (@tjluoma).


Very nice review TJ! I’ve got a Luna on order to go with my new Mac mini for pretty much the exact same use case as you’re using it (connecting to a headless server) so lots of the stuff you’re discussing is really spot-on for me. In particular, I’m glad to hear that it’s faster and more responsive than a VNC app, since that helps justify the $80 I spent.

Nice review.

You will need another way (such as VNC) to log in to your Mac and launch the Luna Display app

Can you not add the Luna app to the “Launch on Startup” feature of the Mac?

Thanks for posting your review. My Luna display arrives later this week and am looking forward to giving it a go. I have a 10.5 iPad and suspect you are right that I will need the 12.9 if I really want to be able to use the Mac successfully.

Great review. Thank you very much for writing this up.

A small (HDMI) Display Emulatir (available on Amazon etc.) might also help solve the problem that you sometimes had with reconnecting to Luna Display.

Without necessarily endorsing this specific model but a quick search on Amazon brought this up (among others):

Maybe this helps some of you.

You can, but those only happen after you log in, so you either have to use auto-login or use VNC to log in.

Hrm… I have one, but I disconnected it when I hooked up the Luna Display because I was afraid it would confuse the Mac to have two display adapters hooked up to it.

Will try when I get home tomorrow night and report back.

EDITED TO ADD: Yup, that’s a no-go. I plugged the HDMI in to the Mac mini while the Luna Display “dongle” was still connected, and I couldn’t connect at all to the Luna Display, even if I set the Luna Display as the “primary” in System Preferences. In fact, even after I disconnected the HDMI adapter, the Luna Display software was still so confused that I had to force quit it and restart it, at which point it re-ran its initial setup process (only a few seconds long, not a big deal).

So why not use auto login, since it is a headless Mac Mini? Problem solved.

I suggested that in the article, assuming that your Mac is in a secure location. But that still doesn’t solve the bigger problem of what to do when the Mac has been running for awhile and still won’t connect for some reason.

Right, well I’m sure they’ll fix that in a FW and/or SW update.

Nice write up. I’m thinking very seriously about getting Luna Display for when I travel, but that’ll have to wait until I have a MacBook with more than one USB-C port (I prefer to avoid trying to do such things over hotel WiFi, as it’s almost universally terrible).

I’ll mention one thing: I believe that Duet has gone back to not using AirPlay in the most recent versions, at least for Mojave based Macs. It’s back to being quite usable over USB again, though still not quite as nice as it was. That problem was indeed the “fault” of Apple and changes made in macOS in one of the High Sierra point releases.

I am aware that they said that something improved in Mojave, and I should probably check that out (I wish both Luna Display and Duet had better technical info on their websites).

I’m planning on sitting out Mojave (like I did for Sierra, and for many of the same reasons, including “There’s nothing I really need in there.”), so I can’t say for sure myself.

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FYI - I’ve posted a few updates since it was originally posted, including a new update where I think I have solved the ‘unable to reconnect’ problem:


Just got my Luna Display adapter today. I definitely agree with @tjluoma that this needs to be a menu bar app rather than something that hangs out in the dock.

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Great news!

This week’s 3.0 update to the Mac app solved the problem that I described previously about getting unreliable reconnections after long intervals not using the Luna Display.

I have updated my review accordingly:

(Unfortunately they haven’t made the app a menu-bar only app…yet? Maybe 4.0, I hope!)

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