Wouldn't it be cool, if you could somehow use the desktop software running on your Mac on your iPad !!!

Is this possible ?

  • @Downvoter Any particular reason for the downvote ?
    – Simon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:00
  • Same question. It's a reasonable inquiry, given how often people are using iPads now in lieu of laptops and desktops.
    – Dave
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:04
  • @Dave If it is viable, I think its a perfectly reasonable question like you say in your comments above, iPad usage must be sky high, and if there are solutions to use Desktop Software on them... Whoopee!
    – Simon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:06
  • If you're only looking for screen sharing, we have several leads already on the site: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/50081/… and searching the screen-sharing should help.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:14
  • @bmike Appreciate the additional info.
    – Simon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:18

4 Answers 4


Using remote desktop tools, yes.

For example, Remoter VNC, LogMeIn, and Teamviewer come to mind immediately.

  • I have decided to accept your answer as the correct answer, as Parallels Access is only in its infancy at present.
    – Simon
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 16:06

Parallels Access, a new iPad App from Parallels makes it easier to use desktop software on your Apple iPad tablet. With one part remote access and one part native iPad app, you get a desktop experience on a tablet that almost feels like you are using the software just like it was on your Mac.

For more info see the link above and also read this review published in The Mac Observer yesterday.

Additionally see this introductory video.

It is a premium product $80 per year, however a 14 day free trial is available (Windows/OS X/iPad Compatible).

  • 1
    I just got an email about that product this morning. They lost me on the $79/year subscription fee, especially when there are cheaper (as in, no annual fee) alternatives. (I'm glad you pointed it out here though as an option for the OP.)
    – Dave
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 12:52
  • @Dave This is it, for some people the price will be a concern. For avid Parallel fans though, Christmas has come early (I suspect).
    – Simon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 12:55
  • I also recommend the Parallels Remote Desktop app, which allows you to connect to your Parallels VMs. I do grant that they produce very robust, functional apps.
    – Dave
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 12:56
  • @Dave I'm sure their brand name will carry them a long way.
    – Simon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 12:57
  • I just test drove Parallels Access. It definitely adds a bit of "appification" to the desktop experience. I can see this being a boon for sales and marketing types. I'm not sure it adds much to the support and IT side of things, as RDP/VNC tools accomplish much of that. But to take a Windows machine and make it instantly into a draggable desktop UI is a great win for Parallels. Now, if they had 1) multiple users per agent, and 2) a corporate bulk rate, that would make it sellable in my company.
    – Dave
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 17:40

As other users suggested, this may be possible using other "middleman" software.

However, all (relatively new) Macs have Intel CPUs and all iOS iPhone/Pod/Pads have ARM processors. The compiled binary files are simply not compatible.

Remember that, although they share components, these are fundamentally different OSs. OS X (mostly) uses the AppKit Framework for UI, and iOS uses the UIKit Framework. Although these APIs are very similar, they are not interchangeable.

So, even if there was a way to trick your iOS device into accepting a *.app file, it would never launch (or crash immediately upon launching) without fundamental changes to the hardware and software architecture of iOS and its devices.


There are several dozen VNC and RDP apps in the iOS App Store (and yes, there seem to be at least 2 vendors of RDP servers for the Mac), as well as another few that use custom remote display viewing protocols, that allow one to use software running on your Mac on your desk from an iPad while sitting on your couch (etc.).

Many of these apps have been available since before the first iPad was announced, and run on the iPhone as well.

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