I don't know why i can't seem to find any info about this or even anyone asking the same question. I have an iMac and a new iPad. I want to mirror my Mac display on the iPad, so I can sit in another room with the iPad, the wireless keyboard and mouse. Since I'm using the keyboard and mouse, I don't need touch events to be translated. Also, since the iPad's resolution in landscape mode is 2048x1536, the Mac's resolution of 1920x1080 should fit in it without scaling. Letterboxing is okay.

  • I'd prefer to do this via AirPlay Mirroring, if possible. I have AirServer installed, but it doesn't show up on my Mac (10.8.2) display settings page ("No devices detected"). Also, AirServer used to be what i needed (if you check the description on Cydia), but for some reason, the website is now only advocating the exact opposite of this.
  • I checked out Reflector, but it only does the opposite, and that's what everyone else in the world seems to be asking.
  • There's also an app called Air Display which does do Mac -> iOS, but it requires a server-client installation. I don't want that. The maximum I'm willing to install is an receiver client on the iPad.
  • I don't want to use a VNC server and client.
  • I'm okay with an AirPlay receiver app for the iPad, because the iPad doesn't natively receive AirPlay, it only broadcasts it.
  • AirView would have been it, but it's been taken off the store by Apple.

How can I do this?

  • 7
    By negating the use of a third-party server app, and negating VNC as well, I do believe you've pretty much brought your possible solutions down to zero. Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 9:07
  • I'm fine with a receiver app on the iPad. Updating the question! :-)
    – aalaap
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 11:26
  • There is no way whatsoever to use your iPad as a AirPlay mirroring server as all data sent via Airplay Mirroring is encrypted and can only be decrypted by an Apple TV or if a particularly enthusiastic jailbreak developer cracks the encryption.
    – duci9y
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 16:03
  • @aalaap Using a receiver app on the iPad is fine, but doesn't change my answer. Note that I said a third-party server app, which means something that runs on your computer. Again, if you don't want to use that, nor the other established remote desktop protocol (VNC), then you have zero options left. Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 17:04
  • Bro. You gotta give in.
    – Jash Jacob
    Commented Jun 12, 2013 at 0:29

5 Answers 5


The Xscope mirror, a free tool works without needing VNC but you need a paid companion app on the Mac to send the data.

I prefer to use screens on the iPad. VNC is the way that OS X sends it's video remotely to another display. If you don't use it, someone else needs to re-write that entire stack and it works very well for local networks.

As for why the app I recommend, it has an observe mode and seems to scale the screen much better than the Xscope app since it is designed primarily for designing, not mirroring. The same program works on iPad, iPod, iPhone of all sizes and retina or not displays. It is very fast and has an observe only mode so that you don't accidentally send touch events.

If you do decide to use it on the go for remote access, there is a free location app (similar to how Back to My Mac works) and works over ssh tunnels if you prefer more security than speed. It has great soft keyboard support and of course works with Linux and Windows as well. There is nothing I can say bad about it in terms of missing features os bugs or design.

It's a quality piece of software all around.

If you really must avoid VNC, there is another option. The Xscope app for software designers has a free companion app that runs on the iPad and will mirror your screen. It's more designed for counting pixels and looking at mockups you design on the Mac for eventual use on the iPad, but you can use it as a mirroring solution. It lacks any input from the iPad and simply sends the screen from the Mac to iOS.

It also is very high quality software - and is well designed, all around and fast.


What's wrong with VNC? It's secure, can use compression (which I've found is the only way to make it responsive over a home broadband connection), and is supported natively in OSX. You'll just need to install a VNC client on the iPad, and activate it in the iMac's System Preferences.

I don't have an iPad, but I'd be surprised if there wasn't a decent VNC client app for it. I use ssvnc to connect to my Mac, which is a free Java client and I use it from KDE on my laptop and desktop at least; I'd be surprised if it was in the App store, but there should be alternatives.

Air Server looks good though, and is the only option you didn't rule out. It's designed for the task of 'mirroring', so file a bug report or something. If you paid for it, it should work.

  • The Apple version of Remote Desktop uses VNC. Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 12:43
  • I've used VNC before and it works, but I'm expecting things to be a little more 'zero-config' with AirPlay.
    – aalaap
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 13:26

Use iDisplay app, that does just what you need, supports mirroring for up to 36 iOs devices.


Old topic but I stumbled upon it today. If you only want to get images over, there is Skala Preview, it's free and it's good! I use it to look at mock ups.

If you have photoshop it can also do live mirroring!


You can remotely use your Mac through Chrome on your iPad, free and clean.

  • 1
    How do you do this?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 17:17
  • Mark, To install chrome remote desktop you need to go to chrome.com and install it on both your macbook and your ios device then open both and follow the instructions from there Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 1:47

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