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Gear & Apps

Duet Display | Dual Monitor App That Breathes Productivity & New Life Into Your Device

By Kishore Sawh on December 19th 2014


Have you ever used a dual monitor set-up to work on post processing? Or anything, for that matter? If you have, I feel confident going out on a limb here and saying that if you have ever done it, you likely still do. It’s just one of those addictive things that is hard to do without – especially if you are using a small screen, like a laptop.

As the nature of my life tends to have me traveling quite a bit, I’ve been using my iPad as a second monitor for some time, primarily using an app called Air Display. It was quite a breakthrough for me when it came out a few years ago, but as it uses WiFi to connect, it can be a bit jittery at times, and playback of certain types of media was just too stuttered to be useful.


I tended to use it most while in Photoshop, putting the menu and tool bars and my music player open on the iPad screen while the actual photo was open on the MacBook. But you needn’t suffer with a lagging connection now if you want to give it a try, I’d like to suggest an App called Duet Display, which uses a wired connection using your standard iDevice connection cables. Since it’s wired there really is no lag, not even for video at decent frame rates. It’s actually so smooth it’ll breath new life into your new and old devices alike.

Apparently, it was developed by a team of former Apple engineers, and it shows. You do, however, pay for it. It’s $9.99, which is about 5 times more than many associate apps to be worth, but this is not a standard app, and a small price to pay for the functionality. Get it here.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. David Toldo

    looks great

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  2. Rafael Steffen

    I think it only works well when you are not using retina displays, so you are better of just buying a big 27 inch monitor to work with.

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    • duet app

      Hey Rafael,

      Duet is designed with retina displays in mind and offers retina resolution as well as native iPad resolution.
      Duet wasn’t really made to replace 27″ monitors. In fact we’d expect photographers to really get the most out of Duet when in the field where a large monitor (and power source) is not practical.

      However, here is a demo video a customer shared with us using Lightroom.

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  3. Travis Volkman

    *I should state….a terrible app for photographers.

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  4. Travis Volkman

    If you have a retina display Macbook Pro and a retina display iPad…will you still have the issue of having to scale away from retina? If that is the case, this is a terrible app until they fix that. There is a reason we purchased retina displays.

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    • duet app

      Hey Travis,

      I’m not sure I am answering your exact question, but Duet offers retina resolution on your iPad. If you are replying to John’s comment then please see my reply of both a fix on our side and a workaround for any installs that still experience this issue.

      If you have any more questions please reach out to us through the website’s contact and we will answer them as soon as we can.

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  5. Mike Kropf

    I could totally see using this for photo booths.

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  6. John Cavan

    It works generally fine, but if you try to scale a retina MacBook Pro to full resolution (13 or 15 inch variants), the retina display turns black and can’t be used. That’s basically rendered it useless in my view until it gets fixed, I’m not about to give up the real estate on my main display to get some on an iPad, so I’m feeling I threw away the $10 for the app as a result.

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    • Andre Queree

      That’s a pretty big drawback. :( Sounds like an app to keep an eye on rather than rush off and buy it now.

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    • duet app

      Hey John,

      This should have been resolved, but if not you can fix it easily by:
      ​Have Duet displaying on your iPad
      ​Open System Preferences > Displays > and set Resolution to “More Space” on your Mac
      (​Your Mac’s screen will now be black)
      ​Unplug the iPad’s USB cord from the Mac
      ​Replug in the iPad USB back into the Mac

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    • John Cavan

      @Duet – Saw the update in the app store and online. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but if you have it fixed, that’s great news!

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  7. Greg Silver

    Cool idea to use your tablet as a second monitor. Anyone have any experience with any apps on an Android tablet?

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