Setting up Luna Display in Headless Mode

What is Headless Mode?

Using Luna Display in headless mode allows you to turn your iPad or secondary Mac into the primary display for a Mac mini or Mac Studio. It allows you to combine the processing power of your Mac mini or Mac Studio with the touch display of the iPad or the screen real estate of a secondary Mac computer.

An external monitor is required for the initial setup to connect the Mac mini or Mac Studio and the iPad or secondary Mac computer. To avoid using an external display every time your computer is turned on after the initial setup, you will also need to:

  • Set up Automatic Login
  • Disable FileVault 
  • Add Luna Display to Login Items

Setting up Automatic Login, disabling FileVault, and adding Luna to your login items allows the Luna software to run at startup and connect to your iPad or secondary Mac computer.

Please note that the M1 Mac mini supports only one display using Thunderbolt/USB-C, so you would need to use an HDMI external display for the initial setup with Luna Display. 

If you are using a Mac Studio, you must plug Luna Display into one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports on the back of the Mac Studio as the ports in the from of the Mac Studio do not support Displays

Setting Up Headless Mode

An external monitor is required for the initial setup process. We also recommend connecting an external keyboard and mouse or trackpad to your computer.

1
While your computer is connected to an external monitor, download the free Luna primary app.
2
Disable FileVault
In System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault, select "Turn Off FileVault". If the option is greyed out, click the padlock in the bottom left corner to make changes.
3
Automatic Login
After disabling FileVault, go to System Preferences > Users and Groups > Login Options. Select your preferred account for automatic login. If the option is greyed out, click the padlock in the bottom left corner to make changes and make sure FileVault is disabled first.

4
Add Luna Display to your Login Items
Next, go to System Preferences > Users and Groups > Login Items.  Click the " +" below the list of items, select Luna Display from the next list of items that comes up, and then click " Add". Click the padlock in the bottom left to make these changes. 

5
Download the free Luna Display iPad app on your iPad or the Luna Secondary app on your secondary Mac.
6
Connect the iPad or secondary Mac to the same Wi-Fi network as the computer. If Wi-Fi is not available or unstable, you can connect your devices using a USB cable.
7
Launch both the Luna Mac app and the Luna iPad or Luna Secondary Mac app. Follow the instructions on your screen to connect. You will be prompted to plug Luna into your computer.
8
Once Luna has connected your devices, you can disconnect the external monitor from your computer.
A user must be logged in to run the Luna app. If you use FileVault, you may still need an external monitor to unlock your drive whenever you reboot. Having FileVault enabled can conflict with automatic login.

Note: Luna for Windows is currently not optimized for running in headless mode. Similar steps can be followed to set it up, but we cannot guarantee that it will function as desired. 
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