iPad + Mac Mini = MacBook! feat. Jump Desktop

Ever since diving into iOS development, I have been in a dilemma where I want to use my iPad as my primary device but also be able to develop apps for iOS and also other platforms in the future.

Of course, the ideal set-up would be to use a MacBook but I really love my iPad as I believe it is the “de-facto” device. I don’t have the M-series iPad (no full external display support) but I do have an M1 Mac Mini which is absolutely perfect. It is very fast and does everything I through at it. The only downside is that it is a desktop meaning I can’t bring it with me which is why the iPad is my go-to on-the-go device.

Day-to-day, the iPad can do everything I throw at it as well, albeit taking a different approach, the only limitation I have is iOS app development which is actually a minor issue as I have actually published a mobile app directly from the iPad!

The main issue I currently have is that my iPad Air 4 doesn’t support full external display so you are stuck with iPad’s aspect ratio. This isn’t a bad thing per-se however, it does mean that when plugged into a monitor, you get black bars (letter-boxing) along the sides.

I tried Stage Manager in my local Apple Store and it was great! 😀

One day I hope to own an M-series iPad but for the time being, I have had to find a way to take my current iPad to the next level.

The Dilemma

Sometimes I want to program on my iPad but have full Xcode but on-the-go, even if it means working in the lounge while on the couch.

After much research and experimentation, I came across an app called “Jump Desktop”.

At first, I thought to myself, not another VNC client! However, this is where I was very wrong.

Jump Desktop has their own “Fluid” protocol which is a super fluid protocol (As opposed to VNC/RDP), that is honestly imperceptible when it comes to office-work.

It works both locally but also outside of your LAN (i.e. out and about, with mobile data, WAN, etc.) — without the need to port-forward!

Jump Desktop has a client for Mac and Windows which uses the Fluid protocol and this is what makes the magic happen.

Using Jump Desktop and “BetterDisplay” together, I am able to make my Mac desktop fit my iPad display almost perfectly and have a pleasant macOS experience from my iPad.

The best resolution to use when using iPad Air/Pro is 1194 x 834.


I have tested Jump Desktop in my local network over WiFi (5GHz) and it works perfectly fine. You’re not going to be playing games on it but even that will work, I would argue it runs better than Xbox Cloud!


I can now use Xcode on my iPad. And when I need to continue working at my desk, I just continue my work on my Mac.

It’s not a MacBook of course meaning you don’t get a larger display but that’s why I love the iPad. 11″ is the perfect size for portability and now, I get iPadOS and macOS on my iPad! Plus, my 1TB external drive stays plugged in my Mac Mini so it’s a fast remote server!

And better yet, instead of paying for Windows 365 when I want to use Windows, I just fire-up my Windows 11 or Ubuntu VM in Parallels and just work on whatever I need there — absolutely perfection.

Looks like we’re going back to mainframes. 😂

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