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Duet Air 2.0 brings Sidecar-style second screens and remote control to Macs and iOS

Instead of solely to an iPad, the new Duet Air 2.0 lets you extend your Mac's desktop onto the screen of another Mac or PC

The software-only solution to extending a Mac's desktop onto an iPad has been updated. It now offers second or mirror screens on Macs, PCs and iPad. Plus a new feature lets users log into their Mac remotely.

The makers of Duet Display, a system for turning an iPad into a second screen for a Mac, has released an updated Duet Air 2.0 which extends the Sidecar type of functionality. Users can now utilize another Mac or a PC as a shared or mirrored screen.

Duet Air works solely in software rather than needing a dongle. The developers say that they have "invested heavily and improved our algorithms to offer the fastest wireless experience available."

Currently Duet Air 2.0 runs on Mac, iOS and PC. An Android version is promised for January 2020.

Using an iPad to run Xcode on a Mac with Duet Air 2.0
Using an iPad to run Xcode on a Mac with Duet Air 2.0

The existing versions also allow users to remotely view and control the Mac or PC without being on the same network. While Apple has introduced Sidecar in order to allow second-screen use of an iPad — although only an iPad, not another Mac or PC — it has also dropped its main remote desktop feature, Back to My Mac.

When Apple launched Sidecar, the makers of Duet Display told AppleInsider that they had been expecting it and were planning what has become this new Duet Air 2.0. This was later confirmed with reports in October.

Duet Air is a subscription app costing $19.99 annually.

Duet separately has a one-off Duet Display app which is specifically just for using an iPad as a second screen next to the Mac. There is also a Duet Pro for $29.99 per year which the company recommends for Apple Pencil users intending to use the iPad as a tablet.

The chief difference between Duet Air, Apple's Sidecar and the similar system from Luna Display comes down to connectivity.

Duet does everything in software and uses the Mac's regular wireless connection. Apple is the same, except that it leverages how it makes the operating system to provide its Sidecar with better connectivity.

Luna Display, which also recently introduced Mac to Mac as well as the original Mac to iPad edition, uses either a USB wired connection or a custom Wi-Fi dongle that plugs into the main machine.