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Can You Use a Headless MacBook Air with a Vision Pro?

Luke Miani (who runs a great YouTube channel I’ve been following for a while) has created the sort of beautiful monstrosity I would absolutely consider for my own workflow: he was able to remove a display from an M2 MacBook Air and use the remaining “macOS slab” as a fully functioning computer for the Vision Pro’s Mac Virtual Display mode.

If the sentence above doesn’t make any sense to you, go watch the video first:

The idea of using headless MacBooks has been around for a while, but I was wondering if it’d find new life with the Vision Pro and the ability to virtualize a Mac display or use Universal Control with it. Which is why I’m very glad that Miani tried this first and confirmed that, yes, a headless MacBook Air totally works as a very expensive Vision Pro accessory.

The reason I’m so fascinated by this project is that I find the current keyboard/trackpad setup on the Vision Pro lackluster. If you don’t want to use a Mac in the middle, your best bet is to get an accessory like a Twelve South MagicBridge to hold a Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad together. However, as I shared earlier this week, that accessory’s form factor is not ideal for lap usage:

I’m waiting for two different “trays” that promise a laptop-like configuration, but as I’ve been told by others online, those don’t fix the fact that the desktop Magic Trackpad doesn’t offer the sort of palm rejection features typically found in Mac laptops.

Which brings me back to Miani’s wonderfully weird and amazing experiment: what if the input portion of a Mac laptop could become a more portable and accurate input method for the Vision Pro, with support for Mac Virtual Display when needed? What if a keyboard computer (Apple II says hi) could be used with the Vision Pro or docked at a desk with a Thunderbolt hub and external monitor?

Realistically, Apple should make this kind of accessory and I’m so surprised that their answer for people who want to work solely on a Vision Pro is “buy the keyboard and trackpad from a few years ago that still have a Lightning connector”. I’m not going to do this to my own MacBook Air. But you have no idea how tempted I am to try.