How to Use a Tablet or iPad as a Second Monitor
Second monitors are an excellent solution for expanding their computer’s viewing surface. Tablets and iPads can be an affordable alternative to full-scale monitor setups, especially for occasional use.
You’ve come to the right spot if you’re wondering how to use a tablet or iPad as a second monitor. This article shares helpful tips and provides apps to connect the two seamlessly. Let’s dive right in.
How to Use a Tablet or iPad as a Second Monitor for a Windows PC
Connecting a tablet or an iPad to a Windows PC can be done through third-party apps. Many apps are out there, but we’ve only listed some of the best ones.
Our winner for connecting any device to your Windows PC is the Splashtop app. This remote-access tool allows you to use your Windows PC from the iPad or tablet with a subscription or for free. The great thing is that the screen mirroring feature comes with the free version.
There are two components of this app. Splashtop is an app you install on your tablet or iPad, and Splash Display is a Windows PC agent.
Follow the steps below for detailed instructions on how to connect your iPad or tablet to a Windows PC:
- Download the Splashtop app on your iPad or Android tablet.
- Install the Splashtop XDisplay agent on your Windows desktop.
- Use a charging cable to connect your iPad or tablet to the computer once the software gets installed.
- Launch the app on both devices.
Your desktop should appear on your iPad or tablet screen, and your tablet is now available as a regular screen.
You can customize the display to get the most out of it. Launch the XDisplay app on your Windows desktop and tweak the frame rate, screen quality, and resolution.
Overall, Splashtop is an inexpensive, cross-platform option, but it’s not the smoothest. However, it will do the job just fine without breaking the bank.
Using an iPad as a Second Monitor with Duet Display
Like Splashtop, Duet Display connects your iPad, iPhone, or Android device to your Windows or Mac PC. However, the Duet Display app is not free. For Windows and Mac, you get a 10-day trial, and then you need a subscription unless you only need 10 minutes or less and use a cable to connect it. It’s among the smoothest app experiences if you want to turn your iPad or tablet into a second monitor.
The standard version supports iPad keyboards and will add touch controls to your computer apps on the screen. With a paid subscription, you can use the Duet Air feature to add wireless connectivity, remote desktop features, and enhanced graphics. However, these advanced features require a yearly subscription. If you use the tablet for drawing features, you may want to pay the extra fee for a Duet Pro subscription.
- After installing the app on your desktop and tablet/phone, ensure it’s running on the PC.
- Plug the PC into the tablet using a USB cable. The connection should be instantaneous, and the desktop feature will be ready.
- Select the “Duet Display” icon on the PC to tweak the screen settings. Default settings work well but may appear sluggish if you use an older laptop. That’s when you could lower the resolution or frame rate.
How to Use a Tablet or iPad as a Second Monitor for a Mac
If you use an iPad, continue reading this section. If you want to connect an Android tablet to a Mac, skip to the Alternative Methods section.
The Sidecar is a great native tool that lets you use your iPad in landscape orientation as a second monitor for your Mac. You can use the tool to show different apps on your iPad or the same ones as your Mac.
Ensure your devices have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on for the connection to work correctly.
Tweak Sidecar Options
To set up Sidecar, first, ensure you’re logged in with the same Apple ID on your iPad and Mac.
Then, follow the steps below:
- Open your Mac and navigate to the Apple menu.
- Go to System Preferences, then Sidecar.
- Set options for showing the sidebar and Touch Bar on your iPad.
- Select the Connect to pop-up menu if you’re not already connected to your iPad.
- Select your iPad from the list.
Another way to connect the devices is to use the Display in the Control Centre and the Display Menu from the menu bar. You can also navigate to display preferences and use the AirPlay Display pop menu.
There’s no need to use a cable to connect your Mac and iPad with Sidecar.
If you haven’t connected your Mac to the iPad, navigate to the Control Center, then click Display. You’ll see the Sidecar menu appear. This menu is where you can switch how you work with your iPad. For example, you can switch between screen mirroring or using an iPad as a separate display. You can also choose whether to hide or show the Touch Bar on your iPad.
Here are some basic commands to get you started:
- Move a window from your computer to the iPad: Drag a window to the screen edge and have the pointer appear on the iPad. Alternately, select Window, then Move Window to iPad.
- Move a window from iPad to Mac: Drag a window from your iPad to the edge until you see the pointer on the Mac.
- Use Touch Bar on your iPad: Tap any button from the Touch Bar using your finger or Apple Pencil.
- Disconnect the iPad: When you finish working, tap the Disconnect button at the bottom of the iPad sidebar.
Alternative Methods to Use an iPad as a Second Monitor for Mac
Maybe you have an older Mac version that doesn’t support Sidecar, or you’re using an Android tablet. If so, you can still mirror your iPad or tablet screen. You have to use a third-party app instead.
The most inexpensive option is Splashtop Wired XDisplay. To use this app, connect your Mac, iPad, or tablet with a USB. Even though this app doesn’t provide the smoothest experience, it gets the job done.
Here is how to connect your iPad to your Mac using this app:
- Download and install the XDisplay agent on your Mac.
- Download and install the XDisplay app on your iPad or tablet.
- Run the desktop app and connect the iPad or tablet to your Mac using a cable.
- You’ll see a blank desktop appear on the tablet. Navigate to the Display settings to tweak the monitor settings.
XDisplay offers a pretty decent screen mirroring experience, and it’s a great alternative if your Mac doesn’t have the Sidecar function. If you need a more professional approach than XDisplay, you may want to consider investing in Duet Display. It’s a pricier but a better alternative.
Much like Splashtop, there is a separate app for your iPad or tablet and your Mac to install. Note that the standard iOS app is $5 or $8.25 per month, paid annually. The “standard” version also uses a cable to connect the two devices. You can pay extra for wireless connectivity and other benefits like remote desktop features or enhanced graphics. Finally, for drawing features, you’ll also pay a yearly fee.
Dual Monitor Setup at the Palm of Your Hand
Investing in dual monitor setups is a rather expensive venture. You can transform your iPad or tablet into a second monitor for less unless you need the full-scale system. Thankfully, there are enough excellent apps that help connect the devices, and Mac even has a built-in feature that allows you to do so.
This article explained the best methods for using your tablet or iPad as a second monitor. Hopefully, they’ll help boost your productivity without breaking the bank.
Have you used any of the apps mentioned as a second monitor? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.