Hoping to ramp up your productivity with a second monitor but are not interested in spending a lot on an HD 1440p high-resolution monitor, then don’t worry! We’ll be teaching you how to use iPad as a second screen.
An iPad can serve as a second display for your iMac Pro, Mac Mini, or even a Windows laptop if you’re planning to undertake multiple tasks at once for your work or running a business. Whether you’re planning on screen mirroring or an extended screen, we’ll be covering how to use your iPad as a second monitor.
Charge your laptop or phone up and let’s dive into it properly.
Can I use an iPad as a second monitor?
Absolutely! iPads are an excellent alternative for a second monitor and allow you to have a portable device that you can use anytime, anywhere. Apple’s innovative engineers have brought a native way to connect your iPad to an Apple laptop and use it as a second monitor.
But for those reading this with a Windows laptop, there are plenty of ways for you to also use your iPad as a monitor. We’ve listed a wide variety of options for you to choose from, including free applications, premium applications, and some of the top picks that we’ve had experience with.
You’ll find that using an iPad as a second monitor for activities like editing photos, general multitasking, and during meetings is essential for remaining productive in today’s workplace. read on to discover the best ways how to use iPad as a second screen.
How to use iPad as a Second Display
There is a wide range of applications you can download and use that will transform your iPad into a multifunctional second display to aid you. Some of the applications we’re going to talk about are restricted to Apple products while others are only useable with Windows computers – so make sure to check which desktop software your device has.
Keep in mind that if you have a touch screen laptop, its touch screen capabilities may work differently when you extend the screen.
Let’s not waste any more time and jump right into the various ways you can use your iPad as a second screen.
Sidecar – Our Choice for Mac Users
If you have a Mac device you’re aiming to pair your iPad with, then you’re in luck! Apple has specifically integrated the iPad display to easily serve as a second monitor using their native app called Sidecar – you don’t even have to install a Sidecar app.
One of the simplest ways to connect your iPad screen to your Macbook Air is to connect the two devices with USB, but you should double-check that your iPad is set to trust your primary device.
Here’s a step process to get your connected iPad working:
- Ensure that both of your devices fulfill the Sidecar requirements – check this in your Sidecar settings.
- Ensure both devices are signed into the same Apple Cloud service, iCloud, preferably with two-factor authentication.
- Ensure that your Bluetooth & Hand-Off are turned on and it should pop up and be connected to your Mac. While connected to your Mac, it can’t move more than 30 feet away from the primary device.
Best of all, you can still use your iPad as an independent device, so if you’re planning to develop a website or programs with JDK, you can keep it up or use your Apple Pencil as well. Using the touch bar or Mac’s menu bar, you can easily navigate the Apple menu or use the full-screen button.
Spacedesk – Our Top Windows Choice
Spacedesk is a familiar name for those who’ve dabbled with making an external display for your Windows PC. It’s a free application that boasts wireless tab options for you to protect your or mirror your Windows screen onto your tablet.
Keep in mind that you can only use Spacedesk on a Windows device, so Mac users will have to look around and see some other options that we’ve listed. Here’s how you download and install Spacedesk onto your Windows laptop:
- Download Spacedesk onto your device, just ensure you download the correct one for the version of Windows you have. Do the same for your Apple iPad device.
- Connect both your devices, PC and iPad to the same WiFi network.
- Launch Spacedesk on your desktop or laptop, and turn the Spacedesk status “On”.
- Now launch it on your iPad, confirm access, and pick your PC’s name and you should be connected!
That’s all there is to it! Connecting to Spacedesk is extremely easy and thanks to its free price stage, it’s the go-to for many Windows users.
Duet Display – Our Premium Choice
Duet Display is a prime option for using your iPad screen as a second monitor, but keep in mind that to use your iPad’s screen in this way you’ll have to pay. However, Duet Display has been beloved by both Windows & Mac users so it’s a worthwhile purchase.
Once you’ve purchased Duet Display, here’s how you go about connecting the two devices:
- First, make sure that you have Duet Display launched on both of your devices.
- Your subscription to Duet Display should all you to wirelessly connect your iPad screen to the Windows device. To do this, head to your laptop’s menu bar and go to Advanced Settings and Wireless Devices. Your iPad should show up, and simply clicking on it will establish a link.
- If your iPad doesn’t isn’t connected to your Mac or Windows, you can connect the two devices with a USB cable. Otherwise, you can manually connect the two by inputting the IP Address of your iPad.
This is an amazing tool for using your tablet in your business, so consider using Duet Display as one of our top picks for turning your iPad into an external screen.
Splashtop Wired XDisplay – Our Mac Back-Up Choice
If you’re planning to extend your Mac display or other Apple devices, then the Splashtop Wired Display is one of our best recommendations. If you want a separate display, this one is great for Mac options as it is a free iPad app, but costs a bit if you’re planning to get it on an Android device.
Keep in mind that you need to have a few separate apps to make this work – specifically XDisplay. Afterward, install the programs into both devices, and then connect your iPad and PC or laptop with a lightning or 30-pin cable based on your blank desktop system preferences.
Splashtop Wired Display settings give you amazing access to using your iPad as a second monitor, even allowing you to use your Apple pencil. Although you may experience a little lag, for the simple price of $0 – it’s well worth trying!
Why You Should be Using your iPad as a Second Display?
There are many examples where using your iPad as a second display would be useful in both everyday life and for your businesses.
For a business, having an additional external screen or a way for mirroring your device is useful in the fact that you can always have a place to check stats or emails in a meeting.
Kids and students can have a lecture lesson playing while taking notes on their laptops or desktop.
Using your iPad as a display could also come in handy for artists, and you can use your iPad to look up references while making drawings.
Frequently Asked Questions
We often receive several questions when it comes to using your iPad as a second screen for a Mac desktop or Windows PC. We’ve compiled some of the most common ones and made answers for them. You may have had a few of these questions swimming in your head as you read this article, so feel free to check them out!
What is Sidecar?
Only Mac devices support Sidecar, which is the native Apple feature that allows you to connect your iPad screen to your Macbook Pro or other Apple device. Sidecar wirelessly allows you to connect and is a free application provided by Apple.
Once connected and within the display menu bar, you can quite easily use your Apple Pencil or other modifier keys – just ensure that before you mirror your Mac screen, add your Apple ID to connect properly.
Can I Use My iPad As a Second Monitor for Windows for Free?
Yes! There are plenty of applications on our list that you can use for absolutely free! All that it may cost you is a USB cable.
Can I Use My iPad As a Second Monitor with HDMI?
To use your iPad display as a second screen, you just need a USB cable or a similar to connect your iPad to your Macbook Pro or other Macbook device. An iPad doesn’t have an HDMI port with which you can connect to your iPad.
That being said, if you have a way to convert the HDMI cable to a cable that can connect to your device – then that’s a different story.
And there you have it! Hopefully, we’ve listed some excellent and useful applications that you can use to connect your iPad to your Macbook or Windows device.
Writer Graham Grieve brings two decades of technical communications experience to The Holy Tech coverage. Isaac contributes articles on laptops, tablets and PCs, alongside various software and hardware guides. Isaac is a former newspaper journalist who also worked in tech communications for some of the country’s biggest corporations. He also counsels and creates material for other technology publications and hosts a podcast.
Isaac’s in-depth reporting and knowledge of hardware and software issues helps The Holy Tech’s readers learn how to choose the right products, or solve tricky problems.