How to use your iPad as a second monitor

Having a multiple-monitor set-up will significantly improve your workflow. It allows for the handling multiple tasks, making you that much more productive. Of course workstations with multiple screens can also get pricey. Keep in mind, though, that you might already have a good second monitor laying around: your iPad! 

These tablets are not just great for on-the-go social networking and media consumption. With a bit of extra software, you can use your iPad as a second monitor. Especially if you have one of the larger iPad Pros.

Because the connection is software-based, using an iPad may actually be better than having a traditional monitor. These apps support things like touch, gestures, pressure sensitivity, Apple Pencil, added shortcuts, and more. 

Want to find a good app that will let you use your iPad as a second monitor? That’s what we are here to do. In this post we will show you our favorite options and give you a brief rundown on their pros and cons. Let’s get started. 

Air Display 3 — $9.99

use your ipad as a second monitor

Are you an Apple fan? If so, chances are that, aside from having an iPad, you are also rocking a Mac computer. If so, your best bet is to go with Air Display 3. This app comes with a plethora of features and solid performance, but it only works with Mac OS 10.8 and above. 

The app supports both wireless and wired modes. In addition, it allows for using the Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro, and even takes advantage of pressure sensitivity. You can also use pinch-to-zoom and other iPad gestures. It is as good as these apps get… but once again, you need an Apple computer to use it. If you want to use your iPad as a second monitor and have a Mac, this is the option we most recommend. 

Duet Display — $9.99

use your ipad as a second monitor

Duet Display is a wired-only solution that will set you back $9.99. This is not a bad price to pay for the level of functionality you get out of an app like this. 

Lag is extremely reduced with Duet Display. Our very own Edgar Cervantes uses it as a daily driver and claims lag is nearly unnoticeable with his Razer Blade Stealth and iPad Pro 9.7. There’s also a few performance modes: High Power, Energy Efficient and Pixel Perfect.

Other features include a 60fps frame-rate, touchscreen/gesture support, Apple Pencil with pressure sensitivity, and more. It also works with most devices, including those running OS X 10.9+, Windows 7+, and iOS 7+. If you want to use your iPad as a second monitor and are looking for an app that supports multiple different operating systems, this is a solid choice. 


Splashtop Wired XDisplay HD — $6.99

use your ipad as a second monitor

Splashtop XDisplay HD is only $6.99. It supports both 1080p and Retina resolutions at 60fps. In addition, you can take advantage of auto-orientation, and it works very well with a wired connection. 

Of course, it supports Mac OS X 10.8+ and Windows 7+. It’s simple and gets the job done.

iDisplay — $14.99

use your ipad as a second monitor

Need something that truly works with all your devices? iDisplay has support for Mac OS, Windows, iOS, and Android. This makes it the most flexible app in the list, in terms of compatibility. 

In terms of features, it isn’t falling behind. Resolution is at 60fps. In addition, it supports multi-touch, and can run both wired and wireless. 

iDisplay may be pricier at $14.99 from the Apple App Store and $17.99 from the Google Play Store, but it is worth it for its full functionality and Android support. 

Wrap up

Now that you have the tools to use your iPad as a second monitor, go get more productive using that iPad! Which app are you going for? Are there any others you recommend? Sound off in the comments!

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