How to Use Your iPad As An Second Screen With Any Computer?

Two monitors are better than one, and if you have a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, you can use Sidecar to turn your iPad into a second display, allowing your computer to communicate with your tablet and extend the same desktop environment.

However, this capability is confined to specific Mac and iPad models, which is a shame if you have an older device or a Windows PC. Fortunately, a few third-party apps can help cover the gap on all devices that can’t run Sidecar.

The Ideal Option: Sidecar on macOS

Sidecar is undoubtedly the most excellent app for converting your iPad into a secondary monitor. So, if you have a Mac and an iPad within the last five or six years, you should start with this strategy. (If your gadgets are older, proceed to the following section.)

To use your iPad as a display, connect it to your Mac through USB or ensure Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff are set on. You must also be logged in with the same Apple ID on both devices.

Select your iPad from the list by clicking the AirPlay button in your Mac’s menu bar. The symbol will change, and clicking the menu again will provide additional alternatives.

How to Use Your iPad As An Second Screen With Any Computer?

You can stretch or mirror your Mac’s display, show or conceal the iPad’s Sidebar and Touch Bar, and disconnect your tablet.

If you wish to move between a wired and wireless connection, you must use the AirPlay menu to disconnect and reconnect. According to Apple, it should function wirelessly as long as the iPad is within 10 meters (30 feet) of the Mac, and you can even sign papers and draw in approved apps with your Apple Pencil.

Use Gestures For Scrolling and Other Actions

These Multi-Touch gestures are particularly useful when using your iPad as a display.

  • Scroll: Swipe with two fingers.
  • Copy: Pinch in with three fingers.
  • Cut: Pinch in with three fingers twice.
  • Paste: Pinch out with three fingers.
  • Undo: Swipe left with three fingers, or double-tap with three fingers.
  • Redo: Swipe right with three fingers.

The Cheap, Cross-Platform Option: Splashtop Wired XDisplay

If Sidecar doesn’t work with your Mac or iPad, or if you use Windows or Android, Splashtop Wired XDisplay(Opens in a new window) is a third-party tool that can turn your tablet into a second monitor. It only works when connected by USB, and it isn’t the smoothest choice I’ve tried, but it does the job enough for a low price.

Splashtop Wired XDisplay is made up of two parts: a desktop agent that works in the background on your PC or Mac, and an app for iPadOS or Android that runs on your tablet. (The iPad software looks to be free, while the Android app is $7—though there is a free trial version that works for 10 minutes at a time.)

Install both the desktop and mobile apps on the devices used together. Connect your tablet to your computer via a USB cord while the desktop software is active, and then activate the XDisplay app on your tablet. It will connect to your PC and show you a blank desktop on your tablet.

You can rearrange your monitors under your computer’s Display settings, drag Windows to your tablet, and utilize it as a second monitor to increase productivity. If you’re using your tablet with a laptop, a stand like this(Opens in a new window) is excellent, while a more adjustable shelf (Opens in a new window) is ideal for desktop use.

Splashtop Wired XDisplay performs admirably in my iPad and Windows PC testing. There is some perceptible latency, and it did get stuck in Mirrored Mode on one of my machines, but for the price of free, it’s worth a try. (The $7 Android app has mixed reviews, and if you’re going to pay money, I think it’s worth it to spend a little more and use our premium recommendation, Duet Display, listed below.)

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