How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

Need a second monitor? Try out your iPad

Are you looking to get more productive? One of the best ways to boost productivity in the office or at home is to go with a dual display for your PC or Mac. But fair warning: It is addicting. After working with two monitors for several years, I find it difficult to go back to just using one, as if I'm trying to work inside of a box. Don't have two monitors? No problem. If you have an iPad, you can use it as a second display.

Is the iPad as good a display as an actual monitor? No. The 9.7-inch display of the full-sized iPad certainly won't give you as much real estate as a 22-inch monitor. But the best apps for converting your iPad into a second monitor also make use of the iPad's touch interface, which can be a real bonus.


How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

These apps work in conjunction with software installed on your computer. The software for your PC or Mac is free.

Duet Display


While many apps have provided the ability to use your iPad as a second monitor via Wi-Fi, Duet Display uses the same Lightning or 30-pin cable you use to charge your iPad. This makes the connection fast, allowing you to do everything from watch video, which would be laggy over Wi-Fi or even play games.

And Duet Display works great with the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro's 12.9-inch display makes it perfect for adding a second monitor to your MacBook, iMac or even your PC if you have one. 

You can watch a demo video of Duet Display in action on Youtube

Air Display


Until Duet Display came along, Air Display was the reigning champ of converting your iPad into a monitor. And while Duet Display hasn't registered a TKO, the champ has definitely been backed into a corner.

Avatron Software recently came out with Air Display 3, which also uses the iPad's cable rather than Wi-Fi to set the iPad up as a second monitor. Unfortunately, Air Display 3 only works with Macs. If you are using Windows, you will need to install Air Display 2.

Do not download Air Display 2 from Avatron's website. Avatron has an Air Display 3 Upgrade Bundle available in the app store. Unfortunately, their website doesn't link to it. While the upgrade bundle is $5 more than Air Display 2, it matches the price of Air Display 3 and gives you access to both apps, so when the Windows version is ready, you'll be ready.

Have a Mac? Download Air Display 3 instead. 

iDisplay Is Another, Pricier Option

An illustration of a computer with an iPad as a second monitor.

Duet Display and Air Display aren't alone in providing the ability to use your iPad as a monitor for your PC. But they are by far and away the best solution. If you are willing to pay iDisplay's price tag, you might as well go with the better options.