How to Use an iPad as a Second Monitor

MacBooks offer enough screen real estate when it comes to getting work done, but if you want to add more displays into the mix while you’re working on the go, you can connect an iPad as a second monitor.

While you probably have your MacBook connected to a larger external monitor while you’re at the office, you really can’t do the same while you’re working from a remote location like at a coffee shop or the library. However, if you have an iPad, you can put it to good use by using it as a second monitor for your MacBook.

There are a few apps available that allow you to connect your iPad to your Mac and use it as a second monitor, but we’ll be focusing on an app called Air Display, which allows you to connect your iPad to your MacBook over WiFi and use the tablet as a second monitor for your MacBook.

Benefits of a Second Monitor

You might asking what good a second monitor could do, and that’s a very valid questions. The truth is, a second monitor setup isn’t for everyone and not every user needs to have a second monitor, but if you constantly find yourself multitasking on the computer, you might want to try out a second monitor to see how you like it.

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With a second monitor, you can have two windows open and viewable at once, rather than having to switch between them. Of course, you can shrink the windows and have them fit side-by-side on one display, but having a second monitor allows you to have two fully maximized windows in view, which can incredibly convenient if you’re multitasking.

For instance, a lot of people like to have the main window that they’re working in on one display and then have something like their Twitter feed on the second monitor to keep up breaking news or trends.

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Having two monitors is definitely all about preference, and some users could take it or leave it, while other users wouldn’t be able to survive without a second monitor.

How to Use an iPad as a Second Monitor

To get started with your iPad and Air Display 2, you’ll first want to buy and download the app onto your iPad. Air Display 2 costs $9.99, which might be a bit steep for your budget, but if a second monitor is something that you’ll use often, then it’s money well spent.

Purchase and download the app like you would with any other iPad app. After it’s installed, get on your Mac and go to GetAirDisplay.com. Here you’ll download the Mac client that allows your Mac and your iPad to talk to each other so that you can use your iPad as a second display.

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The annoying part is that you’ll have to give them your email address, for which they then send you the download link through email, which is a bit weird. Once you receive the email, though, download the AirDisplay Mac client and install it.

You may be required to restart your Mac after installation, and after you restart, you’ll be greeted with a new menu bar icon up in the top-right corner. Open up the Air Display 2 app on your iPad and then click on the Air Display menu bar icon. Your iPad should show up in the list. If not, make sure your Mac and your iPad are connected to the same WiFi network.

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From there, click on Connect and the two devices will automatically link up with each other, and you’ll now have a two-monitor setup that adds more screen real estate, but still keeps things portable.

You can then prop up the iPad with a stand or get a nifty accessory like the SideCar to attach your iPad to your MacBook.

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Air Display allows you to use your iPad as a second monitor, and it works rather seamlessly, allowing to drag windows over to the iPad’s screen just like you would with any other second monitor that you would have set up.

Comments

  1. Simon says

    “..and then have something like their Twitter feed on the second monitor to keep up breaking news or trends”
    – At last, a way to view my Twitter stream on an iPad!!!
    This article could (and should) have been a single, concise paragraph.

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