How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

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 of 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.

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

The Best Productivity Apps for the iPad

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There's really only one bad thing to say about Duet Display: It's only available on the Mac. And if you are a Mac user, that's not a big deal, but if you are hoping to add a second display to your Windows-based PC, you'll need to look further down the list. 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 or iMac.  

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

Price: $15.99 More »

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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.

Bundle Price: $14.99

Have a Mac?  Download Air Display 3 instead.   More »

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iDisplay, Splashtop, DisplayPad, Etc.

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. At $2.99, DisplayPad is a much cheaper solution, but the set up process is more difficult and the overall efficiency is lacking. If you are willing to pay iDisplay's $9.99 price tag, you might as well take the extra step and go with the better options. And while Splashtop offers a free version, unlocking it beyond the trial is more expensive than Duet Display or Air Display.