What if you magically found a new monitor sitting in your lap?
If you already have an iPad in your home, it's possible to use iPad as a second monitor. This lets you enjoy all the benefits of a "two-screen experience" without having to shell out for an expensive new monitor.
Curious about how you can get some dual-screen magic happening today? Keep reading to learn the answer!
We'll go ahead and give you the bad news first: for the most part, your iPad was not designed to natively hook up with your computer. That's why almost all of our solutions to this problem are app-based.
There are multiple apps to choose from (more on this later), which is something of a double-edged sword for you as a user. On one hand, it can be annoying and confusing to learn all about the different apps that can pull this off. On the other hand, having this much selection means that you can choose something that is both in your price range and easy to use.
A traditional monitor hooks to your computer via connections such as VGA or even HDMI. How, then, will you be able to connect your iPad to your computer and use it as a monitor?
This depends on which method you end up using. In short, different apps require different ways to connect.
Some of them connect via wi-fi. However, most solutions use the existing iPad connection wire (either the lightning wire or, for older models, the 30-pin wire).
One bit of good news is that each method involves using a resource you already have. This helps to keep costs down, though there are a few costs associated with the different solutions.
Are There Any Hidden Costs?
Chances are that your main goal is to avoid spending nearly two hundred dollars on a new monitor and a two-screen setup. While these solutions will still save you a ton of money, many of them have a small cost associated with them.
As we noted before, there are multiple apps you can use to connect the computer and iPad. Most of these apps run between $7 and $20, with higher prices being reserved for newer apps.
This doesn't exactly break the bank, especially versus buying new hardware. But the only people who can truly connect their iPad and their computer are Mac users.
Windows or Apple?
Almost everything in the computer world can be summed up with this question: "Windows or Apple?"When it comes to using an iPad as a second monitor, you can answer with another question: "why not both?"
We have information below about different apps you can use. Some are suitable for Windows users and some for Mac users. Some are even suitable for both.
If you use Mac and have a newer iPad (made within the last few years), you may be able to connect by simply using the existing Mac operating system. With macOS Catalina, you can quickly connect your devices using either wi-fi or wire.
For Mac users, there has never been a better time to learn how to use iPad as second monitor in macOS Catalina!
Who Is This Useful For?
If you don't have a Mac or want to explore other options, you'll need to scope out other apps. Before we get to our recommendations, it's important to review who would benefit the most from using two monitors.
One natural answer is college students. Such students often must cycle between multiple windows and apps as they complete schoolwork. By connecting iPads and laptops, even "on the go" students can efficiently examine twice as many windows at once, doubling their efficiency.
Another answer is "serious multitaskers." If you have a job where you must juggle multiple plates, having access to all of your info at once is a real time-saver.
Basically, anyone who is either very busy or a visual learner will benefit from having access to two screens at once.
What Are the Best Apps to Use?
Like we said, you have plenty of apps to choose from. But what are these apps, and how much will they cost you?
One of the cheapest Windows-friendly options is Splashtop Wired XDisplay. As of this writing, the iPad version of this app is completely free. They also offer an Android version, though it currently costs $7.
While Splashtop is handy, you get what you pay for. To get a smoother "second monitor" experience for Windows or Mac, you should check out Duet Display. The iOS app costs $10, though you can access more bells and whistles with annual subscription options.
If you are a Mac user who wants a seasoned solution, Air Display has been around for a while. It is highly reliable and offers good customer support. And Air Display 3 currently costs only $9.99.
What Are the Benefits of Using Two Screens?
Earlier, we talked about who would benefit from using a second monitor. But what are the benefits, in general, of doing this?
In terms of productivity, using two screens makes it easier to copy and paste information. It also makes it easier to edit videos and write essays and reports because you have access to much more information at once.
Generally speaking, two screens let you get your various tasks done faster, both at work or at home. And it creates a richer experience for gamers...so much so that it can be hard to go back to one screen!
What Are the Drawbacks of Using Two Screens?
Now you know the benefits of two screens. But are there any drawbacks?
The answer is "not really." It's true that some people dislike the cost of the app, and those on the go might not love the time it takes to connect the iPad each time.
But this remains the cheapest and most efficient way to have a second monitor. And we can't even calculate how much time and money you'll save in the long run.
Use iPad As a Second Monitor: What's Next?
Now you know how to use iPad as a second monitor. But do you know how to stay on top of other tech developments?
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