Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

May 16, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Having additional desktop real estate is always a bonus, and even with the remarkable dimensions on offer on the latest Macs, being able to spread your work “off-screen” for a few minutes can prove useful.

Of course, splashing out your well-earned cash on a secondary desktop monitor might seem a little extravagant to many, but if you already own an Apple iPad you can use this as a secondary display for your Mac!

All you need is a single, easy to use app and for the best results your iPad dock to position your device wherever it is required.

Use your iPad as a second monitor!

Advantages of Additional Desktop Space

While minimizing application windows to the dock is an easy way of taking advantage of the existing desktop space on your Mac or MacBook, there are various apps that benefit from having a full screen presence. As such a secondary display might be used in order to open a chat window in Skype, for instance, or to keep your browser or Twitter app open while you focus on a streamed TV show that you’re catching up on.

You might have various reasons of your own (perhaps gaming in the main display and chat in the secondary display) but whatever your needs, all you need is a copy of a good iPad app such as Air Display (other suitable apps are available, however).

Begin by picking up your iPad and purchasing the app, and while it installs, switch back to your Mac and browse to to download some software that will allow you to take advantage of Air Display.

Avatron is the developer of Air Display, and they provide a counterpart application that can be installed on Mac OS X 105.8, 10.6 or later and Windows. Once this has downloaded, double-click the file to install it and add the required drivers that allow you to display your computer output on your iPad, and finally restart your Mac.

Using Air Display for iPad

To share your Mac’s desktop display over your iPad, you will need both devices to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Once this has been done, pickup your iPad and open Air Display.

On the Mac, look for a brand new icon in the menu bar and click it to select Open Air Display Preferences. On the left-hand side it should be set to On; meanwhile use the Device drop-down menu to select your iPad.

As you do this, both displays will flash blue and then your iPad will display the signal from your Mac! However having two devices displaying the same data is a little wasteful, so make some space on your desk where you want the iPad to sit, and then Show All in the top-left corner of the Air Display Preferences.

The final step is to use the preferences window that is launched to organize how you will view your data. The Display tab can be used to calibrate the colours of your iPad, while the Arrangement tab provides a dragable representation of your iPad, allowing you to position it as needed around your Mac display.

Minimize or close the preferences window and you will be able to begin dragging your application windows to and from the iPad!

(Note that there are some uses that this isn’t suitable; for instance due to the Wi-Fi connection, using the iPad display for gaming or watching video will result in some considerable lag.)

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