How to use your iPad as a second screen on any computer
Sidecar on macOS Catalina turns your iPad into a second screen with a few clicks, but it’s limited to certain Macs and iPads. Fortunately, there are a few third-party apps that can help you shoot.
Two screens are better than one, and with a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, you can turn your iPad into a second screen with Sidecar, which allows your computer to talk to your tablet and extend the same desktop.
However, this feature is limited
to certain Mac and iPad models, which is a shame if you have an older device or an
you have an older device or Windows PC. Fortunately, there are some third-party apps that can fill the gap on devices where Sidecar doesn’t work.
The ideal solution: Sidecar on macOS
Sidecar is perhaps the best option for turning your iPad into an extra display. So if you have a Mac and an iPad from the last five years, you should try it first (if your devices are older, skip to the next section).
To connect your iPad as a display, connect your iPad to your Mac via USB or – if you want to do it wirelessly – make sure Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Handoff are enabled. You’ll also need to sign in with the same Apple ID on both devices.
Click the AirPlay button in your Mac’s menu bar and select your iPad from the list. The icon will change and if you click the menu again, you will see a series of options. You can mirror or expand your Mac screen, show or hide the sidebar and touch bar that appear on the iPad, or disconnect from your tablet.
You can use Sidecar wired or wirelessly, but to switch between the two, disconnect and reconnect via the AirPlay menu. Apple says it should work wirelessly as long as the iPad is within 10 feet of the Mac, and you can even use your Apple Pencil to sign documents and draw in supported apps.
The cheap, compatible option: the XDisplay wired Splashtop.
If your Mac or iPad doesn’t support Sidecar, or if you’re using Windows or Android, you can use the Splashtop Wired XDisplay
is a third-party app that can turn your tablet into a second screen. It only works when connected via USB, and it’s not the smoothest solution I’ve used, but it does the job satisfactorily for not a lot of money.
Splashtop Wired XDisplay has two components: a desktop agent that runs in the background on your PC or Mac, and an app for iPadOS
The iPad app appears to be free, while the Android app costs $7, although there is a free version that runs for 10 minutes at a time).
Once you have installed the desktop and tablet apps, make sure the desktop app is running on your computer, connect your tablet to your computer with a USB cable and launch the XDisplay app on your tablet. It will connect to your computer and a blank desktop will appear on your tablet. You can rearrange your monitors through your computer’s display settings, drag and drop windows onto your tablet and use it as a second monitor to increase productivity.
I recommend a stand to hold it.
works well if you are using the tablet with a laptop, while a more adjustable stand
is ideal for desktop use.
Splashtop Wired XDisplay works reasonably well, at least in my experience with an iPad and a Windows PC. There is some latency, and I had some issues with locking in mirrored mode on one of my computers, but for the price it’s free and worth a try. (The Android app for $7 has more mixed reviews, and if you’re going to pay money, I think it’s worth spending a bit more and using our recommendation of Duet Display, which we recommend for a fee below).
A more expensive, but better alternative: the Duet Display.
If you want a frictionless experience, Duet Display
is the best app I’ve tried for turning an iPad into an additional display.
Best iPad tips and tricks: how to conquer iPadOS.
Like Splashtop, it has an app for your tablet that connects to the corresponding app on your computer. Duet Display’s desktop app is free,
and the Android apps cost $10.
costs $10. The default version of the app only works when connected via USB, but it adds a Touch Bar to any Mac, supports iPad keyboards, and adds touch control to your Windows or Mac apps on the tablet screen.