Use Your iPad As A Second Monitor To-Go

by | Oct 28, 2011 | Fun Stuff

My work desktop computer is equipped with two monitors. And when I am away from my office or using my laptop, I frequently need the extra screen real estate that I get when I am at my desktop. But what can laptop users do?

One option, is to purchase a secondary USB monitor. Back in 2009, I reviewed the Nanovision Mimo UM-710 and really liked using it (until it was stolen). It certainly is convenient to have a monitor that plugs in with USB. You can find the UM-710S at for $139 +shipping.

However, if you also own an iPad, you can use the iPad as a secondary monitor using Air Display from Avatron  ($9.99 from the Apple App Store).

So, unlike the single purpose/use USB Display, the iPad does so much more (although at 3x the price of the Mimo).

Air display was easy to setup. I purchased the app from the app store and when you run it for the first time you receive instructions for connecting the air display to your computer (compatible with both Mac and PC systems). You download and install the tool on your system the follow the directions to link it to your iPad. Its very flexible and works with iPad, iPod Touch, and the iPhone. Clearly, you get the best experience with the larger screen of the iPad, but the iPhone and iPod touch also work as advertised.

I even use it as a third monitor connected to my Windows 7 desktop.

iPad Extender

AirDisplay is not without its own drawbacks – it requires that both your computer and the iPad are on the same WiFi network. Also, depending on the speed of that network, you may have a delay in the display of data. The color depth/screen isn’t as sharp as the native screen of your laptop. The limitations of the display are seen rather quickly when you fire it up and move a window over to the iPad. There will be come lag as the iPad refreshes over the WiFi. I wouldn’t use it to play games or for any intense graphics.

Here is a short demo of the software in operation using my Macbook Pro.


As someone who loves working with multiple screens – this app is a must have.

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