Use your iPad as a second screen

The iPad is the screen they view most for many people, it is the most used monitor for mail, social media, apps and more. However, ordinary computers still have a role to play. Make your iPad work with your Mac or PC to literally broaden your view of the computing world.

In this article we explain how you can use an iPad as an external display for your computer. The iPad can be an old or a new model. It could be your previous one collecting dust or your current one that you use as a tablet. The computer can be a desktop PC or laptop running Windows or Mac. So something for everyone. Also read: Turn your iPad into a portable cinema.

Wireless or with cable

Wires are increasingly a thing of the past. Partly thanks to the iPad, which actually carries everything in it and can therefore go through life wirelessly. No network cable, no keyboard wire, no mouse cord. Except for charging, which still requires a wire. Most apps to turn your iPad into a second screen can therefore function wirelessly.

We must, however, make a few caveats. Our experience shows that the smoothness of the second screen largely depends on the Wi-Fi network in question. For just surfing the web or watching some video, WiFi should perform a little less than the theoretical maximum. Just like a car does not always drive at top speed. For your iPad as an external monitor, a fast WiFi connection without too much interference is nice. Otherwise you will get annoying hitches from your mouse arrow on that second screen.


If you want to use the iPad as a second screen for your laptop or PC, you need two applications, namely an app on the iPad and a program on your Mac or Windows PC.

Apple serves a large part of the tablet world with the iPad, while Windows predominates in the computer country. We first cover an app that is multiplatform. That is, it runs on your iPad, of course, but you can connect your iPad to both Windows and OS X with it.

splash top

Splashtop is a software maker offering a multiplatform application. Splashtop Extended Wireless Display 2 comes with programs for Windows, Mac, and even Ubuntu. The iPad app also comes in a free trial that gives you five minutes of screen time each time. After installing the iPad app (which will appear on your iPad as a WiFi Display), you still need to download and install the so-called Splashtop Streamer for your PC/laptop. This is a free download of 19.7 MB.

The Streamer software forces you to create and enter a security code. First in the software on your computer and then in the app on your iPad. The program forces you to be safe, because the code must be at least 8 characters and contain at least 1 number and 1 letter. So '12345678' or 'qwertyui' will be rejected.

Display Splashtop

Once the Splashtop Streamer and the app are connected, you can get started with two screens. Just tapping the screen of your iPad with three fingers brings up the configuration options. There you can set whether you want a sharper image or a faster image display. Opting for the latter produces an image on the Retina screen of an iPad Air that is somewhat blurred for ordinary text and therefore difficult to read.

Video, on the other hand, comes across quite well in that setting. Not HD-sharp, but fine for just viewing pleasure. Switching the display to sharper image improves the readability of text, but it remains less sharp than what you are used to from your iPad.

Splashtop Extended Wireless Display 2***

Price: € 4,99

Size: 5.8MB

The downside of Splashtop is that the Streamer software is a general program that also serves the other apps from this developer, including apps for companies to do remote management and even run virtual desktops. The Streamer therefore contains many more possibilities than what we discuss here. The presence of those features might make the interface a bit confusing for easy use as an extender.

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