How to Use an iPad as a Second Monitor

With the release of macOS Catalina came a feature called Sidecar. Thanks to this feature, you can transform your iPad into a second monitor, and it isn’t difficult at all. The downside is that certain devices, such as older Macs and iPads, or a Windows PC, aren’t compatible with Sidecar. Fortunately, there are a number of third-party apps out there that can fix this problem. Of course, if you do have a recent Mac or iPad, feel free to give it a try. Just note that your model would need to be no more than three or four years old.

So, whether you’re looking to enjoy Netflix on your second monitor while working away, or you want to glance at the latest Manchester United news, multiple monitors provide the perfect solution. Before exploring other options, let’s begin by looking at how to use your iPad as a second monitor with Sidecar.


To use your Mac and iPad using Sidecar, follow these steps. You can use the app wirelessly, but if you want your iPad charging, link it up with your Mac.

  • If you’re a Catalina user, go to the menu bar and click on the AirPlay icon, then choose iPad.
  • If you’re a macOS Big Sur user, go to either the menu bar or Control Centre and select the Display menu, then choose iPad.
  • Your iPad is the default extension of your Mac desktop.
  • For your iPad to show the content on your Mac, revisit the AirPlay or Display menu while using Sidecar. Select the option you want to display the content on your Mac.
  • If you’re a Catalina user and you’re ready to end the session, revisit the Airplay menu and select the disconnect option.
  • If you’re a Big Sur user and you’re ready to end the session, revisit the menu bar or Display menu in Control Centre, and elect your iPad to disconnect.

Duet Display (MacOS, Windows)

Duet Display costs $10 in the App Store and provides a way for those with older Macs or Windows 10 to take advantage of multiple monitors. If you regularly travel with an iPad and a laptop in your backpack, this could be a useful purchase for you.

There’s also an option to upgrade if you like the idea of premium features. The upgraded version- Duet Air- offers monthly upgrades and updates, priority customer support, Remote Desktop connectivity, and wireless display connectivity. Then there’s Duet Pro, which unlocks even more features. The annual cost of the two upgrades is $20 and $30, respectively. You can see the differences between Duet Display, Duet Air, and Duet Pro right here.

Duet Display requires the app, wired connection, and free desktop software. With both pieces of software running, you can connect the iPad, and you’ll see your computer’s screen mirrored on the smaller device. Of all apps and computing accessories you can buy, Duet Display ranks right up there.

Splashtop Wired XDisplay (MacOS, Windows)

This is another nice way of using an iPad as a second monitor for users of older Macs and Windows 10. It might not even be close to Duet Display when it comes to stability, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is always a nice advantage. While you’d be wise to invest in Duet Display for the low cost, this would be a nice way to go if you can’t afford to pay right now.

This particular method requires an app for your iPod, Apple iTunes, and Splashtop’s desktop agent. Once you have all three of these, connect your iPad to your computer, make sure the desktop app is running, and open the XDisplay app on your iPad.

You’ll notice that your iPad will display a blank desktop. You’re then free to drag windows over to your iPad, rearrange monitors from your computer’s display settings, and use your iPad as a second monitor.

Wrap Up

No matter which method you choose, you’ll find that it provides an effective solution for you to make use of multiple monitors. If you’re looking for more flexibility, you can also choose from one of the best buy portable monitors available. But then, that’s another article in itself.