I See Your iPad and Raise You One: The Dual Monitor Conundrum

iPad as a second monitor

iPad as a second monitorThe Dual Monitor Conundrum

Did you know you can use your iPad as a dual monitor?

In my office, I use not just one, but THREE monitors. I frequently need to pull information from one program and move it into another. When I reconcile bank accounts, I like to use my bank’s activity screen, or Hubdoc.com for reference. When I screen share with my client, one screen holds shared content, and I show our video feed on my laptop so I can look my client in the eye. My third monitor holds my calendar, contacts, and email.

My husband laughs at me for having 15 apps open simultaneously, but I use them all day long. Two monitors just weren’t enough anymore.

The problem is when I travel. I’m completely constrained by my sole laptop screen. If I’m giving a workshop, how do I read my notes since I’m projecting my screen up for all to see? When I’m reconciling my bank account, what’s an easy way to also see the PDF?

I finally found the perfect answer: use my iPad as a second monitor!


iPad Mirroring Apps

There are several apps that will extend your screen to your iPad.

My favorite app for turning my iPad into a second monitor is AirDisplay, available for Mac on the iOS App Store. I downloaded the app onto my iPad, and visited getairdisplay.com to download the software to my computer. Once you install both devices, make sure they’re on the same wireless network.

From there, AirDisplay works with AirPlay, the tool you use to send video to your TV or music to your speakers. Tap the AirPlay button in your control center, and you’ll see your iPad waiting to connect.

Use the settings to move the iPad to the left or right side of your computer. Slide the programs you want off your main screen and onto your iPad. An added bonus is that you now have a touch screen computer, although you may find some text quite small.

One of my clients watched me do this while setting up his QuickBooks Online, and told his IT guy about it. The IT guy then called me to find out how I did it. I love it when I get to introduce slick tricks to the pros!

A second option is Duet. It works much like AirDisplay, although you have to plug your iPad into your computer. The Pro version unlocks tools for the Apple Pencil, including pressure and tilt sensitivity, so you can draw in your Apple Desktop apps. This is great news for artists and editors.

If you’re on a Mac running Parallels, check out Parallels Access. In addition to moving some open windows onto your iPad, it also gives you the ability to remote in to your computer from anywhere. The monthly subscription for this access is $19.99 a year for up to 5 computers.


iPhone iPad projected to computer

Projecting Your iPad

Now let’s go the other way. I teach classes about using iPhones and iPads, and give keynote presentations showing off amazing business productivity apps. PowerPoint would work, but then I can’t show, just tell. I would rather demonstrate, so I project my iPhone or iPad onto the screen for all to see.

I also love to document iPhone features for articles like this one, and I need to capture the screen for illustration. Of course, I can just press the Home and Off buttons to take a picture of the screen. But as a trainer, I find it helps the reader understand when they see the whole phone.

My go-to app in both these cases is AirParrot’s Reflector 2, which is available for both Mac and PC for $14.99. I have it installed on my laptop. When it’s running, my computer shows up on my iPad’s AirPlay list. When I tap on it, a picture of my iPad or iPhone shows up in the center of my laptop.

Everything I do on my device shows up in real-time on my screen: I take screen captures of the image for documentation. I project it during workshops to train my audience.

I can even choose whether or not to show a black or white iPad frame, or none at all!

The only drawback is that some corporate wireless networks are locked down for this type of peer-to-peer networking. You just won’t be able to make the connection work. If that’s the case, there’s a solution, but it requires having both an iPad AND an iPhone with you. Turn on your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot, and connect both your iPad and laptop to the iPhone instead of the wifi.



Since you spent hundreds of dollars on your iPad already, using it to extend your monitor is great for occasional need without investing in extra monitors.

And if you have the need to show people what you are doing on your device, the wow-factor here is huge when you project your device onto your screen. Every time I teach an iPhone apps class, someone in the audience invites me to repeat the presentation for their employees or another networking group.

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