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Four Apps that Make Your Tablet a Second Monitor

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We have examined the tangible productivity gains from a dual monitor setup, and offered guidance about deploying one at your desk. There are ways you can work your tablet into the mix as well. We already frequently use tablets for productivity, so why not make them extensions of our computer workstations? For this Over Easy article, we combine those two ideas and provide several methods for using an Android or iPad tablet as a second monitor. No hacking, jailbreaking, or unlocking of your tablet required.

Before you set up your tablet for use as a second monitor, we recommend you put it in a tablet case or stand. Otherwise, it may be difficult to orient the laptop vertically.

Your tablet can be connected as a second monitor via two methods: Wi-Fi or USB. Wi-Fi adds in a small degree of lag, and external factors such as coverage and interference can affect performance. A USB connection will not be affected by those performance issues. Whichever method best suits your needs, you will find the solution in one of the four apps below.

iDisplay

Android, iOS

One of the most popular apps for setting up multiple monitors, iDisplay allows you to connect your tablet to your computer over either USB or Wi-Fi. Should you choose to connect via Wi-Fi, you will be required to install a program on your desktop or laptop computer. Once you have installed the app on the tablet and computer, follow the onscreen instructions to begin. After you successfully connect your tablet, you can adjust screen resolution and screen position.

TwomonUSB

Android, iOS

A popular choice for those connecting their tablets as second monitors via USB. Setting up TwomonUSB also requires you to install a desktop version of the application on your PC. Fully supports Windows-based computers while OSX is not listed as support. However, some users report TwomonUSB as working with OSX.

Splashtop

Android, iOS, Windows Surface

One of the few tablet-as-second monitor apps available for all three platforms, but has a subscription model that may turn some people away. It allows for connection over Wi-Fi and over mobile network, should your tablet support it. Like the other apps, Splashtop requires you to install an app on the desktop or laptop.

Air Display

Android, iOS

Takes advantage of your Wi-Fi network to create a connection between your tablet and computer, so it may be affected by external factors such as Wi-Fi coverage and interference. However, Air Display allows you to use your tablet as a secondary input device. For design and digital media professionals, Air Display can turn your tablet into a graphics tablet. Similar to the other solutions above, Air Display requires you to install a host application on the computer.

All of the solutions above will enable you to use your tablet as a secondary display, but we highly recommend you choose one that works via USB. Unless you use the as a remote screen away from your computer, a lag-free connection is ideal.

Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns, taken from Flickr Creative Commons
Summary
Article Name
How to Use Your Tablet as a Second Monitor
Description
A tablet as a second monitor is a great solution if you need another screen for your desktop and are out of video connections. Learn more at HardBoiled.
Author
Adam Lovinus

Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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