With the release of macOS 10.14, Apple gave users a wonderful utility called “Sidecar”. It allows using any modern iPad as second monitor without the need to pay for third-party software which is usually quite expensive and not always reliable. Now macOS users can ditch apps like Duet and use native, OS-level utility instead. The thing is there are two problems with this method. First, not all Catalina-compatible devices support Sidecar (it is available only on Macs with Intel Core Skylake 6th gen CPUs and newer), and the second is that many users prefer Windows. Apple cannot make Sidecar available on Windows, but you still can use iPad as second monitor on Windows computer. This article will tell you how to do that.
Use iPad as Second Monitor for Free
Do you know what is the best thing about the method we going to use? It is completely free. No need to pay for a subscription or to pay at all. Zero. This wonderful tool, called Spacedesk, allows you to use an iPad as a second monitor for free.
For your information: in this article, we use an iPad as a reference client device, but Spacedesk capabilities are not limited to this device only. You can use Spacedesk client on both iPhone and iPad, Android or even Windows/macOS computer. There is even more! Any device with an HTML5-compatible browser can be used as a second monitor with Spacedesk, though the best quality is achieved with a native app only.
What do you need to use iPad as second screen on Windows PC for free? Very few things. In addition to a PC and a tablet itself, you need a server app and a client app. Both an iPad and a computer should be inside the same network. Do note that Wi-Fi quality directly affects screen image quality on your iPad.
- Go to Spacedesk’s official website and open the Downloads section. Depending on what operation system you use, select either Windows 10 or Windows 8.1/7. Make sure to use 64-bit or 32-bit. Do not mind the fact that the website says “Beta”. Both client and server work flawlessly.
- Run the file and install it. It makes literally a few clicks to do it, so there is no need to describe what is what. Just keep in mind that you need Administrator privileges to install the server app.
- Although not necessary, restart your PC to ensure the best compatibility. Spacedesk server app automatically puts itself into autorun directory, so the next time you boot your PC, it automatically starts and makes itself ready to use your iPad as a second monitor for Windows.
- Next, locate the Spacedesk icon in the system tray and double-click it. You need this to find your IPv4-address to connect an iPad to a computer. Write down the IP address of your current Internet adapter.
- Now, grab your iPad and go to App Store. Look for Spacedesk or simply use this link for iOS, this link for Android, this link for Windows and this link for basic HTML5 view. Do not mind an ugly icon and even uglier user interface – you need to look at them only when you connect your iPad to a PC.
- Run the app. If your iPad is in the same network as your primary PC with a server app installed, a computer will automatically appear in the list of available connections. All you need to do is tap it and wait for the connection to establish.
- If you do not see your PC in the list, click the plus icon in the top-right corner and enter your computer’s IP address manually.
You are almost done. At this point, an iPad works like a second monitor, but you still need to tweak some settings to get the best experience possible. By default, Spacedesk uses quite poor graphic settings, so you get blurred and gain low FPS picture. Here is how to improve it:
- Open the Spacedesk app on your device and click the cog icon down below the screen.
- On the Display tab, select Use native iOS device resolution. This option ensures the best picture quality on your iPad.
- Go to the Quality tab and slide Image Quality slider to the very right. Also, switch Color depth to High color quality and Custom FPS Rate to 60FPS.
- Go back to the main menu and try to reconnect to your PC. If you notice that the image is too laggy, go back to the settings and try to reduce image quality or FPS rate.
- There is one thing left to tweak inside the Windows. High resolution and relatively small screen of your iPad (comparing to a regular PC monitor) will make the UI ridiculously small. All you need to do to get rid of this is to tweak the display scale. Right-click on a desktop and select Display settings. Find the Scale and layout parameter and select 125% or higher. Of course, you can leave 100% if you like it.
- Also, do note, that Spacedesk uses your iPad’s touchscreen to control your PC. If you don’t like how it works, turn off touchscreen on the Touchscreen tab within the settings.
Done. Now your iPad is ready to work as a second monitor and boost your productivity.