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Turn your iPad into a second monitor for free

by Doug Drinkwater

January 23 2013

Okay, so you want to expand your real screen estate but don’t have the money for a second monitor. Why not instead use your iPad as a second monitor with one of these free iPad apps?


Splashtop has a collection of second screen tablet apps, but its free SplashtopXD more than does the job for those not bothered by having such features as remotely wiping the screen.

Setting up the application is relatively simple; users need to download both the app and the Splashtop Streamer PC software for the two to communicate with each other.

The app should recognize your PC on opening and after setting a password, you’ll have options to tweak and improve video, audio or bring up the virtual keyboard. The app also offers up hints and tips, but these can be turned off if you wish.

(See also The Best 100 iPad apps)

In terms of performance, there is not much between Splashtop XD and others second screen iPad apps like DisplayLink, although we did find that Splashtop XD occasionally lagged when moving the cursor on a web page.

AirDisplay Free

AirDisplay Free is similar to the paid-for AirDisplay iPad app, but does compensate for being free by featuring a number of ads on the second screen.

On installing the desktop client (from and the iPad app, we found AirDisplay to be OK if slightly fiddly.

Sharing between PC and iPad is not as fluid as it could be and resizing file windows is made difficult by the banner ad (which cannot be moved) at the top of the screen, and the keyboard option at the bottom.

(For more iPad tips and apps, sign up for the free TabTimes for iPad newsletter.)

Nonetheless, it is functional and does support AirSharing with other iOS users and PrintSharing with compatible AirPrint printers. The display arrangement can support the option to run Retina resolution when available.

Doug Drinkwater is the International Editor of TabTimes and is based in London, England.
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