Using Your iPad as an Extended Monitor


Looking to use your iPad as a dual monitor / extended laptop screen? There are currently three apps that claim to do the following &  I put each through its paces and make a recommendation.

  • Use your iPad as a second monitor / dual display
  • Supports both landscape and portrait mode
  • Allows you to set your screen resolution
  • Works on either Macs or PCs

Each of these apps basically work in the same way. All three claim to extend your display when both your laptop and iPad are on the same WiFi network.  However, the difference between these apps becomes apparent  in execution.
Air Display vs iDisplay vs MaxiVista  using  Win7 64bit SP1 and first gen iPad w/ IOS 4.2.1

Air Display $9.99

iTunes Link
Air Display is my number one recommended app for extending your laptop screen.  It is the only app out of the three that would persist settings after a reboot.  It did not get hung up on my discrete video driver of my laptop and automatically set the performance mode to Aero off and integrated Intel display driver.  The (claimed) 50fps on the iPad did make for the most enjoyable, usable experience out of the three apps.  Of interest is to note this does not mean it is a TRUE extended desktop.  You can not run video on what is essentially a streaming wifi connection.  Attempting to play an h.264 video resulted in the error “Windows Media Player cannot play this file” as soon as the window is dragged over to the iPad screen.  More important is that this is the only app where I could even get that far into testing without beating my head against the wall!  When I tried playing a YouTube vidoe, it worked perfectly.  This is the only app I can recommend for running dual monitor using Windows 64 and iPad IOS 4.2.1.    Download and install the Windows client here.

MaxiVista $9.99

iTunes Link
MaxiVista works great the first boot.  Optimize button compresses the image for smoother screen viewing.  Of the three, this is the only one that doesn’t allow for touch input from the iPad itself.  A lot of my problems came from the fact that my laptop, Asus UL80VT, has dual monitor cards; an integrated Intel GX30, and a discrete nVidia GeForce G210M.  If I switched between the two, MaxiVista would error out with the message “MaxiVista could not find the driver. Please reboot PC to initialize driver”.  Switching back from discrete to integrated and rebooting did not fix the problem.  Everytime, I had to uninstall MaxiVista, reboot, reinstall, reboot, connect iPad.  ::PITA::

iDisplay $4.99

iTunes Link
iDisplay worked great on first boot.  Again, it got severely confused when rebooting (even without switching between integrated and discrete graphics).  The performance was ok, when it worked.  iDisplay would radomly change to Aero basic (which it should) but then also change the resolution to 800×600?  What is the point in increasing my screen real-estate  if it has to be halved first!  Then again, I could never get it to work after it hung on shutdown and I switched laptop display drivers between battery and performance mode.

Recomendation: Air Display


Air Display Driver Compatibility

  • MAC OS X: Air Display requires 10.5.8 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later, on an Intel CPU. Both 32-Bit & 64-Bit systems are supported. We recommend 10.6.5 or later.
  • WINDOWS: Air Display requires Windows XP (32-bit only), or Vista or 7 (32-bit or 64-bit). Windows 7 Starter edition is not supported.
  • NETWORK: In order for Air Display to work your computer and iOS device must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • iPHONE 4: Please note that this version does not shrink the computer pixels down to native-sized Retina pixels. This may change in a future update.

Official Air Display Website by Avatron Software