Make your tablet work double duty as a second PC display

There comes a time in every computer user’s life when one screen just isn’t enough. While you could solve that problem by purchasing a second monitor, there’s a good chance you already have a spare tablet lying around, or you might want to get a tablet because of the versatility.

If you go down that route, here’s how to use a tablet wirelessly as a second screen.

An iPad can easily become a second screen (and a touchpad) for Mac laptops and computers.

An iPad can easily become a second screen (and a touchpad) for Mac laptops and computers.

To begin with, both your computer and tablet will need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If you’re an all-Apple user your Mac will need to be newer than 2016, running Catalina or later, and your iPad will need at least iOS 13. Both will need to be signed into iCloud using the same Apple ID and two-factor authentication.

In Mac OS Big Sur you go to the Display menu in Control Centre and select your iPad from the connection menu. You can also go to Apple Menu > System Preferences and then Sidecar and select your iPad from there. Bada bing, bada boom, you’re using your iPad as a second screen.

Using a Windows device as a wireless display for another Windows PC is just as easy, provided they’re both on Windows 10, so for example you could use a Surface Pro as a second screen for your desktop. On the device you want to use as a screen, go to Settings > System > Projecting to this PC and then select “Available everywhere” in the top drop-down menu. Then, on your desktop keyboard, press Windows + P. Select ‘connect to a wireless display’, and the name of your other device should appear.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7 can also connect to Windows as a second screen, you just need to hit the toggle in its quick settings. To connect an iPad to Windows or an Android tablet to Mac you’ll need to install a third-party app like Spacedesk or Slashtop, although some require a USB connection.

If you’re going to rely on your tablet as a second screen, I strongly recommend keeping it connected to power, either using its regular charger or one of those big 10,000mAh portable battery packs. It’s also a good idea to get a good case and/or stand, because propping it up on random objects only works for so long. Trust me.

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