Splashtop XDisplay iPad Second Screen AppOne of the ways that you can be more effective and efficient with your work is to run a dual monitor setup for your computer, but you may not necessarily want to have two full-sized LCD monitors sitting on your desk. This isn’t exactly practical when you are traveling either, so what is the smart way around this? If you already have an iPad, you already have a second screen for your computer.

In fact, there are several apps that let you use your iPad as second screen on your PC, extending or mirroring your desktop just like you would be able to do with a true-to-life extra monitor. While you will likely still want to keep your primary tasks on the main screen of your Mac or Windows PC, having the iPad serve as an extension of your desktop can be handy for secondary tasks like social media and email. It’d be good for videos too, giving you an interesting way to get around that “no Flash on iPad” restriction.

Splashtop XDisplay

iTunes Store Link: Free

While Splashtop XDisplay is listed as “free” in the iTunes Store, that only lasts for ten minutes at a time. If you want to extend your desktop using this app in any kind of real capacity, you’ll need to upgrade to the $4.99 paid version. In order for this to work, you’ll also need to download the latest Splashtop Streamer program for your computer, but that’s a free download. As long as the two devices — your iPad and your computer — are on the same Wi-Fi network, you’re ready to roll. This includes full audio and video support, touchscreen gestures like pinch-to-zoom, virtual on-screen keyboard support, and automatic landscape, and portrait orientation when the iPad is turned.

Air Display for iPad

iTunes Store Link: $9.99

Working with both Windows and Mac computers, Air Display not only allows you to use an iPad as a second screen on your PC, but it’s also compatible with the smaller displays of the iPhone and iPod touch. Those secondary displays might not be nearly as useful as the larger iPad, but it’s good to know that you have that option available to you. Remember that this app isn’t just a desktop screen extender, because the touchscreen still works. This is great for image editing or painting tools, for example, as well as various multimedia programs that you may use. As with Splashtop XDisplay, both the PC and the iPad have to be on the same Wi-Fi network for Air Display to work.

MaxiVista iPad Second Screen App

iTunes Store Link: $9.99

MaxiVista is one of the simpler solutions out there, because there’s very little in terms of configuration. While the other apps typically get you to “find” and “choose” which device to pair with which computer, this process is automatic with MaxiVista. The app simply seeks out a PC running the compatible software on the same Wi-Fi network and then it automatically pairs and starts working. This is normally fine for a home network, but could prove problematic in a work environment with multiple iPads and multiple PCs running on the same network. Thankfully, you’re able to set the IP manually to override this.

DisplayLink Software

iTunes Store Link: Free

DisplayLink is one of the most respected brands in the industry when it comes to powering secondary displays. There are several USB monitors, for example, that use DisplayLink technology. They’ve taken this same level of expertise and quality to let you use your iPad as a second screen on your PC too. It only supports Windows PCs, though, so all the Mac users in the audience are out of luck. There’s support for Windows 7 Aero mode and your iPad shows up as if it’s a regular second monitor in the Windows utility. You just have to make sure the DisplayLink software is actively running (and up to date) on the host computer. They recommend you use it for office and productivity applications and not for gaming or video playback.

Image credit: Splashtop / iTunes