If you are a graphic designer, serious gamer or just like to have more real estate when it comes to your computer’s desktop, extended display shouldn’t be a new concept for you. With the kind of specs on offer in laptops and notebooks these days, the practice of extending the display to external monitors has become quite common. However, if you’d rather not spend all that extra cash on a new monitor, you could use your iPad as one. Air Display is an app that can turn your iOS tablet into an extra monitor for your PC or Mac, and the best part is that you don’t have to rely on cables. Air Display works over Wi-Fi, and comes with full touch-based controls and a thorough on-screen keyboard of its own!
To help you set everything up, the Air Display iPad app starts with a tutorial. Select your desktop platform from the upper-right corner to view relevant instructions. The first step is to download and install the Air Display server on your computer. Head to the Avatron download section to grab the free desktop companion for the app. The server works with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and OS X.
Run the downloaded setup, and just follow the onscreen instructions. You might have to restart your computer to make everything work properly.
To get started, make sure your iPad and computer are both on the same Wi-Fi network. Next, hit the Air Display icon in the system tray of your PC (or Mac menu bar) and choose the tablet’s name from the server’s device list. If, for some reason, your iPad doesn’t show up automatically, click “Other” and enter the IP address displayed on the iPad app’s instructions screen.
Once the connection has been established, your iPad will become your computer’s extended display. You can move the mouse pointer by swiping across the screen, but to avoid confusion, it is better if you use the actual mouse to drag windows onto the ‘iPad part’ of your computer’s display.
The app is intelligent enough to adjust windows and icons automatically when you change the orientation of the iPad.
The right-click context menu can be called by long-pressing anywhere on the screen. While gestures act as a nice replacement for the mouse, the app offers a capable keyboard as well, which can be opened by hitting the icon located at the bottom of the screen. The keyboard sports all function keys, navigation and OS-specific control keys.
Air Display is far from perfect, and during our little test run, it seemed a bit too slow to react to touch at times. Other than that, there isn’t much to complain about. The app has a paid version ($9.99), but the ad-supported, free variant has all the same features and works equally effectively.