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Steve in Kenosha, Wisconsin listens online and is calling in using the AskDave button on our site and asked: “I got an iPad for work and I want to use it as a third monitor on my desktop. I found some paid apps to do this, but I don’t want to pay for it. You guys are great at finding free stuff. If you can find me a free app to make my iPad a third monitor. It’ll be my third monitor. One will be Teams, one would be e-mail and one would be what I’m currently working on. I know it sounds like a lot, but I like to multitask.”
Steve, your options depend on your operating system.
If youre on a Mac, then the answer is simple. Apple introduced a functionality they named Sidecar back when they released macOS Catalina a few years ago.
Sidecar is free and it will allow you to use your iPad as a wireless external monitor.
Theres not much to it, youll just need to turn on WiFi, Bluetooth, and Handoff and you should be all set, all you have to do to use it is select it from the AirPlay menu at the top.
If youre on Windows or Linux there are plenty of options, but we only found one free one. Its called Splashtop Wired XDisplay, and its definitely rougher around the edges than most of the paid options but it should do the job.
Unlike Sidecar, Splashtop Wired XDisplay is wired – just as the name implies. It works via USB and its not as smooth as other paid solutions, but you can get the iPad and Windows apps for free, so if youre set on not paying for the functionality, it should work out for you. Just try to add a mostly static window to that screen so you dont have to constantly deal with lagging graphics. Paid solutions and Sidecar wont have that issue.
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