How to Use an iPhone as a Second Monitor

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Matthew M. White
@matthewmwhite
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Whether you use your PC for work, gaming, or other types of entertainment, your screen is probably enough. And while a second monitor would make your life easier, you don't want to spend money on an extra screen. However, there is a practical solution if you have an iPhone.

You can connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac and use it in two ways: either to display different content than your main monitor or to mirror the content. This article will explain how to achieve both of these options.



How to Use an iPhone as a Second Monitor with a Mac

There are a few options for making your iPhone a second screen for your Mac. However, you need to decide which option would be best for you based on your needs. Either way, you'll need to install an app on your phone and Mac. Check out some of the available options below.

Duo Display ou iDisplay

Both apps will do the job and let you use your screen as a separate monitor or as a mirroring monitor. You'll need a USB to plug your iPhone into your Mac or have your iPhone and Mac connected to the same Wi-Fi network to use either. The iDisplay is $14,99 at the time of writing, while the Dual Display app is $19,99 for the full package.

To get started, you need to decide whether you want to use Dual Display or iDisplay and download the appropriate app on your iPhone.

Next, you'll need to get the desktop version of the app you've chosen. Go to their respective website and click on the “MacOS” button to download the correct version and pay the required fee. On the Duet Display website, you can choose between the basic and full plan or a seven-day free trial. Once the download is complete, run the .exe file and follow the installation steps.



Now that everything is ready, the next steps are:

  1. Open the app on your iPhone.
  2. Plug in your iPhone via USB or connect it to the same Wi-Fi.
  3. Run the program on your Mac.
  4. Right click on your desktop.
  5. Select "Display Settings".
  6. You will see two monitors; the second is your iPhone. Here you can select what you want to project on which screen.
  7. In the program or app, select the setting for your two monitors.

Aerial display

Similar to the previous two apps, Aerial View gives you the option to add your iPhone as a second monitor. You will only need the devices to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The app costs $19,99 at the time of writing.

If you want to try Air Display, you need to download the desktop client first. To do this, download the app from the Mac App Store and follow the installation instructions.

Once you have the desktop version of the app, you need to download the app from the App Store to your iPhone and make sure that both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi. Then you can proceed as follows:

  1. Run apps on both devices.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to make sure the devices are connected.
  3. From here, you can configure your preferences on both devices, such as high resolution.
  4. You can adjust what will be displayed on your main screen by opening the "Arrangements" tab or enabling the "Mirroring" option to have your iPhone mirror your main screen.

VNC

If you just want to mirror your main screen and don't want to pay top dollar, the VNC app might be the perfect solution for you. It's completely free and does just that – it mirrors your main screen to your added iPhone screen. Moreover, it will allow you to control your main screen remotely from your iPhone. To use this application, follow the steps below:



  1. Download the Desktop client from the official website.
  2. Download the client for your phone – Moka VNC Lite is free, but different ones are available.
  3. Run both clients on both devices.
  4. Configure according to your preferences.

How to Use an iPhone as a Second Monitor with a Windows PC

All the apps we mentioned have a Windows version as well. Depending on your needs, budget and preferences, you can choose between Duet Display, iDisplay Air Display or VNC. You will also need a USB cable or connected to the same Wi-Fi connection to use the apps.

The steps are also very similar to connecting your iPhone to a Mac as a second display.

  1. Download the desktop client for the application of your choice; be sure to select the Windows version.
  2. Download the app to your iPhone from the App Store.
  3. Connect your iPhone to your PC via USB cable or connect to the same Wi-Fi network.
  4. Run both apps on both devices to connect them.
  5. Right-click on your desktop screen.
  6. Go to “Display Settings”.
  7. Scroll down the page until you see "Multiple displays".
  8. Change the settings to "Extended Display".
  9. Validate by clicking on “Save changes”.

Although using Mac with an iPhone allows you to have the highest resolution settings on iPhones with Retina displays (HiDPI), the Windows version of some apps does not support high resolution mode. This is supposed to change in future updates.



Additional FAQ

What are the compatibility requirements for desktop clients on Windows?

Most of the apps mentioned are compatible with Windows 8.1 or later. If you want to use an application on an older version of Windows, you can download older client versions. But keep in mind that these versions are no longer updated.

Can I add multiple additional monitors at once?

Yes. Most apps allow you to add multiple devices for an additional monitor.

I can see my wallpaper, but I can't see any of my program icons?

You haven't done anything wrong and are probably in "Extra Monitor" mode. You can now drag icons, windows, or resize windows to display them on your additional monitor.

To sum it all up

Using your iPhone as another monitor can take some work, but with the right app, it's easier to manage. Even if you choose to use the most expensive app listed, it's probably cheaper than buying a new screen. Plus, it will save you time and finish the job as efficiently as having a second monitor.

Do you think two screens will make you more efficient? Which app mentioned would you recommend? Have you had personal experience with any of these apps? Let us know in the comment section below.

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