Whether you’re coding, designing, or multitasking across various applications, having an extra monitor can significantly boost your productivity. However, there’s no need to rush out and buy a new screen when you might already have the perfect solution at hand. Your MacBook, iPad, iMac or even your Android smartphone or iPhone can be transformed into a seamless extension of your Windows PC, providing you that much-needed additional workspace. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of using these devices into a second monitor for your Windows PC.
Before jumping into the specifics of how to use your device as a secondary monitor, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to get started:
- Windows PC: Ensure your desktop or laptop computer is running Windows 11 or Windows 10 for optimal compatibility. Updated graphics drivers can also help make the process smoother.
- Secondary device: This can be a MacBook, iMac, iPad, iPhone, Chromebook, another Windows or Linux laptop, or an Android tablet or smartphone. Note that the device should be relatively modern to ensure the optimal performance and compatibility.
- Reliable network connection: Both your Windows PC and secondary device should be connected to the same local network, be it wired or wireless. The connections should be as stable and fast as possible.
- Software solutions: We’ll be using software to bridge the connection between the extra device and the Windows computer. One popular choice is “Space Desk”. We’ll delve into these in detail below.
Now, with these prerequisites in place, let’s explore the step-by-step instructions to turn your device into a secondary monitor for your Windows computer.
Useful tip: How to Switch Between Monitors on Windows 11
How to use a MacBook, iPad, or any device as a second monitor for a Windows PC
Using a MacBook, iMac, iPad or any other device as a second monitor for a Windows PC using “Space Desk” would involve installing the “Server” on the Windows computer and the “Viewer” on the secondary device. Here’s a breakdown of the procedure:
Setting up “Space Desk” on your Windows laptop or desktop PC
To harness the full potential of Space Desk and extend your Windows screen, you’ll first need to get the server software up and running on your PC. Follow the steps below to set up the server software:
- Download the software
- Go to the official “Space Desk” website at
- Navigate to the “Downloads” section and select the version suitable for your Windows computer (either 32-bit or 64-bit).
- Once downloaded, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Go to the official “Space Desk” website at
- Adjust settings
- After installation, click on the “Space Desk” icon in the system tray.
- Ensure the “Space Desk SERVER” is set to “ON”. This allows your secondary device to detect the Windows computer as the second display.
Related resource: Windows 11 Different Wallpaper on Each Monitor
Configuring your device as the second monitor for your Windows computer
With the server side of things sorted on your Windows PC, it’s time to prepare your secondary device to receive the extended display. Here’s how you can configure your secondary device to act as the extended monitor:
- Download the viewer
- On the device that you want to use as second monitor, head to the Space Desk website again, but this time navigate to the “Viewer” section.
- Download the viewer appropriate for your device’s operating system.
- For iOS devices like iPhone or iPad, install spacedesk app from the Apple App Store.
- For Android tablet or smartphone, install spacedesk from Google Play.
- For any other devices, open a web browser and select “Go to HTML5 Viewer page”.
- Connect the devices
- Launch the “Space Desk Viewer” app on your device.
- Ensure both the device and your Windows computer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
- In the viewer, your Windows computer’s local IP address should appear in the list of available displays. Click on your Windows computer’s name to initiate the connection.
- If using the HTML5 Space Desk Viewer in a browser, you might need to input your Windows PC’s IP address manually. Learn more: How to Check IP Address in Windows 11.
Your devices should now be linked. On your secondary device, be it a MacBook, iPad, or any other, the display you see is an extension of your Windows PC. Move your mouse to the boundaries of your main Windows screen, and you’ll notice the cursor seamlessly transition to the extended display on your secondary device.
Tip: Arrange the monitor positions in Windows 11/10
After connecting your secondary device as a monitor, it’s essential to arrange its position relative to your primary display to ensure a fluid and intuitive experience when transitioning between screens. Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieve this on Windows 11:
- Right-click on an empty space on your Windows desktop.
- Select “Display settings” from the context menu that appears.
- Once in the Display settings, scroll down to find the “Multiple displays” section.
- Here, you will see a graphical representation of all connected displays, labeled with numbers.
- Click on the numbered box representing your secondary device (it may be “2” if it’s the only additional screen).
- Drag it to position it as you want it to be relative to your primary display (represented typically as “1”). For instance, if your secondary monitor is physically positioned to the left of your main display, drag the box to the left of the “1” box.
- You can also arrange it above, below, or even diagonally relative to the primary display, based on your actual setup.
- To ensure the arrangement works as intended, move your mouse cursor between the primary and secondary displays. The cursor should transition seamlessly from one screen to the next according to the arrangement you set.
- Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, scroll down and click on the “Apply” button.
Relevant guide: How to Display Different Things on Two Monitors in Windows 11
Understanding how Space Desk extends your display
Turning your MacBook, iMac, iPad, or any device into a second screen for your Windows PC might seem like magic, but the underlying mechanics are grounded in technology and software efficiency. Let’s break down how the entire process works:
- Windows PC as “Space Desk SERVER”: When the “Space Desk” software is installed and running on your Windows computer, the computer is essentially set to receive a display signal. It acts as a “server,” waiting for a “viewer” or a device to project its screen onto the PC.
- Mac or iPad as the “Viewer”: On the secondary device side, when you install and run the “Space Desk Viewer,” it searches for available “servers” or secondary screens on the same network. Once it identifies and connects the Windows PC (with the “Space Desk” server running), it can seamlessly receive, decode, and display the visual data streamed from the Windows machine, effectively turning the device into an extended or mirrored display for the Windows PC.
- Result – extended display: When the connection is made between the two, your Windows PC’s screen is extended onto the secondary device, effectively using the device’s display as a secondary monitor.
This method essentially allows you to drag windows or applications from your Windows computer’s primary screen over to the screen of your MacBook, iPad or whichever device you’ve set up as the second display, just like you would with a traditional dual-monitor setup.
If you want a more direct hardware-based solution, such as through HDMI or other cables, that’s a different approach and is a bit trickier to accomplish between a Mac and a Windows computer due to differing protocols and hardware limitations. The “Space Desk” method is a software-based solution, which is generally more versatile and user-friendly.
Many of us have spare devices lying around, from old MacBook or iMac to unused iPad. Instead of letting them gather dust, it’s a brilliant idea to harness their potential by turning them into a second monitor for your primary Windows PC. Not only does this give your old devices a renewed purpose, but it also enhances your workspace, making multitasking a breeze. With tools like Space Desk, the transformation is both simple and efficient. So, before you think of purchasing a new external monitor, remember that the perfect solution might just be resting in your drawer.