4 Ways To Use The iPad To Enhance The Use Of Your Personal Computer

Jeffry Thurana 01-09-2011

use ipad computerMany people separate the personal computer and the iPad into two different worlds – the PC is for work and the iPad is for fun. But I think both devices don’t have to be on opposite sides. They can work together harmoniously. If you want to use your iPad alongside your PC, here are four ways to use the iPad to enhance the use of your personal computer.


There’s An App For That

All the methods described below are possible because of the availability of supporting apps. You’ll need two components to make the system work – the iOS app and the desktop app. All the desktop apps are available in both Windows and Mac versions, and all apps are free unless mentioned otherwise.

1. As A Second Display

What makes the iPad different from the personal computer is the size factor. Since the iPad is a big touchscreen display, why not use it to extend your personal computer’s display? Air Display can help you to utilize the iPad to be a second monitor.

Even though Air Display’s desktop app is free, the iOS app is not. The price tag is US$ 9.99, but I think it worth every penny. After installing both components, you can connect the two devices using WiFi and your iPad will be magically transformed into a second monitor.

use ipad computer

You can use the second monitor to mirror the first, or as additional screen real estate. If you choose the second option, you can easily move any open window from your computer screen to the iPad screen by dragging and dropping.


2. As An External Drawing Board

Some digital graphic artists rely on their digital drawing pad to produce their work. If you are one of them, or if you plan to buy a digital drawing pad, you can try to use your iPad as a substitute. There are lots of great drawing apps for the iPad that you can choose, such as Brushes, Procreate Spoil The Digital Artist In You With Procreate For iPad [Giveaway] Read More , Sketchbook Express SketchBook Express - The Last Drawing App You Will Ever Need [iPad] When I first got my iPad, I knew I wanted to use it for drawing and sketching. Not that I’m an artist by any means, I can barely draw a stick figure, but when you... Read More and Pro, Adobe Ideas, etc.

But if you want to use a collaborative drawing board, where several people can draw on the same digital board simultaneously, you can try WhiteBoard. The lite version is free, while the pro version is US$ 2.99.

3. As An External Trackpad

Why not use the iPad as an external tracking device to work with your computer? HippoRemote is one of the many apps that will allow you to do so. Other than transforming your iOS into a trackpad, the app can also mimic a full keyboard. The lite version of the app is free while the pro will set you back US$ 4.99.

use ipad computer monitor


If you are a Mac OS X user, you can use the app to do multi-touch gestures. You can also use it to remotely control your presentation or your computer media player.

4. As A Gate To Access A Remote Computer

This one might be the most obvious use of an iPad in its relationship with the personal computer. But I won’t talk too much about this topic as there are already several discussions about it, including The 7 Best Free Remote Control Apps for the iPhone The 7 Best Free Remote Control Apps for the iPhone Read More , The Best Free Remote Desktop Apps for Your iPad The Best Free Remote Desktop Apps for Your iPad If like me, you often find yourself in the position of official technical support for your family and friends, you'll know oh too well the pain of trying to explain something over the phone. The... Read More , and Access Your Computer From Anywhere on Your iPad Access Your Computer From Anywhere on Your iPad Read More .

Creating A Wireless Network

All the apps mentioned above require both devices – the personal computer and the iPad – to be connected to the same wireless network. But if your wireless arrangement doesn’t work, you could try to create a computer-to-computer network from your computer’s wireless settings and preferences. Then you can set your iPad to connect to that direct connection.

use ipad computer


In my experiment, I found that all the apps worked better using a direct “computer – iPad” connection rather than using a home network.

What do you think about using the iPad to enhance the use of a personal computer? Do you have other usage ideas? Please share them using the comments below. And don’t forget to check out our collection of the best iPad apps.

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  1. Brandon Brown
    September 28, 2011 at 1:45 am

    It would be awesome to see an Android tablet version of this post :) Just sayin...

    • A Teacher
      September 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      That would be awesome... if any of them worked half as good as the iOS apps :)

  2. TabgripforIpad
    September 13, 2011 at 3:18 am

    Ipads are great for remote computer access. It's amazing how everything seems to be connected, and ease of use and convenience have been token keywords.

  3. Robin
    September 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I am a teacher and I think I understand what you are saying but if you could clarify....If my computer is hooked up to a white board there is an app that would allow me to mimic my computer screen on my ipad.  So therefore I wouldn't have to be tied to the whiteboard in the front of the class using the pen-I could walk around and change things by using the ipad? Like wise can I project my ipad on to my computer so you could see it on the white board. I now there are ways to connect the ipad to a projector but I don't want to be tied to cables.  Any help would be appreciated. 

    • Jeffry Thurana
      September 6, 2011 at 3:46 am

      To wirelessly project your iPad to the board/wall/screen, you should connect your computer to the projector and create a wireless connection between your computer and your iPad. Then you can use WhiteBoard (app) to mimic the drawing on your iPad on your computer screen, the drawing will automatically be projected to the board/wall/screen. I'm sure there are other apps that can also mimic iPad screen on computer screen like WhiteBoard. All that you have to do is take a short trip to the app store and/or search engine and do a quick search.

  4. jrb
    September 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    this page definitely needs more ads and more social network tracking iframes. 

    • Tina
      September 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, jrb.