How to Use an iPhone as a Secondary External Monitor Screen

Using an iPhone as a secondary monitor can help boost your productivity by giving you an additional screen to extend your workspace. Whether you want to free up some space on your main display or use the iPhone screen just for secondary tasks, there are several ways to set it up.

Benefits of Using an iPhone as a Second Monitor

Here are some of the benefits of using an iPhone as an external monitor:

  • Increased productivity – Having a second screen allows you to multitask more efficiently, with different apps and windows open on each display.
  • Portability – Since it uses your iPhone, you can easily take your extra monitor setup on the go.
  • Cost-saving – You don’t need to buy an additional desktop monitor.
  • Touchscreen capabilities – You can directly interact with the iPhone screen using touch gestures.
  • Extra real estate – Add more screen space for all your open apps and windows.

Ways to Connect an iPhone as a Secondary Display

There are a few options available to set up your iPhone as an extended display or mirrored monitor. Here are some of the best methods:

Using Third-Party Apps

  • Duet Display – This popular app lets you use the iPhone screen as a secondary display via cable or wireless connectivity. It works with both macOS and Windows.
  • Air Display – Another good app that uses Wi-Fi to connect your iPhone as a wireless monitor. It costs $9.99.
  • Splashtop XDisplay – Splashtop can transform your iPhone into a wired or wireless extended monitor for free.

Built-in Sidecar Feature (Mac Only)

  • Sidecar is an Apple Continuity feature that allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as a secondary display for your Mac without any additional software. You can access it right from your Mac’s menu bar.

Using Adapters or Cables

  • You can connect your iPhone to a computer monitor, TV, or projector using Lightning Digital AV adapters, Lightning to VGA adapters, or Lightning to USB-C cables. This mirrors the iPhone screen onto the external display.

Step-by-Step Guide to Setup

Follow these steps to start using your iPhone as a secondary monitor:

Using Third-Party Apps

  1. Install the app – Download the app such as Duet Display on both your computer and iPhone.
  2. Connect iPhone – Connect via cable for lag-free performance or Wi-Fi for wireless convenience.
  3. Launch the apps – Open the app on both devices to detect the connection.
  4. Configure display arrangement – Choose to mirror or extend your primary display onto the iPhone screen.

Using Sidecar (Mac Only)

  1. Turn on Continuity – Ensure both devices have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff enabled.
  2. Open Sidecar – Go to your Mac’s menu bar and select Sidecar under Screen Mirroring.
  3. Select iPhone – Pick your iPhone from the list of available devices.
  4. Customize options – Choose display arrangement and other preferences in the Sidecar settings.

Using Adapters and Cables

  1. Get adapters/cables – Obtain compatible Lightning Digital AV adapters, Lightning to VGA adapters, or USB-C cables.
  2. Connect iPhone – Plug the adapter into the iPhone charging port or use the USB-C cable.
  3. Link to display – Connect the HDMI/VGA cable from the adapter to your monitor/TV.
  4. Mirror display – The iPhone screen should instantly mirror onto the connected external display.

Tips for Using Your iPhone as a Secondary Monitor

  • Use Sidecar for the simplest, most integrated experience on Mac.
  • Try the free version of Splashtop XDisplay first before paying for other apps.
  • Connect your iPhone with a cable to eliminate lag and improve response times.
  • Position the iPhone screen properly to match the angle and height of your primary display.
  • Charge your iPhone during use as an external monitor to avoid battery drain.
  • Use an adjustable stand to secure your iPhone in place and adjust its position when required.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • If the displays are not detecting properly, unplug and reconnect the cables or restart both devices.
  • Check if the same Wi-Fi network is enabled on the iPhone and computer if connecting wirelessly.
  • For connectivity issues, update the app or its companion software to the latest version.
  • If the iPhone display has a black border, adjust the image output settings on your computer.
  • In case there is visible lag while using the iPhone screen, reduce the resolution or reconnect using a cable instead.


Converting your iPhone into a secondary monitor is straightforward with the right apps and accessories. Whether you want to boost your productivity or free up desk space, using an iPhone as an external display has many benefits for both work and play. Experiment with the different wired and wireless solutions to find your optimal setup. With proper positioning and minor tweaks, your iPhone can provide a seamless second screen experience.

So go ahead and try using your trusty iPhone as a makeshift monitor to take your workspace to the next level!