Air Dis­play 3

Turn your iPad into a sec­ond dis­play for your Mac with this handy util­ity

Mac Format - - IOS APPS RATED - Craig Gran­nell

£10.99 De­vel­oper Ava­tron Soft­ware, ava­tron.com

Works with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Ver­sion 3.0.1

Air Dis­play 3 and its free com­pan­ion app for OS X turn your iOS de­vices into ad­di­tional screens for your Mac, ex­pand­ing your workspace.

In­stal­la­tion of the Mac app re­quires a restart, but con­nec­tion is sim­ple. The host didn’t see our iOS de­vices, but typing in an IP ad­dress was enough for an iPad to be­come a sec­ond dis­play for our Mac. At­tached dis­plays can be zoomed and ro­tated, although we found the lat­ter switched the setup to mir­rored mode – that was eas­ily fixed in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, though.

Use­fully, Air Dis­play 3 pro­vides op­tions for Retina and HiDPI res­o­lu­tions. The for­mer usu­ally makes for small, fid­dly in­ter­faces, but the lat­ter pro­vides a pin-sharp sec­ond dis­play. On Wi-Fi, though, re­spon­sive­ness is poor; menus half­fade and stay put, and graph­ics ‘tear­ing’ is com­mon­place. There­fore, to use the sec­ond screen as any­thing other than a place to hold static ref­er­ence ma­te­rial, it’s best to connect via USB. Ava­tron says this leads to “no per­cep­ti­ble lag”, which wasn’t the case dur­ing our testing, but the re­spon­sive­ness was clearly much im­proved, re­sult­ing in a us­able setup. A black mark, though, for the cus­tom iOS key­board ‘push­ing’ the screen up­wards when ac­ti­vated – it’d be bet­ter as an over­lay. (The Mac desk­top be­hind the key­board can be moved with a two-fin­ger drag.)

This lat­est re­lease also adds Air Sty­lus, which turns your iPad into a kind of graph­ics tablet so you can draw with a sty­lus di­rectly into com­pat­i­ble soft­ware in mir­rored mode. Pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity is sup­ported, which might be a boon for artists on the road, but we’d still pre­fer to use ded­i­cated kit in a stu­dio setup.

A de­cent up­grade and wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion to get more use out of dor­mant iPads, even if lag re­mains an is­sue.

With HiDPI sup­port, your iPad be­comes a pin-sharp sec­ond dis­play for OS X.

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