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Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 2.34.59 PMAnyone who has ever used a dual monitor setup will tell you it changed their life. Now, a team of former Apple employees has built an app that makes it easier than ever for people to get a second screen.

Duet Display, a new app for the iPhone and iPad, gives users the ability to turn their iOS device into a second display for their Mac, complete with touchscreen capabilities. Users install the $15 app on their iPhone or iPad, install the free companion app on their Mac, connect the two with their device’s charging cable, and voilá, they have a second display.

Users can configure it much like any other traditional display for the Mac using their computer’s Displays preference pane. The companion app also comes with a few added settings: Duet normally runs the second display at a lower resolution to make it easier to read and avoid straining the performance of the device, but users can up the resolution at the cost of some strain on their computer.

geekwireappOther than that, in my experience, Duet Display just works like any other display, though it’s possible to manipulate what’s on your device’s screen with your fingers. Duet even keeps working while the app is in the background, so you can switch apps on your iPad to grab something (like the screenshot above) and switch back seamlessly. Any windows that are on your iPad will remain there until you get back, though, and you won’t be able to see them.

Duet is nearly perfect at what it’s capable of. There’s one major drawback: it can be hard to find a place for the iPad to serve as a second display, depending on your computer setup. People who have their computer or display sitting directly on top of their desk shouldn’t find that to be much of a problem, but I jack my laptop up on my standing desk with an incredibly tall stand that doesn’t have room for my 4th generation iPad, which means that there isn’t really a great place for it at the moment. Before you go and drop $15 on the app, it may be worth it to figure out where you plan to put your device, first.

One other word of caution: Duet Display works with an iPhone, but you’re left with precious little actual screen real estate. I don’t recommend it, but it can be nice for running the iTunes MiniPlayer or something similarly small.

Overall, this isn’t an app for everyone. But people who occasionally want a second screen without having to shell out for a whole display may find it very useful.

Duet Display is available for $14.99 from the App Store.

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