Use Air Display Over a USB Cable

From the department of the less than useful, i.e. my mind, comes a hack of debatable usefulness.

Stepping back for a second, one might argue that this could come in handy for those who have crappy wireless networks or are working from a coffeeshop which has a completely rubbish network, as many do… But then you’d probably just switch to an ad-hoc network, nonetheless, I present for your general amusement, a way to run Avatron’s Air Display app [$9.99] over USB.

Things you’ll need:

Step 1: Download and install Air Display on both your iPad and Mac (restart required).

Step 2: Activate USB Tethering on your iPad.

Step 3: Open Air Display on your iPad. Should look like this (blue bar indicates tethering is on):

Air Display for iPad

Step 4: Plug your iPad into your Mac.

Step 5: Click the Air Display icon in your taskbar and click ‘Turn Air Display On’.

Air Display Menu

Step 6: From the Air Display menu select your iPad.

Air Display Menu Select

And that’s it! You now have a USB tethered second monitor. Rather anticlimactic in comparison to my Micro SIM post, but hopefully this tutorial is useful at least to some.

Published by

Aaron Nelsen

is the webmaster and senior technology editor. He's a career geek, coffee enthusiast, Apple fanboy, and accomplished barista pimp.

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8 thoughts on “Use Air Display Over a USB Cable”

  1. Hi mate, I tried your method but it doesn’t work. My step is:
    1. Turn off the airport in the mac
    2. connect ipad with mac
    3. turn on USB Tethering in Mywi
    4. airdisplay can’t find my ipad

    could you please tell me where my mistake is? I just notice that you turn off the airport in your mac so I do the same. I just wonder how can they communicate with each other via usb, but air display is originally designed in wireless environment. Thanks

  2. Is anybody able to find any decrease in lag? I’m getting the iPad 2 in a week and am really excited to see a way to use Air Display over USB

  3. Thanks for the post. Works great on my mac.

    I would like to get it working with windows XP. (haven’t tried Windows 7) I am having trouble. Has anyone found a way? “Tether” is working on the iPad side. (After I installed iTunes)

    But AirDisplay isn’t recognizing the device. I have tried several startup sequences with no luck. I will continue to try some new ideas, but would appreciate any input!


  4. It works with iphone, ipad 3g & ipad wifi… But on wifi model you need to connect your ipad with your iphone, to have a connection to share with usb tethering…
    Do you know if it’s possible to activate usb tethering without having a connection to share ???

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