Can a Laptop Work as a Monitor

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Markeyus Franks

Your laptop can conveniently work as a monitor if you want to extend your current primary display. Depending on what you want to view, you’ll only need to connect your laptop to the primary display via an HDMI cable (for Windows) or a Mini DisplayPort (for Mac OS). 

You’ll also need to make a few settings on both devices to ensure they connect appropriately. Eager to know how you can use your laptop as a second monitor? Read on as we show you how!

How to Setup Your Laptop as a Monitor?

There exist two primary ways to make your laptop serve as a monitor. You can use Windows built-in tools or third-party software. Also, you must have a suitable display cable (for Windows users) or an adaptor (for Mac users). 

You can either use a DisplayPort, HDMI cable, or Mini DisplayPort lead based on your laptop model. Setting up your laptop as a monitor helps you to:

  • Use the second monitor to primarily support programs like Skype, Slack, Calendars, etc. 
  • Compare two documents on different screens.
  • Engage with your audience easily when streaming.
  • Multitask on platforms like YouTube or Netflix.
  • Set up real-time notifications through a single display. 

Can I Use My Laptop as a Second Monitor?

Yes! If you want to extend the display on your primary device (i.e., a Desktop) to your laptop, the latter will serve as a monitor. Your laptop’s OS has inbuilt features that enable this functionality. This applies to Windows and Mac operating systems. 

Primarily, you can use your laptop as a second monitor if both devices are running on the same OS type or different ones. In this section, we’ll outline how you can use your laptop as a second monitor for:

  1. Windows 10 devices, and
  2. Mac Devices

How to Use Your Laptop as a Second Monitor for Windows 10 Devices

This method works for situations when 1) both devices run on Windows 10 and 2) when only the primary device runs on Windows 10. 

1. When Both Devices Run on Windows 10

First, you’ll need to enable the laptop to use as a second monitor through the following steps:

  1. Right-click on your laptop’s home screen and select “Properties.”
  2. Go to Settingsand select “System.”
  3. Select “Projecting to This PC.”
  4. On the “Windows 10 PCs and phones can project to this PC when you say it’s OK” option, change the settings to “Available Everywhere.”
  5. Next, on the “Ask to project this PC” section, select “First time only.”
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Second, connect the primary device and apply the steps below:

  1. Press Windows Key + P on the primary device.
  2. Select your preferred screen display.
  3. Click on “Extend” to use your laptop as a second monitor.
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  1. On the primary device, find your laptop name to connect.
  2. Next, approve the connection request. This enables you to use both screens. You’ve therefore set your laptop as a second monitor. 

2. When the Primary Device Runs on Windows 10, but the Laptop Uses a Different OS

It’s still possible to use your laptop as a second monitor in situations where it runs on a different OS from the primary device. You can achieve this through the following steps:

  1. Right-click on your home screen and select “Properties.”
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Confirm that you see two screens. Select the off-center screen and drag it next to the middle screen. Drop it to your preferred position with the primary screen.
  4. Select “Yes” if asked whether to enable the new monitor.
  5. Check the “Extend my windows desktop onto this monitor” option.
  6. Click on “Apply” to save these settings and start using your laptop as a second monitor.  

How to Use Your Laptop as a Second Monitor for Mac Devices

You can apply this method if 1) both devices run on Mac OS or 2) when only one of them runs on Mac. Let’s discuss each technique:  

1. When Both Devices Run on Mac

You’ll need to use the Luna Display app to make your laptop a second monitor if both devices run on Mac. This software is free and easy to use. To get started with this method, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Have the latest version of the app on both computers.
  • Use a 10.11 El Captain for the primary device.
  • The secondary monitor should have a 10.8 Mountain Lion or later.

Apply the steps below to connect the two Mac devices:

  1. Download and install the Luna Display app on primary and secondary devices.
  2. Follow all the instructions to get started with the app on your primary Mac device. 
  3. Check to ensure there’s a connection with the second device. You can achieve this by identifying whether the settings made on the primary device appear on the secondary device.

Note: If you want the Retina display to work on both devices, you should first cross-check to ensure they have Retina capabilities. 

2. When the Primary Device Uses Mac OS, but the Laptop Uses a Different OS 

In situations where your secondary device runs on a different OS, you can apply the steps below to use it as a second monitor:

  1. Download and install 5KPlayer on the device. This software tool is free to use. 
  2. Enable airplay.
  3. Your primary Mac device will then recognize the device as a second monitor. 

The 5Kplayer tool lets your laptop receive airplay from the Mac device. This then allows communication and sharing of data between the two devices. As a requirement, both devices should run on the same internet connection to enhance their responsiveness. 

Can I Use My Laptop as a Monitor for Xbox?

Yes! It’s also possible to use your laptop as a monitor for Xbox. Microsoft’s Xbox One comes with a PlayStation Remote Play app. You’ll need a primary monitor for your Xbox to get started with this service. Only after this can you switch to using your laptop as a second monitor for your Xbox. 

The first step to using your laptop as a second monitor for Xbox is enabling the Xbox Companion App connectivity using the “Preferences Setting.” To set your laptop as the monitor, you’ll need to:

  • Allow settings (on your Xbox) for game streaming to different devices. 
  • Set connections (on your other device) to allow interaction with your Xbox.

Next, access your laptop and start the Xbox Companion App. Use the connection panel to connect to your Xbox and remote control the console. With everything set up, click on “Stream” and launch your preferred game from the library.

Can I Use My Laptop as a Monitor for PS5?

Yes, it’s possible to use a laptop as a monitor for PS5. You can achieve this in two ways: First, you can use Sony’s Remote Play app, free for both Windows and Mac. Second, you can plug your PS5 physically into your laptop using a video capture card. 

Although both ways are effective, this article will discuss using the first one since we consider it easy and affordable. You need a USB cable or wireless USB adapter to get started with the Remote Play app on your Mac or Windows laptop. You must also have a PlayStation account and a good internet connection. 

Next, apply the steps below:

  1. Download and install the Remote Play app on your Mac or Windows laptop.
  2. Enable the PS5 console after completing the installation process. You can achieve this by going to Settings> Play Station Network Settings> Account Management> Activate Primary PS5. 
  3. Click on the “System Software Update” option in the “Settings” category to update your PS5 software.
  4. Activate remote play under PS5 settings.
  5. Check to determine whether “Rest mode” is enabled. 
  6. Open the Remote Play app on your laptop, go to the “Settings” menu, and set the resolution value to 720p. You should also set your preferred frame rate.
  7. Connect the controller to the laptop using a USB cable or wireless USB adaptor.
  8. Plug the USB adaptor into your laptop and push it for 4-5 seconds.
  9. Click on the start button for the Remote Play app to redirect the PlayStation screen for PS5. You can now use your laptop as a monitor for PS5. 

How to Extend My Laptop to TV? 

Once you’ve connected the TV to your laptop, it serves the same display purpose as the latter. Since the display shifts from your laptop to the TV, you can adjust screen size just as you would for your laptop monitor or a projector. 

Apply the steps below to extend your laptop to TV:

  1. Connect your laptop to your TV using an HDMI cable (for windows) or Mini DisplayPort (for Mac).
  2. On your laptop, click the “Start” menu and open the “Control Panel.”
  3. Open the “Appearance and Personalization” menu and click on “Adjust Screen Resolution.” 
  4. Navigate to “Resolution” and click the arrow next to it. Select the primary resolution for your TV (you can find this information in the TV owner’s manual).
  5. Click on “Apply” and “Keep” to save the resolution settings and extend your laptop’s display to your TV. 

With these steps, you’ll use your laptop like a tower PC while your TV serves as the main display. 

Conclusion

You can use a laptop as a secondary monitor for Windows and Mac OS devices. You only need to follow the appropriate steps outlined in this article and make the relevant settings to establish a reliable connection. Also, you’ll need an HDMI cable for Windows devices and a Mini DisplayPort for Mac devices to establish a connection. 

Your laptop can conveniently work as a secondary monitor for Xbox and PS5. You’ll just need to have the relevant software tools with you. It’s also possible to connect your laptop to a TV and have an extensive view of videos and pictures. You’ll only need the appropriate cable connections to achieve this.

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