Can Apple TV enable me to treat my TV as a wireless secondary screen (as one can do when directly connecting the TV via a cable), rather than simply mirroring my primary screen? I'd love to stream content to the TV while still using my laptop to do work.

(I know you can stream iTunes to the TV but that's very limited in what it can stream/play, e.g. can't stream content from arbitrary video websites.)

  • There may be a 3rd party app than could achieve this functionality. Have a look at Beamer or one of the other ones (sorry their names escape me).
    – pknz
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 4:25
  • @pknz But Beamer is, like iTunes, still just a media player, not as flexible as a general display - I can't play (as I requested in the original question) videos from arbitrary video streaming websites.
    – xyzzyrz
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 6:45
  • Again, I'm not sure (I can't test this at present) but AirParrot mentions it can extend your desktop. "Desktop Extension. Add more space to your OS X desktop by creating a virtual monitor and extending your desktop to your TV." airparrot.com
    – pknz
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 21:12
  • @pknz Thanks for the pointer to AirParrot. It seems it has some problems with high CPU load (arstechnica.com/apple/2012/07/…) - know anything about that?
    – xyzzyrz
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 8:35

2 Answers 2


iPad 2 + Air Display. http://avatron.com/apps/air-display

Use Air Display to turn your iPad into a second monitor (totally cool in itself!), and then mirror your iPad to your apple tv.

OR, if you, like me, only have an iPad 1, then you can use your iPad as the main monitor and mirror your laptop screen.

Either way, you end up with three screens going, two of them the same.

That's the only way I know. Seems crazy that Apple can't come out with an update that allows the apple tv to be a second, rather than mirrored, screen.

  • Interesting, thanks for the pointer. Do you know why it's 2x the price of AirParrot? Does it suffer the same problems with AirParrot of high CPU load? (arstechnica.com/apple/2012/07/…)
    – xyzzyrz
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 8:32
  • As of the release of macOS Catalina, iPad as a second monitor is now built into macOS/iOS as "Sidecar". However, since it is technically using AirPlay to do this, I would bet that you can't then daisy-chain another AirPlay connection to the TV from the iPad. So a third-party app would still be needed.
    – Br.Bill
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 18:45

Just go to System Preferences, then Displays, and deselect "mirroring", then you can use your laptop screen for work while watching something on the tv. You may not be able to full screen the video without blacking out your laptop, but you can just maximize the video window.

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