Use Your Kindle as a Second Display

By John Lister

Although the Kindle Fire has an HDMI socket, it is for output only so you can't simply plug it in and use it as a second monitor on your computer desktop to extend the display. Instead you can install one of two Fire applications, both of which connect to a related piece of software on your computer and allow you to extend the display by sending the information through Wi-Fi. Both applications have a purchase fee as of July 2013. Note that it isn't possible to use other Kindle devices as a second screen without advanced technical skills and the risk of invalidating your warranty.

iDisplay

Step 1

Download and install the iDisplay app from the Android store on the Amazon website (see Resources). Download and install the associated software from the Shape Services website or website (see Resources).

Step 2

Open and run the software on your PC or Mac. Open the iDisplay app on the Kindle Fire, making sure your computer and Kindle are on the same local network. Select your computer from the list of options in the app.

Step 3

Drag a window off your main computer screen -- it will now appear on your Kindle Fire screen as if it were a second monitor attached to your computer. You can move your mouse off your main screen and onto the Fire screen and tap and drag items directly on the Fire screen itself.

Air Display

Step 1

Download and install the AirDisplay app from the Android store on the Amazon website (see Resources). Download and install the associated software from the Avatron website (see Resources).

Step 2

Open and run the software on your PC or Mac. Open the Air Display app on the Kindle Fire, making sure your computer and Kindle are on the same local network. Select your computer from the list of options in the app.

Step 3

Drag a window off your main computer screen; you'll only be able to do this in one direction, though you can change this in your computer's operating system to take account of where you have placed your Kindle Fire in relation to the computer monitor. The window will now appear on your Kindle Fire screen as if it were a second monitor attached to your computer. You can move your mouse off your main screen and onto the Fire's screen. You can also tap and drag items directly on the Fire screen itself. With some computer applications you can use finger gestures for tasks such as drawing in a paint applications.

Step 4

Rotate your Kindle screen if you want to change screen orientation. With Air Display, the content will automatically reflow to the new orientation.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is possible to use a dedicated Kindle e-reader as a second screen (see Resources), but this is not recommended. It requires you to jailbreak the device, allowing you to install and run unapproved software; jailbreaking may risk damaging the device and can invalidate your warranty. The e-ink displays on dedicated Kindle reader devices refreshes much more slowly than normal computer monitors, so it will be of little or no use for any form of multimedia. Naturally the display will be grayscale rather than color.
  • You may have to restart your Kindle when you want to use the Air Display app.
  • When you use these apps, you may notice some lag when controlling items displayed on the Kindle Fire screen.