The iPad is capable of providing a digital canvas for creativity. Here are some apps to help you get started and mirroring from your Mac or PC.
The “astropad” is a drawing tablet app that can be used on the iPad. It allows users to use their iPad as a drawing tablet when they are using it with their Mac or PC.
Drawing on an iPad may have become more popular as a result of footage of the famous program Procreate being shared on social media, but pros have been utilizing the iPad as a drawing tablet for years. So, if you’re wondering whether you can use your iPad as a drawing tablet and how to do so, this post will answer all of your concerns! We’ll take a look at standalone applications as well as Mac programs that mirror your iPad and allow you to sketch on it. Let’s get started!
With Mirroring Apps, you may use your iPad as a drawing tablet.
The iPad is an excellent device for sketching, and app developers recognized this early on. As a result, there are now a number of applications available for purchase that enable you to sketch right on your iPad. Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known.
Display in the Air
Display in the Air is one of the earliest apps that allowed you to repurpose your iPad or Android device, letting you extend your display or mirror up to four screens simultaneously. It’s easy to set up, and the best part is that it’s wireless, and you just need to have your iPad on the same WiFi network as your computer. Display in the Air’s first version came out in 2010 and, as of today, is at version 3.
Display in the Air works as a simple Host – Client model, allowing your computer to be the server host while your iPad acts as the client. You don’t need to worry about the jargon here because all you need to do is launch the app, set up the iPad with on-screen instructions, and you’re good to go.
Display in the Air 3 is priced at $14.99. You can read more about setting up and using this app on the Display in the Air official site.
Astropad makes Studio Astropad and Luna Showcase, which we will look at a bit later. Studio Astropad is one of the better options on the market today and is quite popular among creative professionals. You can connect your iPad to your Mac via USB and wireless methods and use your favorite apps like Photoshop, Corel’s various products, Clip Studio, and many more.
And once you’re set up, you get a host of custom gestures that you can use, besides the shortcuts already provided by your software. This means you can use touch + Apple Pencil combinations for additional drawing shortcuts. You can also fine-tune the performance of your Pencil on Studio Astropad as it lets you adjust pressure curves as well as pressure smoothing. Astropad calls them ‘magic gestures,’ and here are just a few of the combos you can try:
- Undo: tap with two fingers
- Retry with a three-finger tap.
- Tool for erasing: One Finger + Apple Pencil
- Hover: Apple Pencil + Two Fingers
- Three fingers + Apple Pencil + right mouse button
Which reminds us: here’s an article we published on what to do if your Apple Pencil stops working if that happens to you.
Studio Astropad is priced at $79.99 a year (plus they have a 30-day trial at the moment!), and to know more about it, here’s the official Studio Astropad page.
Standard Astropad, as the name suggests, is from Astropad again. This product has one job, and it does that job well — it mirrors your Mac onto your iPad. If you’re looking for a quick, hassle-free solution to have your Mac display projected onto your iPad wirelessly (or via USB) so that you can draw, then the Standard Astropad is a good option.
You can also use it for annotation or whiteboarding if you’re on a conference video call and wish to demo something to your team. Not only do you get full touch support but also gestures, and you get pressure sensitivity support for your Apple Pencil as well. We really liked that Standard Astropad is a one-time purchase at $29.99 and does not follow a subscription model. You can read the deets of Standard Astropad on the official website.
From the makers of Display in the Air, you also get AirStylus. If you own an iPad and a Samsung Note or a similar Galaxy Tab series gadget, this would be a great option for you to use your tablet as a drawing surface while linked to your PC. AirStylus works wirelessly and also supports multi-touch, palm rejection, and you can rest easy about your pressure sensitivity settings as that is supported as well.
Note that the app is a bit outdated and was recently discontinued for iOS, but if you can use it on your jailbroken iPad, we recommend you go for it! Alternatively, you could just stick to Display in the Air, as that is still supported by Avatron and has all the features of AirStylus. You can read more about AirStylus here.
Remote Control Splashtop
Remote Control Splashtop may be more popular as an enterprise solutions package, but that’s all the more reason you should consider it for personal use. The company brands its products as remote access for your Mac or Windows PC from your tablet, but the tech is so good that you can easily use your tablet for your sketching sessions if you have Remote Control Splashtop running on your machine.
The good news is that Splashtop is completely free as long as you use it just for personal purposes on your home network. You can use your iPad to connect to 5 computers on your network from the comfort of your sofa using the ‘Personal’ edition of the program. More information is available on the Splashtop Personal page.
For $8.25 a month, they also provide a Business edition of their app. However, this may be a little excessive for doodling! The client programs may be downloaded from the Splashtop downloads page depending on your machine.
Why look at paid options for using your iPad as drawing tablet when your Apple ecosystem lets you do it for free! Sidecar Apple was launched as a feature with macOS 10.15 (Catalina), and it lets you use your iPad as a secondary display, as long as your main computer is a Mac and you’re signed in to the same iCloud account.
Once activated, your Mac establishes a low-latency WiFi connection with your iPad, allowing you to expand or mirror your primary display. If you utilize a wireless connection, your iPad must be within 32 feet of your Mac, or you may connect them using a Lightning or USB Type-C cable.
Meanwhile, Universal Control, which will enable you to utilize your Mac peripherals on your iPad, is nearly here (debuting in Spring 2022). If you’re an artist, this will only boost your productivity since you’ll be able to simply flip between the two displays while working.
Here’s a nice video that shows you how to use Sidecar on Mac and iPad:
Duet Pro might be great for you if you’re seeking for a solid, fast solution that allows you to fine-tune the performance of your iPad as a graphics tablet. Duet was founded by ex-Apple developers, and its product, Duet Pro, supports both wired and wireless connections and operates on both Windows and Mac systems.
What we loved most about Duet Pro was its versatility: in addition to a variety of controls and gestures, it can also be controlled remotely. It is gentle on your system’s chipset, provides frequent updates, and has a helpful customer care staff. It also works on iPhones!
The wired edition of the software costs $19.99 per year and comes highly recommended by photographers, illustrators, and artists. The wireless version, which includes remote access, costs $24.99 per year. Visit the Duet Pro page for additional information.
Luna Showcase is from the makers of Astropad and is really versatile when it comes to connecting to different devices. With a Luna Showcase device in your home or office, you can not only connect your iPad to a Mac but also to a Windows PC and also connect a Mac to another Mac. It works via both USB and wirelessly and is extremely low in latency, with the company promising to keep it under 16 milliseconds.
The Luna Showcase unit also has a ‘Headless Mode’ and a ‘Teleprompter Mode.’ Headless Mode allows you to use your iPad as the primary display for your Mac mini. The teleprompter mode flips your iPad screen upside down if you ever need to use it with a beam splitter glass.
Regardless of whether you connect to a Mac or a PC, you receive complete touch and gesture compatibility. The hardware unit supports USB-C, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort connections.
To read all about how Luna Showcase works, follow the link! It is priced at $134.99.
With Drawing Apps, you may use your iPad as a drawing tablet.
Now that you know how to utilize your iPad with your Mac, I’m sure you’re curious about how to avoid the effort and just use your iPad as a drawing tablet. Of course, that’s a possibility as well! Here are a few applications that allow you to do so.
Procreate generated a lot of attention in the years after its release, and there’s no indication of that going down any time soon. Procreate is the go-to app for most iPad artists, and it works on any iPad that supports the Apple Pencil. ProCreate’s FAQ section has a comprehensive list of supported iPads.
Because the Procreate community is active, you’ll have access to a large number of brushes, textures, and presets. The user interface is simple and straightforward, making it easy for users to move from tools like Photoshop or Illustrator. Procreate also works with PSD files, allowing you to continue working on Photoshop creations. The absence of support for vectors is one of Procreate’s drawbacks.
Procreate is available for $14.99 as a one-time fee.
Another big name from the iPad drawing community, Pro Inspire, comes with some amazing tools which have made it quite popular with many famous artists. Pro Inspire has a versatile collection of pencils, brushes, crayons, charcoal, and paint splatter patterns that allow artists to express themselves in more creative ways. Powered by a highly powerful painting engine, Pro Inspire is perfect for beginners and established artists. And it costs just $19.99 as a one-time fee!
Here’s a great drawing tutorial on Pro Inspire:
Photoshop for iPad is a portable version of Photoshop.
Adobe was not going to stand by and watch while rivals snatched up the iPad, and we quickly had a version of Photoshop on the iPad as well. You may test out the app for free for 30 days, after which you’ll need a paid Photoshop membership to utilize it on your iPad. For about $14.99, you can acquire a package that contains Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco, and more, as well as 100GB of cloud storage.
Before you pay for a subscription, read the terms and conditions carefully since Adobe prefers to disguise its yearlong package as a monthly payment, which means that if you cancel your membership, Adobe will continue to charge you for the remainder of the year.
Illustration for the iPad
As previously stated, Procreate does not support vectors; thus, if this is a dealbreaker for you, Graphic should be your main drawing program. Graphic, which is available for Macs, iPads, and iPhones, was formerly known as iDraw before being acquired by Autodesk and subsequently Picta. Graphic designers love the program because of its pro capabilities and the fact that it is user-friendly and can work with Photoshop files.
You can download Illustration for the iPad for $8.99 from the App Store, or if you want to read a bit more, here’s the official website for Graphic.
Illustration for the iPad
Inkpad is used by a lot of artists and graphic designers, and for good reason. The software has been operating for a long time and has provided frequent upgrades and great features to its users. All of the tools and conveniences you’d expect from a top-tier picture editing program are included.
With an annual fee of $6.99 or $1.49 per month, Inkpad is quite inexpensive. The user interface will be familiar to Illustrator users.
What Is the Best Way to Use an iPad as a Drawing Tablet?
If you’re a dedicated artist who has dabbled in drawing and sketching, an iPad Pro with the Pencil 2 is a good investment. The reasons are numerous: you get a gorgeous display, a high 120Hz refresh rate, a Pencil that has gotten widespread accolades for its quality, and you also have Amazon applications to draw on.
Related Read: 10 Best Drawing & Art Apps For Tablets
All you need to draw on your iPad Pro is an app like Procreate, Pro Inspire, or Sketchbook, and you’re good to go! Here’s a video of an artist drawing on the iPad Pro for the first time:
We hope that you learned What Is the Best Way to Use an iPad as a Drawing Tablet? from our article. As you can see, you will hit the ground running as long as you get one of the apps we wrote about above, and you will be sketching in no time! If we missed any apps that you love, we’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment and we’ll add it to the list!
The “use ipad as drawing tablet for mac without sidecar” is a way to use an iPad as a drawing tablet. This can be done by either mirroring from a Mac or PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use an iPad as a drawing tablet for Mac?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way for you to use an iPad as a drawing tablet for Mac.
Can I use my iPad as a drawing tablet for PC?
A: Unfortunately, no. Apple does not allow users to sync devices that are iOS compatible with PC. This is due to the fact that they do not want people using their apps on non-Apple products without paying for them again because it would be similar to piracy which has been plaguing other apple companys business model for a very long time now.
Can you use iPad as drawing tablet for Photoshop on PC?
A: Yes, there are many drawing tablets for iPad that will work with PS4 and PC.
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