This comes up most often on text entry boxes, like login screens. Especially if you use LastPass and normally putting the cursor into the username area is supposed to pop up with suggestions — ideally right over the username field.

But using an external display on both Mac and iPad randomly makes pop-up boxes like these appear on the opposite screen. Whatever one you’re not using at that moment for the actual login fields.

Sometimes, the context box that ends up on the wrong screen is only there for a few seconds, and then disappears altogether like it realized it was in the wrong place but didn’t return to the right place. Other times it stays on the other screen and you can click on it there.

This also happens with apps like YouTube.

As of writing this (Feb 2024) YouTube in particular has an issue with this. If you put the YouTube app on the iPad screen itself most things work fine, but when you go to comment on a video sometimes the comment entry appears randomly on the external display.

If the YouTube app is on the external display, it seems to switch between trying to put the comment entry on the iPad screen, or it simply not being present at all. Like, it’s not on the screen you’re already using with the app, but also not on the other screen. I’ve had where typing comments was literally impossible on the external display until I pulled it back over to the iPad screen.

That’s especially annoying with a video app, since if you’re using an external display with HDR it can certainly make sense to throw your videos there rather than the iPad screen.

Non-Ideal Solutions Some Have Offered

In this thread where the OP mentions things are pretty consistently opening in the wrong screen, the main suggestion is to use Spaces to essentially bind an app to a specific screen.

Maybe that helps, but it’s also pretty non-ideal since… ideally you’d want flexibility to put an app somewhere now because it makes sense, but reserve the ability to quickly switch it up when it doesn’t.

Does anyone reading this have solutions to share?

This post is part of a series called iPad vs. Mac, which chronicles my experiences using each to accomplish personal life and work projects: quirks, solutions, and where each one shines.

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