Before we get started going over how to connect the iPad to a projector — let me ask you a question. Is the iPad a tool you bring with you to the office to help manage your daily routine? Or maybe a key tool in a teaching curriculum in a classroom? If you answer yes, you are not alone. Because two areas where the iPad has seen growth has been in the business and education field.
And one popular use for the iPad by both (Teachers and Business Professionals) is to use the device as a Presentation Tool.
So, if you want to present with the iPad, but are not sure where to start. Or what’s involved? Then you might want to stay close to this site.
Because beginning with this post, I’ll be publishing a series of articles (here) dedicated to explaining — How to use the iPad as a Presentation Tool.
(Click the link to: subscribe to future updates via email.)
An Overview of What’s to Come
My goal for the series is to provide you with not only the bare essentials surrounding the topic but to provide a deeper scope of all the things (from A to Z) needed to get you in front of your audience with the iPad. Regardless, if your presentation takes place in a Classroom, a Conference room or an Assembly Hall.
Questions Answered in the Series
- What Apps are needed to create a presentation?
- How do I connect the iPad to a Projector or TV monitor?
- How do I present wireless to engage with my audience?
- What are the best portable mini iPad projectors?
- How do I send a slideshow to multiple iPads?
- How do I share the iPad’s screen with others?
Now, let’s begin by answering one of the most popular questions on the topic of using the iPad as a Presentation Tool.
How To Connect the iPad to a Projector
What You Will Learn In This Post
- How to connect the iPad to a Projector or TV monitor.
- How to connect the iPad to the Apple TV and how this device can help you engage with your audience.
- How to mirror the iPad’s screen using AirPlay.
- How to create a Wireless Network with the Airport Express.
The simplest way to present with the iPad is to connect your tablet directly to a projector or TV monitor. Depending on the type of input port (VGA or HDMI) and iPad model, use the correct cable and adapter combination.
If a projector has a VGA input use a VGA cable with one of these adapters.
- Apple’s dock connector to VGA adapter (for iPad models 1, 2, and 3).
- The Lightning to VGA adapter cable (for newer iPad models).
To connect the iPad to a projector or TV monitor with HDMI input use an HDMI cable and one of these.
- The Dock connector to HDMI adapter (for models 1, 2, and 3).
- The Lighting Digital AV adapter (for newer iPad models).
(Please know that some newer projectors may include both VGA and HDMI ports. I recommend going with HDMI if you had to choose.)
The advantage of using HDMI over the VGA port is very crucial if your presentation includes music. With one single HDMI cable, audio and video can pass through (together) to your projecting device. But if you’re using a projector with VGA, and your presentation includes music, you’ll need to connect your iPad using the mini jack (or headphone jack) to an external amplification system to hear the audio.
But none of these two solutions are ideal — if you want to go mobile.
If you want the freedom to move around and engage with your audience, you’re going to need the aid of Apple’s AirPlay technology.
Presenting With iPad: Wireless
With the introduction of iOS 4.3, Apple made it easy for iPad owners to share (or mirror) the iPad’s screen to external devices using AirPlay. Throughout the series, I’ll cover other ways to mirror the iPad screen but for now, we will look at one of the most popular methods.
What is Airplay?
In brief, Airplay is Apple’s protocol method for transmitting content like music, movies and photos wirelessly to other devices enabled with AirPlay technology.
Here’s an article to help you understand more about the features in Airplay: Apple Airplay: 10 things you need to know
The iPad and Apple TV: 2 great presentation tools
One such device that’s AirPlay ready is the Apple TV. With a price tag of $149.00 for the 32GB model this square 3.9 inches little black box that resembles a hockey puck and fits nicely in any briefcase is the answer to present with the iPad mobile and wireless.
There are two important things you’ll need to know before investing in the AppleTV.
- To connect (or pair) your iPad to the AppleTV it needs to be in an active Wi-Fi area.
- AirPlay mirroring on the iPad has to be enabled.
The first requirement is not difficult to overcome since there are alternative ways to bypass not having access to Wi-Fi in a classroom or conference room. We’ll be covering this later in the section: “Creating a Wireless Network.”
But the second is important to note since AirPlay is only available for the iPad models 2 and up and requires iOS 5 or later. (If you have the first iPad — you’ll need to connect using a VGA cable as previously discussed.)
How to Mirror the iPad Screen
If you’re in a Wi-Fi enabled area, and you have the Apple TV and iPad in front of you, here’s how to mirror your iPad to the Apple TV.
How to Enable AirPlay on the iPad
- From the bottom of the page – swipe up.
- Locate the AiPlay icon, tap to turn it on.
- Select Apple TV.
- Turn on Mirroring.
(Note: You will not see the Airplay icon if you’re not in an active Wi-Fi area.)
Connecting the iPad & Apple TV to a Projector or Monitor
Here’s how to connect the iPad, the Apple TV, and the projector or TV monitor together:
- From the illustration above, you noticed the Apple TV has one HDMI port.
If the projection device has an HDMI port (connect the two units using the HDMI cable) – then go ahead to the next step.
But if the projector is an older model and only has VGA you’ll need to use an adapter to convert HDMI to VGA. But don’t worry; this will not be a difficult task. You’ll need to get a converter adapter like this Kanex ATVPRO AirPlay Mirroring for VGA Projector found on Amazon.com (affiliate link).
5 Reasons Why I Recommend the Kanex ATV Pro
- It doesn’t need an external power supply (one less thing to lose).
- It includes an attached cable; that connects to the Apple TV (one less cable to buy).
- It includes built-in stereo audio mini-jack (1/8 jack). As discussed before if your presentations have music, just plug a mini jack cable to an external speaker device here.
- It’s a small unit, so it’s easy to carry.
- It can be used to convert and connect other HDMI devices (e.g., a DVD player).
- After making all the necessary connection power-up the projector or TV monitor first.
- Then follow by powering up the Apple TV and then finally the iPad.
- Our last step is to enable AirPlay on your iPad following the directions above.
- When done, you will see your iPad screen mirrored on the screen.
Creating a Wireless Network
Sometimes there might be a situation where you don’t have access to Wi-Fi or due to technical hiccups in the matrix (e.g., the strength of the signal might be spotty) you prefer not to connect to the room’s Wi-Fi network. So how do you connect the iPad to the Apple TV via AirPlay?
There are two solutions I recommend to solve this problem.
- Invest in a mobile hotspot device to create a WIFI hotspot (see your mobile provider).
- Create your own (secured) wireless network.
Before explaining how to create a wireless network let me point out that if your presentation requires internet access — this will not work. You’ll still need access to the internet. What this does is to create a wireless network so that you can enable AirPlay and connect the iPad to the Apple TV.
To create a wireless network, I like to use and recommend to other Apple gadgets. The Airport Express, which is also a small (white) unit similar to the Apple TV and the help of an iOS app called AirPort Utility.
Before your presentation (preferably the night before) define a Wireless Network using your iPad (or iPhone) and the Airport Utility app. Then connect the two units (the airport express and the Apple TV) via an Ethernet cable. You can define the connection between the two via wireless, but in this case, I prefer relying on the older method of connecting things via an actual cable than to do it wirelessly. (There are no technical advantages, it’s just my preference.)
By the way, if you think that this extra step and precaution might be a waste of time and money, ask yourself do I want to take a chance walking into the unknown?
Also, one huge benefit when creating a personal wireless network (besides not having to think about losing connection due to uncertain technology) is that you could set the network to be private (password protect ) or public.
Remember your goal during a presentation is to think about your audience and delivering value to them, and not about equipment failure or getting hacked.
Now that you have learned how to connect the iPad to a projector you’ll soon be in front of your audience in no time. In the next post in this series, we’ll take a look at the apps that will help capture, create and communicate your message onto the big screen.
Update: looking for the next post in the series, read “15 Presentation Apps For Teachers to use in the Classroom.”
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