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 already bring to the office to help manage your daily routine? Or maybe a key tool in a teaching curriculum in a classroom?
It’s obvious folks who use the iPad are passionate to incorporate its technology in different areas. And over the past few years we’ve seen more and more uses for the iPad in business and in education.
One popular usage by both (teachers and business professionals) is to use the iPad as a presentation tool.
Which leads us to our topic. If you want to use the iPad as a presentation tool but are not sure where to start or how much ($) is involved to make it all work, or even concern that you’re not up to the challenge technically — then you might want to stay close to this site. (One quick-way is by using this subscribe via email link.) Why? Because starting with this post I’ll be publishing a series of articles dedicated to help you learn — How to use the iPad as a presentation tool.
In this how-to series I’ll explain everything: apps, cables, connectors, adapters, accessories, my personal tips and tricks, and even a comparison between some of the newer mobile iPad projectors. All things (from A to Z) you’ll need to know to get in front of your audience with the iPad. No matter if your audience is part of a classroom or in a conference room.
Here are some of the questions answered in this series:
- What Apps do I need to make a presentations?
- How do I connect the iPad to a Projector or TV monitor?
- Can I present wireless to engage with my audience?
- What are the best portable mini iPad projectors?
- I’m not technically savvy — so can I still do this?
By the way if you’re concern with the last question, don’t worry. The tittle does say “no technical skills require.” Right! So rest assure that even the person with the least amount of technical know-how will be able to follow along with the simple step-by-step (how-to) guide in each article. But—in case you have questions, you’re always welcome to reach out to me by using the contact form and sending an email.
What’s covered in this first post
- How to connect the iPad to a Projector or TV monitor.
- How to connect the iPad to the Apple TV and how this ($99.00) 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.
Now, let’s get started answering one of the most popular questions on this topic of using the iPad as a presentation tool.
How to connect the iPad to a projector
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 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 minijack (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 iOS 4.3 an its introduction Apple made it really easy for iPad owners to send (or mirror) the iPad’s content to external devices using AirPlay.
What is Airplay?
In brief Airplay is Apple’s own 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 on AirPlay’s features: 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 $99.00 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 requirements 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 from 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’s 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 your device:
- Double tap the home screen button.
- From the bottom of the page – swipe right.
- Locate the AiPlay icon 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 TV 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 a 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 simply need to get a converter adapter like this Kanex ATVPRO AirPlay Mirroring for VGA Projector that’s 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 minijack (1/8 jack). As discussed before if your presentations includes music, simply plug a minijack cable to an external speaker device here.
- It’s a very small unit so it’s easy to carry.
- It can be use 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.
- If all was done correctly you should 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 two 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. Please know that 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 wireless. (There are no technical advantages it’s just my preference.)
By the way if you’re thinking that this extra step and precaution might be a waste of time and money, ask yourself…why take a chance walking into the unknown? Also one huge benefit of creating a personal wireless network (besides not having to think about losing connection due to uncertain technology) is that this network can be enabled to be private (via a password) or public. Which is another beneficial step in securing that everything works and turns out right. Remember… your goal during a presentation is to think about your audience and delivering value, and not about the technology or the tools being used. Unless if your topic is about… how to do a presentation with the iPad
Now that you learn how to connect the iPad to a projector and the advance quick tip on how to create a wireless network using the Airport Express 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.
If you have any questions regarding anything on this post please let me know in the comments. And if there’s anything specific you would like to learn or see explain in this series don’t be shy, drop me an email.
Update: looking for the next post in the series, read “15 Presentation Apps For Teachers to use in the Classroom.”