How To Connect The iPad To A Projector: No Tech Skills Required



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.

Overview

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

  1. How to connect the iPad to a Projector or TV monitor.
  2. How to connect the iPad to the Apple TV and how this ($99.00) device can help you engage with your audience.
  3. How to mirror the iPad’s screen using AirPlay.
  4. 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

Presenting with iPad

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.

To connect the iPad to a projector or TV monitor with HDMI input use an HDMI cable and one of these.

(Please know that some newer projectors may include both VGA and HDMI ports. I recommend going with HDMI if you had to choose.)

Connecting iPad to VGA ports

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.

the Apple TV

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

Enabling AirPlay Mirroring

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.
      • AirPlay iconLocate 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.

Kanex ATVPRO AirPlay Mirroring for VGA Projector

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

  1. It doesn’t need an external power supply (one less thing to lose).
  2. It includes an attached cable, that connects to the Apple TV (one less cable to buy).
  3. 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.
  4. It’s a very small unit so it’s easy to carry.
  5. 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.

  1. Invest in a mobile hotspot device to create a WIFI hotspot (see your mobile provider).
  2. 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.

image: Apple AirPort Express Base Station

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.

AirPort Utility

AirPort Utility

by Apple

free
Category: Utilities


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

In conclusion

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.”

Comments

  1. Sheri says

    I have iPad 2 and a monitor without audio output. I connect the two with HDMI cable. Do you have a suggestion on what I could use to override the audio signal and force it to use an external source?

    Since I usually use the monitor to display class handouts our sign language videos, audio is usually not an issue. I didn’t realize the sound issue until I tried to play a clip of a documentary with audio.

    • says

      Hi Sheri,

      Welcome and thanks for visiting the site. Have you tried plugging headphones to see if audio comes out when the iPad is connected to the Monitor via HDMI? If audio comes out you can use a 1/8 stereo mini jack to connect a pair of stereo power speakers. The AUX input on the power speaker would be mono 1/8. Please let me know if this works. And if you need further help I’m also here.

      Cheers.

  2. Mohammed Athick says

    Dear Sir,

    Is it possible to convert the HDMI output from ipad air via Digital AV adaptor to projector having only VGA input, through HDMI to VGA converter ?

  3. Tracie Hayward says

    Hi, I work for the government, I have a user who would like to use his iPad, iPhone to give presentations. Most of the time he is giving his presentations where there are no Wi-Fi connection or a network. I would rather not use the Apple TV or iAir option. Is there a Bluetooth portable projector that I can use that will be compatible with the iPad and iPhone?

    • says

      Hi Traice,

      Welcome and thanks for commenting. Sorry, but unfortunate I’ve haven’t used a bluetooth portable projector yet so I can’t provide any feedback. The portable projectors that I’ve use have all been direct connected from my iPad/iPhone via HDMI or VGA like this portable projectors by Pico.

      Love to hear what you find.

      Cheer, R.M.

  4. Erin says

    When using Airplay, when mirroring occurs, does this mean it will display on projector exactly how it appears on iPad air? I would like to be able to have my iPad on presentation mode so I can see my notes but not have this projected on the screen for the audience. How do I accomplish this?

    Also, if I use HDMI Adapter, will I be able to use presentation mode on my iPad air so I can view notes this way on my iPad air but not have them visual to the audience on screen?

    Thanks for your advice?

    • says

      Hi Erin,

      Welcome to the site and thanks for the great question. Your understanding of airplay mirroring is correct. And yes, in both methods what you see on the iPad screen will be projected.

      So here’s how this works: it all depends on the app and not on how the iPad is connected.

      For example, the iPad app that I use is Haiku Deck. When I’m presenting live if I keep my iPad in portrait mode, (and not in landscape mode) I’m able to see all my private notes without my audience seeing them. What they see is just my slides and not my notes. So the way to accomplish this really depends on the app that you’re using. If you need help finding out this feature in your app please let me know. Love to help.

      BTW: if you’re using Keynote for iPad visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH3489
      and check out under “Select a presenter display layout.”

      By selecting – This slide and Notes: Shows only the current slide but also your notes for that slide.

      Cheers, R.M.

  5. Jan says

    Can you tell me best way of connecting mini projector to iPad Air. I have Apple TV but even sometimes when I have TV eg in hotels can’t connect Apple TV to this so need alternative.
    Used to watch on wall using iPad/TV connector with 3 coloured leads from old iPad into mini projector and speaker. However can’t seem to find similar connector for my new iPad Air.

  6. Craig Turner says

    I have been using the Ipad in the classroom and projecting the image through a VGA cable using an adaptor and it worked great! I recently upgraded the operating system to 7.1 and now it no longer works. Very frustrating. Any suggestions that would allow me to use the same method?

  7. Mary says

    I am in a school situation with 20 iPad 2s. The iPads were purchased as a set They all are running 7.1. Some will project fine directly connected to a projector through a VGA cable and adapter. Several will not. I’m thinking it must be a setting on the iPad but I haven’t had any luck finding it. Do you have any ideas? Thank you.

  8. BlingSingh says

    Hi, great post! thanks a lot. Just a small question probably a piece of cake for you. I tried to project an ipad screen today using a dock connector to VGA adapter. However, nothing came up on the screen. Well the dock connector to VGA adapter cable could be faulty but is there any settings change (either on the projector or the iPad) or anything else I should be aware of?

    Thanks a lot, in anticipation.

    • says

      Hi there,

      Thx for leaving a comment. There’s nothing on the iPad that has to be turned on. Just plug and play. You’re on the right track I would check the cables, also look in the projector’s manual perhaps there is a mode like, “Source or Input” that needs to be selected or turned on. One last thought, if you have a VGA input on your computer monitor, try connecting the iPad to it this should give you a better idea on what’s going on. If you need more help connect with me on twitter or Google Plus. Hope things get sorted out.

      Cheers, RM

      • Sourav says

        Thx for the suggestion, however unfortunately nothing happened for me. Same problem persists (@ Craig Turner and Mary): upgrade of my iPad 2
        from ios 5.1 to ios 7.1 created it. Before the upgrade I used to have flawless projection in the classroom using the dock connector to vga adapter. Now,
        the upgrade broke everything (just as reported by Craig Turner, Mary and
        BlingSingh). I strongly suspect the incompatibility is with the ios 7.1 only,
        nothing to do with the projector manual, or that of the computer monitor
        (as I have tried both, without luck). Any ideas? Thank you.

        • says

          Hi Sourav,

          Welcome and thanks for sharing your insights. Sorry but I’m out of ideas on this one. I’ve searched online but unfortunately haven’t found a fix. I’m guessing that this issue will have to be fix in a future iOS update. Have you brought this problem up to the folks at the Apple Store or Apple Support?

          If you find a fix, would love if came back and let us know.

          Thanks, Michael

  9. says

    I’m setting up some student group work stations, six people to a group with iPads. Is there a way to switch from one pad screen to another on the large monitor?

  10. John says

    Hello Micheal,

    Thanks for all the great information , I do have a question about using the Apple Tv and Airport Express to create a wireless network. You mentioned ” Define a Wireless Network ” by connecting the two devices and using the Airport Utility App
    I have both products, and this solution would be great for my purpose, If I understand correctly, are you saying that I can set up a private network using these two devices with out any outside internet access?
    Would I have to set them back to factory settings in order to forget the current network first ?

    Do you know if I could do this with a Roku device, or is Airplay Apple proprietary ?

    Thanks for you help.
    John

    • says

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the questions. Hope this clears things up a little.
      Q: Can I set up a private network using these two devices with out any outside internet access?
      A: Yes. (1) You can create your new network with your Airport Express connected to your home set-up router using airport utility on your computer or (2) use the iOS app to enter your Airport Express and create it.

      Q: Would I have to set them back to factory settings in order to forget the current network first ?
      A: If you want. Or you can create a new network and have your home and your presentation network both saved.

      Q: Do you know if I could do this with a Roku device, or is Airplay Apple proprietary ?
      A: Only on Apple devices with AirPlay.

      Here’s a link that might provide some additional help on the Apple Support site. I know this is a bit tricky but it does work.

      Cheers, Michael

  11. scott says

    How can I use multiple ipads to connect to my windows computer as a teacher so I can grade the movies my students made?

    • says

      Hi Scott,
      Great question! There’s a couple of ways to do this. Here’s one, check-out the app Reflector it allows educators and students to wirelessly display iPads on a projector using AirPlay on the iPad. Here’s a link showing some of the benefits of using it in the classroom.

      Cheers, Michael

  12. Cindi says

    HI,
    I am a teacher and would like to use my IPad 2 as a camera and then project my papers and examples as I am writing. I understand your posting on how to connect my IPad to an apple tv and then to a projector but wondering if the IPad can be used to view me modeling handwriting. Will the camera lag? I have no technology skills and thought I should inquire into if the IPad would work or should I purchase a document camera?

    • says

      Hi Cindi,

      Love how you’re looking to use the iPad in the classroom. There’s a couple of things that I can suggest. Please contact me via e-mail. If you like I am open to do a Skype or FaceTime call to help out.

      Cheers, Michael

  13. Jim Albright says

    Should I assume that I could do all the above with either an ipad (“2″ is the one that I have…) OR an iphone (“5″ is the one that I have…)?
    How could one use the “SlideShark” approach in the above setup?
    Tx for your time and helping intentions,
    J.

  14. Manfred says

    Hi Michael
    Can I use the Kanex ATVPRO AirPlay Mirroring for VGA Projector to connect my iPhone/ iPad with the Apple Ligthning AV Adapter (Lighting to HDMI) to the old beamer with VGA?
    Is these running: iPhone – Ligthning AV Adapter – Kanex ATVPRO – VGA Beamer?

    Manfred

  15. Wendy says

    I’ve connected my LT to an overhead projector via the room’s wifi network. I’ve connected my 4th gen iPad to the LT and want to mirror it through the LT to the projector, using Reflector. I can project an image of the frame/window, but not the iPad image. Ocassionally it will show a snapshot, but nothing moving. The vendor says my network is too slow or something. Do you have any thoughts? Anything I can reconfigure on the LT or iPad? Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Wendy,
      Thanks for letting me know about your issue. Please let me know if you’ve tried mirroring the iPad to the laptop with reflector on a different network to conclude that it is a network speed issue. Hope to hear from you soon.
      Cheers Michael.

  16. Rebecca says

    Hi!
    I am new to all of this and was wondering: can you just connect the ipad to a projector (wireless) without having to buy the apple tv. Looking to do a presentation using my ipad and a projector screen. what is the easiest way to go about doing this? Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Rebeca,
      The best way to connect wireless is still via the Apple TV. Your other alternative would be to use a laptop/desktop connected to a projector, and use the application Reflector. With this set up you’ll be able to mirror your iPad screen to the computer wireless.

      It may sound technical but remember with resources like this website and folks like me who are willing to help — you’ll be able to get over the technical stuff in no time. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

      Cheers, Michael

  17. Sue Johnson says

    Hi Michael,
    I am a caricature artist and have been doing digital caricatures on my ipad for awhile now. My usual set-up is to hardwire connect to an hdmi monitor and then use my airport express to wirelessly connect to my printer so I can print the caricatures I have drawn.

    What I haven’t figured out is how to both wirelessly transmit to a large screen (such as in a hotel or convention center) and also wirelessly print or email at the same time. It seems I can only do one or the other. If my iPad 2 detects the apple tv for mirroring, then it doesn’t/can’t detect the airport express for printing as the iPad cannot locate 2 devices.
    Can I use the hotel’s wifi to email and then use apple tv to mirror my image? I have an iPad 2, apple tv and airport express.

    Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks,
    Sue

    • says

      Hi Sue,
      Thanks for the question—and let me tell you how awesome it is to hear how you’re using this technology. Here’s some of my thoughts. You should be able to connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi with your iPad,the ATV and email—I don’t see a problem.

      But if this part of an on-going business my suggestion is to look into a mobile hotspot service.On one device you can connect (or tether) multiple wifi devices together. I’ve found LTE to be faster and less problematic vs.connecting to a hotel’s Wi-Fi in some cases.

      One tip if you’re going in this direction: Don’t use your phone as a mobile hotspot, get a separate device. So check with your local mobile carrier to see what type of plans they offer.

      Here’s one last thought. Have you tried connecting the airport express to the hotel’s Wi-Fi and then connecting the iPad and printer to the airport express?

      Please follow up. I’m interested to see how you resolved this.
      Thanks, Michael

  18. Brian Weiss says

    Im a teacher and needing to connect my Apple TV to my computer. the projector in my room is already connected to my computer, so I just need the Apple TV connected to one of the VGA inputs in the back of my computer so I can display my iPad through my projector. Is it necessary to buy the Kanex ATVPRO AirPlay Mirroring for VGA Projector or can I just use a HDMI to VGA cable?

    • says

      Hi Brian, In trying to understand your question I’m understanding that your goal is to project the iPad onto the screen. You have a computer and a projector already connected via VGA. If you want to use this already connected set up and add the iPad to the mix you don’t need to add an Apple TV or any other device. Look into the app Reflector. This program will allow you to mirror your iPad screen wirelessly to a Mac or PC. Here’s the link: http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/

      I hope this helps.
      Michael

  19. Spattman says

    Michael,

    I recently discovered the ATV option for business presentations. Your blog makes it very easy and verifies that I have been doing it right. The one problem I have not been able to solve is hooking up an external wired or bluetooth mini boombox. My projector has an HDMI connection and a pretty good speaker in it so it has not become crucial yet. After reading your blog, I am wondering if the Kanex device you mention may be my answer. I don’t need it to covert the HDMI to VGA but I do need a way to connect an external speaker. What do you think?

    • says

      Hi Spattman, that’s a great question. Here’s some of my thoughts. If your projector has a VGA input then give the Kanex box a try. I’ve never open the Kanex up, but I believe all it’s doing is separating the HDMI video and audio signals inside and rerouting it. But before doing this what I would do first, is to look for is an auxiliary audio out on the projector, this way you don’t have to buy anything extra. But you probably have done this already. If all fails, and you still needed to amplify the audio to a larger room. I would then use an external microphone to pick up the audio coming out of the projector speaker. Just a thought: I believe one of the reasons why Bluetooth audio hasn’t worked is because AirPlay is meant to transmit both audio and video signals at the same time. If AirPlay is enabled I don’t think Audio is transmitted through Bluetooth. Please keep me posted would like to know how it worked out.

  20. Ben Bruce says

    Great info in a clear & concise manner. I’ve been trying to get my ipad to my projector wirelessly & everyone mentions apple tv, but no one said to use airport express if you didn’t need internet. I can’t wait to go try it!

    • says

      Ben, glad to see this information was helpful and thanks for the kind words. The airport express is a great add on to an AppleTV and projector setup. I personally don’t connect to the rooms Wi-Fi when doing a presentation, and by doing this I bypass a lot of headaches that may arise if I did. This also helps me to focus on my audience then my technical equipment. Thx Michael

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