Using An External Display

This note looks at the options for using an iPad or iPhone4+ with an external display. This is often required in a training, classroom or presentation environment.

Connect a cable directly between iPad and Projector

The easiest way to project an iPad (or iPhone 4+) screen is to use a cable to connect the iPad directly to a projector or HD TV. The iPad screen then appears on the projected screen. This process is called ‘Mirroring and is supported on the iPad 2 & 3, not on the original iPad1.

There are two Apple adapter cables that can do this. The Apple Digital AV Adapter (MD098ZM/A) is for connecting HDMI devices such as HD TV’s. Most current projectors do not have this connector and so need to use the Apple VGA Adapter (MC552ZM/B).

The advantage of this method is that it is quick and simple, as it does not require any configuration of external hardware or software. The disadvantage is that the iPad is tethered to a cable and so the presenter cannot move around the room. [Also the 30 pin iPad dock connector does not have a locking clip and tends to fall out if the iPad is moved]

Connect wirelessly to a PC or MAC wired to a Projector

The iPad has an inbuilt wireless system called ’AirPlay’ that is designed to allow iPad screens to be displayed on an Apple TV, which then feeds a large screen display or projector. As an alternative to the Apple TV, 3rd parties have now made software available that can be installed on a PC or MAC; the iPad then connects wirelessly to the PC/MAC.

The PC/MAC displays the iPad screen and connects to a projector in the normal way, usually through a VGA or similar cable. One example of this software is AirServer2 that costs about £10 and is available for both PCs and MACs.

This solution allows the presenter to move around with the iPad/iPhone but does require a software install on the PC.

Other Options

Apple TV2 is a small box that receives AirPlay signals from an iPad or iPhone. The Apple TV does not have an inbuilt display and outputs signals to an external display such as an HD TV using an HDMI cable. Unfortunately as stated above, most current projectors do not have an HDMI connection. The Kanex ATV Pro Airplay Mirroring For VGA Projector Cable is a small box that connects to an Apple TV and provides a VGA output for a projector to use.

The advantages are: simple to set up – no configuration involved. It uses a wireless link so the presenter can move around. The disadvantage is that it requires an Apple TV (£99) in addition to the Kanex box (£50) and so is quite expensive.

In situations where a school or other organization has many VGA only projectors installed replacing them all with HDMI projectors would be extremely expensive. The kanex box solves this3.


1. The original iPad supports the external display of certain Apps. It does not support Mirroring.
2. Needs 2nd generation Apple TV or later.
3. Case study here:

Presenting Remotely Using Keynote

When using an external display with an iPad it is often convenient to be able to control the iPad remotely. Keynote Remote is a free APP that runs on an iPhone (Or iPod Touch or MAC) that enables Keynote presentations on the iPad to be controlled remotely. Keynote Remote will run on an iPhone from 3GS upwards.

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