How to Connect an iPad to a Projector

Use your iPad as a projector for presentations and movies

Photo of an iPad, with a Lightning-to-HDMI adapter, and an HDMI cable and Lightning power cable about to connect

When you connect an iPad to a projector, you can show slides, share videos, or simply mirror your screen. A projected screen makes it easier for many people to see what’s on your iPad screen, without people having to crowd around your device or pass it from person to person. In most cases, you can connect your iPad not only to a projector, but also to a television or computer monitor.

The following methods let you connect an iPad to a projector with wires, or, if you have an Apple TV connected to your projector, wirelessly. The main difference between the two is that with a wired connection, what you see on your iPad is what is shown on the screen. With a wireless AirPlay connection, you can either mirror your screen or, if an app supports it, only share specific content from within an app.

Connect an iPad to a Projector With a Cable

Photo of HDMI adapter for iPad
HDMI adapter, with added Lightning port for power.

The projector (or TV or monitor) needs to allow input from either an HDMI or VGA connection. Because the iPad only has a Lightning port, you’ll need an adapter to plug into your iPad, as well as either an HDMI or VGA cable that then plugs into the display device. In most cases, the HDMI connection is what you should use, since it conveys both video and audio with a single cable connection. If you’re a frequent presenter, though, you may encounter older systems that only allow a VGA connection, so you may want to carry both kinds of adapters and/or cables.

Photo of VGA adapter, with added Lightning port for power.
VGA adapter, with added Lightning port for power.
  1. Get the correct adapter.

    If you have an iPad Pro released in (or after) late 2018 and your device has a standard USB-C port, you’ll need either a USB-C to HDMI adapter or a USB-C to VGA adapter, respectively. (You may already have one of these connectors if you’ve connected a macOS laptop with a USB-C connection to a projector. You can use that same USB-C adapter with either your Mac or iPad.) Expect to pay about $70 for either of these adapters.

    Otherwise, your iPad likely has a Lightning cable connector. Every iPad released, from the iPad 4 (released in late 2012) through mid-2018, had a Lightning connector. For those devices, you’ll need a Lightning to HDMI adapter or a Lightning to VGA adapter. Expect to pay about $50 for either of these adapters. (If you have an older iPad with a 30-pin dock connector, we recommend you upgrade to a newer device, since the model you have is no longer able to run the current version of Apple’s system software.)

    USB-C connector (left), Lightning connector (right)
    Left: USB-C connector; Right: Lightning connector.
  2. Get the correct cable.

    You need a cable, too. In most cases, you’ll likely already have either an HDMI or VGA cable with your projector, TV, or monitor. If not, you can purchase a Belkin HDMI cable (about $30) from the Apple store, or buy an HDMI cable (or VGA cable) from a third-party vendor, such as Monoprice.

  3. Connect.

    After you have the right adapter and cable, then connect everything. Plug the adapter into your iPad, plug the cable (HDMI or VGA) into the other end of the adapter, then plug the cable into the projector. If your adapter also includes a port for power, you may need to connect a power cable, too. Some systems and setups won’t work without that power source.

    Then, turn on the projector and turn on your iPad. Often, the projector or display will correctly detect that you’ve connected your iPad and automatically show your screen. If your screen doesn’t appear after the projector has been on for a minute or two, you may need to change a setting on the projector (or TV or monitor). Look for buttons or menu items that control the Source. Make sure that the Source is set to the type of cable you’re using, such as HDMI or VGA. If there are multiple options, modify the source, make sure your iPad is on, then wait 30-seconds or so to see if the image appears. Repeat the process until the image displays as expected.

  4. That's it! Your iPad should now be connected to the projector (or TV or monitor).

Share Your Display Wirelessly

You can also connect an iPad to a projector wirelessly. You'll need a projector with an HDMI connection, an Apple TV, and an HDMI cable. You’ll also need for both your Apple TV and iPad to be on the same Wi-Fi network. (For more on how your iPad and Apple TV can work together, see How to Use Apple TV With an iPad.)

  1. Connect the Apple TV to the projector.

    Use an HDMI cable to connect your Apple TV to your projector. You’re using your projector as the display, replacing what would otherwise typically be your TV. Turn on your projector, and make sure you Apple TV is powered and working. (If you need help getting your Apple TV set up, see How to Set up Apple TV.)

  2. Screen mirroring.

    Next, on your iPad (iOS 12 or later), put your finger in the upper-right corner, just above the network connection and battery life indicators, then swipe down. This lets you access the iOS Control Center, which includes a “Screen mirroring” option by default. Tap Screen Mirroring, then wait a few second until you see the name of your Apple TV listed. Tap the name of your Apple TV. You may be prompted to enter a passcode.

    Screenshot of iPad control center, with Screen Mirroring option visible

    When screen mirroring starts, you’ll notice that the mirroring will change as you rotate your device. Hold it in portrait mode, and mirroring displays in portrait. Turn it to landscape, and mirroring does the same. When you want to end mirroring, access Control Center again, tap Screen Mirroring, and then tap Stop Mirroring.

    If you are using iOS 11, Control Center can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

  3. AirPlay from an app.

    Many apps allow you to display a specific photo, video, or file via AirPlay from within the app. This gives you a way to share content, without sharing everything that appears on your screen. For example, open YouTube, tap the icon that looks like a small TV with signals in the lower left corner of it (the icon is in the upper right corner of your YouTube video), then tap AirPlay & Bluetooth devices to share your video to your Apple TV. In other apps, you tap an icon that looks like a box with an arrow pointing upward from it, then tap AirPlay, then tap to select your Apple TV.

  4. Enjoy the freedom to move around with your iPad, thanks to your wireless connection!

With an iPad linked to a projector, television, monitor, or Apple TV, you’ll see apps, videos, and photos larger than when you look at your iPad screen. Now, you can share what you see, so everyone else in the room can view slides or enjoy a video, too.