How to Connect an iPad to a TV

If you have the right adapters, it's easy to do

The iPad is a great way to cut the cord and cancel cable television, but what about watching on your TV? If you prefer watching on your widescreen TV, connect your iPad to your TV using a wired or wireless connection. You can also connect your headphones to any TV with Bluetooth for a private viewing experience. Here are five ways to achieve your iPad television goals.

The ways to connect an iPad to a TV.
Lifewire / Miguel Co

Connect Your iPad and TV With Apple TV and AirPlay

Apple TV is a great way to connect your iPad to your TV. Because it uses AirPlay, it is wireless. This means that you can keep your iPad in your lap and send the display to your TV. This is the best solution for games, where having a wire connecting the iPad to a TV is limiting.

The apps installed on Apple TV provide a bonus. If you love Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Crackle, you don't need to connect your iPad to enjoy streaming video from these services. The apps run directly on the Apple TV.

Apple TV also works great with the iPhone and iPod touch, allowing you to stream video through AirPlay or use your entertainment system's speakers to play music. Apple's 2017 model of Apple TV has a powerful processor, has access to the full version of the App Store, and can stream video in 4K.

Apple TV connects to a television using standard HDMI cables and uses AirPlay to communicate with an iPad wirelessly. Even apps that don't support AirPlay work using screen mirroring, which replicates the iPad screen on a TV.

Connect the iPad Wirelessly Without Using Chromecast

If you don't want to go the Apple TV route but want to connect your iPad to your TV without any wires, Google Chromecast is an alternative solution. Rather than hooking up the Apple TV to a TV, you'll connect a Chromecast to a TV.

Chromecast by Google
Y2kcrazyjoker4 / CC by 4.0

It has a relatively easy setup process that uses the iPad to configure the Chromecast and hook it into a Wi-Fi network. When everything is set up and working, you can cast the iPad screen to your television—as long as the app supports Chromecast.

That's the significant limiting factor compared to Apple TV's AirPlay, which works with almost every iPad app.

So why use Chromecast? Streaming devices like Chromecast are cheaper than Apple TV. It also works with Android and iOS devices, so if you have an Android smartphone and an iPad, you can use Chromecast with both devices.

Connect the iPad to Your HDTV Through HDMI

The Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter is the easiest and most straightforward way to connect an iPad to an HDTV. It works through an HDMI cable to send the iPad screen to the TV, so it works with any app that runs on an iPad.

HDMI/Lightning adapter

If you're concerned about battery life, the adapter also allows you to connect a USB cable to your iPad. This provides power to the device and keeps the battery from running low while you binge on Seinfeld or How I Met Your Mother. You can also stream your movie collection from a PC to an iPad to an HDTV using Home Sharing. This is a great way to switch from DVD and Blu-ray to digital video without losing the ability to see it on your big-screen TV.

The Lightning connector does not work with the original iPad, iPad 2, or iPad 3. You need a Digital AV Adapter with a 30-pin connector for these older iPad models.

Connect the iPad Using Composite or Component Cables

If your television doesn't support HDMI or you don't have enough HDMI outputs on your HDTV, connect the iPad to the TV with composite or component cables.

Composite AV Cable for iPad (30 pin)

The component adapters separate the video into red, blue, and green, which gives a slightly better picture. However, component adapters are only available for the old 30-pin adapters. Composite adapters use a single yellow video cable and red and white sound cables, which are compatible with most televisions.

The component and composite cables don't support Display Mirroring mode on the iPad, so these cables only work with apps like Netflix and YouTube that support video-out. These cables also fall short of 720p video, so the quality isn't as great as when using a digital AV adapter or Apple TV.

This accessory may not be available for the newer Lightning connector, so you may need a Lightning-to-30-pin adapter.

Connect the iPad With a VGA Adapter

With an Apple Lightning-to-VGA adapter, you can hook up an iPad to a television equipped with a VGA input, a computer monitor, a projector, or another display device that supports VGA. This solution is excellent for monitors. Many newer monitors support multiple display sources. You could switch between using your monitor for your desktop and using it for your iPad.

Lighting to VGA adapter

The VGA adapter supports the Display Mirroring mode. However, it does not transfer sound, so you need to listen through either the iPad's built-in speakers or external speakers.

If you watch through your television, the HDMI adapter or the component cables are the best solutions. If you use a computer monitor or want to use your iPad for large presentations with a projector, the VGA adapter may be the best solution.

This solution is best when using a monitor to project a large screen for an audience, such as for presentations at work or school.

Watch Live TV on Your iPad

Several accessories allow you to watch live TV on an iPad, gaining access to your cable channels and your DVR from any room in the house or while away from home through your data connection.

  • Can I connect my iPad to my TV with USB?

    No. The Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard does not support audio and video, so it can't be used to display your iPad screen.

  • How do I watch TV on my iPad?

    You can watch TV on your iPad using a cable or network TV app. Alternatively, sign up for a cable over internet service like Sling TV.

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