Connect Ipad with monitor – this is how it works

An iPad can drive an external monitor in your car

Apple offers three methods to connect iPad and computer monitor at once: You can display iPad content on your Mac via Airplay, plug a USB-C iPad into your Mac, and use it as an external mini-monitor for Mac content. With the current beta of macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4 Apple expands this capability and merges Mac and iPad via Universal Control . Until it does, you can resort to our alternative method. This guide is about the third option: connecting a Bluetooth device desktop monitor to an iPad – Without Mac.

Connect iPad to monitor: The right cable

If you have the right cable or adapter, you can easily connect your iPad to an external monitor. This only takes a few seconds and the iPad image is displayed on your monitor or TV set. This is especially easy with the newer iPad Pro models with USB-C and a USB-C or Displayport monitor. If you connect a USB-C iPad via cable to a USB-C monitor (at Amazon), the content of the iPad display is immediately shown on the external screen.

Tip An iPad with USB-C can also be connected excellently with one of the widespread Displayport monitors (at Amazon). You only need a cheap Displayport to USB-C cable for this . However, the iPad then only runs on battery power.

An iPad with Lightning interface requires an additional adapter, Apple has about for 55 euros a Lightning model with HDMI and Lightning interface as output (the second Lightning interface is necessary for charging). However, the resolution is limited to 1080p here.

There are almost no configuration options: You can only adjust the display via a simple system setting and activate an HDR-10 option, for example. By the way, this system setting is only visible when a computer monitor is connected to the iPad. The sound is transmitted in all cases.

Does this turn the iPad into a desktop??

If you have an additional Bluetooth mouse and Bluetooth keyboard available, you can almost work like on a desktop PC/Mac – after all, any cheap 24- or 27-inch display is far more ergonomic than an 11-inch screen. If you have to revise a Word or Excel document for several hours, for example, such a setup can be quite useful. But it remains a stopgap solution. In our opinion, such a workstation can’t completely replace a Mac, iOS has too many limitations for that – for example, when it comes to conveniently working with several apps simultaneously. Likewise, the use of an external mouse is quite cumbersome and unfamiliar.

The hair in the soup: black edges

In most cases, however, the iPad screen is only mirrored – on the external display with a resolution of 1080p – and you see black borders. This is especially noticeable on a large high-end display, less so on old HD monitors. Most current desktop monitors have a page format like 16:9, often even 21:9. However, the internal display of an iPad has the page format 4.3 to 3 and therefore shows the iPad screen with wide resp. very wide black borders left and right. This is unattractive, only video output uses the entire screen.

This system setting is only visible when a monitor is connected

Hardware and resolutions

Almost all desktop monitors are supported, but also TVs and projectors. The fact that there are always problems with adapters, primarily with old projectors, is a problem that is probably also familiar from many Macbooks. Not without reason, some educational institutions with iPads prefer to use an Apple TV for presentations, which can be reliably controlled wirelessly.

What is surprising: If you own an iPad Pro with Thunderbolt, i.e. the iPad Pro 12.9″ (5. Generation) or iPad Pro 11″ of the 3. In the 2nd generation, you can even connect it via Thunderbolt to the 6K monitor Apple Pro Display XDR (however, it does not receive a 6K image). The iPad is also charged via Thunderbolt. The older iPads Pro 2018 can at least also control a 5K display. One difference: When playing videos in full-screen mode, 4K resolution is offered via display port and USB-C, but only 1080p when mirroring the screen – at least with 60 hertz. With Lightning, the refresh rate is limited to a lame 30 hertz. Apple’s own USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter only supports a maximum of 30 hertz on a 4K monitor. Only adapters with HDMI 2 support.0 support a more comfortable 60 hertz at 4K.


Video output not only includes video player and iMovie, but also the presentation apps Keynote and PowerPoint are supported. If you start a presentation with Keynote and Powerpoint, the external display is used as output source. On the iPad you can see the presenter view and control a slideshow specifically. This way you get your notes or a timer displayed during the presentation.


iMovie also supports external monitors. Here you can use the external monitor as a preview monitor and edit on the iPad. You can immediately see the results of edits, such as how the finished movie will look on a 4K display. The internal iPad display is not always the best reference.

In iMovie can serve the external monitor für the preview


The connection of external monitors can be very practical in some cases, external monitors are cheap and available everywhere. From Apple, however, the subject is treated somewhat stepmotherly. Probably due to the fact that for Apple monitors are a marginal topic and probably more interested in selling additional Macbooks and iMacs.

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