iPad + digital projector = ?
April 22, 2012 7:23 AM   Subscribe

IPad to to a digital projector... it doesn't seem to be working. Help!

So, I was told I could run my iPad2 to a projector, that all I would need was the right cables. So I bought them. I ignorantly thought it would work the way a laptop seems to, imagining that whatever was on the screen of my iPad would show up. I realize now that's not how it works... I guess it can only display certain apps? I was hoping to show a browser and a bunch of other stuff and presentations. So far, I've shown nothing though.

The IT guy at the university I was speaking couldn't get *anything* to work, and so now I'm trying to figure it out myself. I can't seem to find any thorough explanations online of what the capabilities and limitations are to running an iPad to a projector, and it's frustrating. Right now I feel like I bought a cable that I shouldn't have bought and maybe I should just use a laptop... But I hate giving up and I would rather bring my iPad to things than my laptop.

Anybody know a lot about this stuff and can give me the 411? Thanks so much!
posted by miss lynnster to Technology (11 answers total)
Try different combinations of turning on the projector first and then the iPad, and vice versa. The ipad2 should mirror the screen onto the projector. Are you using a VGA adapter?
posted by tamitang at 7:35 AM on April 22, 2012

Response by poster: I have a VGA adaptor to the iPad, yes.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:04 AM on April 22, 2012

I've had the same problem, and I'm pretty sure display on an external monitor is limited to certain apps (for example, Netflix works, as does Keynote). This CNET video says the same thing, and seems to indicate that the only way to get true mirroring is by jail breaking. They do provide instructions, though they may be for the 1st gen iPad.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:08 AM on April 22, 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00D0S44eVW8 shows you how to output the screen to a vga monitor. iPad 2 does mirroring seamlessly. There are two different cables that need to be purchased. The VGA adapter and the HDMI adapter. HDMI is for watching videos on the television, the VGA adapter is for presentations/projectors. HDMI doesn't mirror the iPad desktop just outputs HDMI from apps displaying it.
posted by pdxpogo at 8:12 AM on April 22, 2012

You should just need one of these and an VGA cable, or one of these and an HDMI cable.

What version of iOS is running?

Are you using the Apple parts or third-party versions?

The iPad 1 only supports mirroring via jailbreaking [DisplayOut is the thing to install], but the iPad 2 does mirroring out of the box. The times I've seen mirroring done, there were no special gymnastics required. Plugged in the adapter and the VGA cable, switched the input on the TV to VGA, and there it was.

On preview: pdxpogo, the product page on the Apple Store claims that the HDMI adapter does video mirroring on the iPad 2 or later. I've never seen it attempted, however.
posted by chazlarson at 8:17 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I can mirror my entire iPad2 through a projector to a screen.

Procedure: plug the normal VGA cable into the projector. Plug the VGA end of the iPad dongle into the cable. Plug the small end of the dongle into the iPad. Turn everything on.

Wait for the projector to finish warming up...

I've never had any problems --- I just plug everything in in the obvious way and it worked.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:25 AM on April 22, 2012

Are you sure you have an iPad 2 and not the first gen iPad?
posted by chairface at 8:36 AM on April 22, 2012

No idea on the iPad end, but not all projectors can handle all screen resolutions (i.e. 1024 x 768, 1280 x 720 etc etc) and not all projectors are very good at auto-detecting which resolution they're supposed to be receiving.

"Digital projector" is kind of more of a marketing term than a technical term - it really just means that the light source is LED or LCD or something other than an incandescent lamp. An older or cheaper digital projector may still not be able to accept a widescreen HD signal at 1920 x 1080 (or whatever it is that the iPad puts out).

And speaking of auto-detecting, projectors are normally set to auto-detect input source, but this function can be turned off, so you might actually have to manually select which input you're using.

And the other general thing is that uni's & colleges don't always have the latest & greatest, so if you're connecting to a provided projector, especially one that's installed in a ceiling or something, it's entirely possible the projector can't handle your iPad video resolution.

IOW, it's probably a projector problem rather than an iPad problem.

I don't do a ton of video stuff, but it's pretty common that when I hook random laptop A to random projector B I have to do some poking around in the menu of the projector and on the graphics properties of the laptop to get the two to connect properly.

I can't really find any info on whether you can change the output resolution of the iPad like you can on a laptop.

So troubleshooting step by step:

1) check that the projector is set to VGA input
2) find the manual for the projector online (best sources for this are usually under the Support section of the manufacturer's website or find the model at projectorcentral.com) and see if it's possible to manually select the projector's resolution and/or what resolutions the projector is capable of accepting.
3) If possible, go thru the projector's menu to select an appropriate resolution
4) If possible, change the output resolution of the iPad to one that is compatible with the projector.
5) If none of this works, sigh and resign yourself to being a victim of rapidly-changing technology, and dig out your laptop. Or your thumb drive, which has your presentation on it in both Mac & Windows-friendly formats and borrow somebody else's laptop.

tl;dr - the iPad2 might be a bit too cutting-edge to play nice with all projectors. You need a back-up plan, either your laptop or the ability to put your presentation on someone else's laptop.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:51 AM on April 22, 2012

The iPad 1 doesn't mirror, but the iPad 2 should as long as you are updated to at least iOs 5. Check to make sure you're updated. Good luck!
posted by ceramicblue at 8:54 AM on April 22, 2012

The iPad2 definitely is able to mirror to a display. You said VGA; are you really using analog VGA? I've only tried it with HDMI and DVI, both of which work grea.t

Some apps deliberately block the mirroring. Also IIRC some apps treat the second display separately, not mirroring but showing different things on the two screens. I'd start with some very simple app, like Settings or Safari.
posted by Nelson at 11:02 AM on April 22, 2012

Response by poster: Ok, it sounds like I need to try this again. I've got all that stuff and am using 5.1 on an iPad2. I don't know why nobody could get it to work... Hmmm. Thank you guys for telling me it's supposed to. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 6:33 AM on April 23, 2012

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