May 26, 2013

How to Project Your iPad Screen

Teaching using an iPad? Demoing iPad software? Mirroring your iPad display onto a projector screen is a great way to share with your audience exactly what you see. And why not do it in untethered style—wirelessly? Here's how…

The original iPad supported video-output as a per-app feature—to drive an external display or projector, you could only use certain apps, which were specifically written to support video-out. Fortunately, beginning with the iPad 2 and all subsequent iPads (as well as with the iPhone 4s and newer), you are now able to mirror the display independently of the app you are running. Furthermore, iPad 2's and newer also support wireless video mirroring, using Apple's AirPlay protocol (aka AirPlay Display Mirroring).

A. My Setup

A1. Connect your laptop to the projector
As per usual.

A2. Run the AirServer software on your laptop
  Tip: You can use passwords in either the Airport Express , or in the AirServer software, in order to restrict or to allow your audience members to project their iPad displays as well.
N.B. While I currently use the OS X version of AirServer, Reflector is an alternative, available, as is AirServer, in both OS X and Windows versions.

A3. Insert Airport Express between your laptop and its Ethernet drop. 
If you have the opportunity to test in advance, you may find that the pre-existing WiFi infrastructure is sufficient. However, large, institutional WiFi networks are not normally designed with Apple's AirPlay protocol in mind, and routinely block the multicasts on which this protocol depends. By configuring your own WiFi hotspot, you ensure AirPlay will work between your iPad and your laptop.

Tip: The advantage of using the AirPort Express device  to implement your hotspot, is that the current version comes with two Ethernet ports. You unplug the Ethernet cable provided for your laptop's use and insert that into the Airport Express. You then use a 2nd Ethernet cable to plug your laptop into the Airport Express. Optional: You can forego the 2nd Ethernet cable by configuring your laptop to also use your WiFi hotspot.

Tip: To prevent or to restrict the ability of your audience members to share their iPad displays as well, you can use passwords in the Airport Express and/or in the AirServer software.

Tip: Set up your AirPort Express in advance, with a password (recommended), and connect your iPad to this WiFi network. Then when it's time to mirror your iPad display, you need only power-up the AirPort Express, and select its WiFi network from your iPad—having previously connected to this network, your iPad will not prompt you for the password again. And with your laptop plugged into Ethernet you don't have to set up anything. N.B. The current AirPort Express can be configured from an iPad; a computer is not necessary.

A4. Ensure your iPad is using the WiFi network above.
Reference: Joining and trouble-shooting WiFi networks, Apple

A5. Select laptop-running-AirServer as the AirPlay Mirroring destination.
As long as (a) your iPad is using the WiFi network you just set up, and (b) your laptop is running the AirServer or similar software, it will be visible as an AirPlay-accessible device from your iPad. Reference: iOS: How to use AirPlay Mirroring, Apple ht5209


B. Screen Mirroring Options


B1. Cabled Method
Need to purchase the appropriate iPad video cable: 30-pin or Lightning connector for your iOS device, with a VGA or HDMI connector for your projector:
 • 30-pin to VGA (iPad 2, 3)  
 • 30-pin to HDMI (iPad 2, 3) 
 • Lightning to VGA (iPad 4+
 • Lightning to HDMI (iPad 4+) 


iPad is  tethered to projector (or podium)
NB. If your projector or TV has both VGA & HDMI inputs, HDMI has advantage of transmitting audio as well as video. If using VGA output, if you need audio as well, you will need to route it separately via your iPad's earphone jack.

B2. Wireless to AppleTV to projector
Wirelessly Mirror your iPad display to an AppleTV device, which is then connected to your projector.

NB. If your projector does not accept HDMI inputs, you will need to use an HDMI-to-VGA converter, as the AppleTV has no VGA output. 

AppleTV + Kanex HDMI-to-VGA adaptor

No computer required 

(1) AppleTV 
(2) HDMI to VGA converter (unless projector accepts HDMI)
May require your own WiFi wireless access point 

Apple Airport Express WiFi Access Point


B3. Wireless to laptop to projector

You just add 3rd-party software to your laptop, such as AirServer or Reflector, both available for Mac or PC computers. I use AirServer software, running on a MacBook Air laptop. If I can't find an appropriate WiFi network, I use my MacBook as a hotspot.

Connecting a projector to your laptop is straightforward.

Adds ability to simultaneously display multiple iPads.

Adds more control over the resolution of the projected image.

Requires 3rd-party software on your laptop, e.g. AirServer or Reflector
May require your own WiFI wireless access point 

Apple Airport Express WiFi Access Point