Using iPads with projectors, LED Screens and Apple TV

To read and complete video tutorials in this section should take around 50 minutes.

Most ‘Data’ projectors, or ‘PowerPoint’ projectors as they are sometimes known, will work with the iPad. You can also use many of the connection methods to connect your iPad to your LED or Plasma screen or TV. You will need to understand how to connect the projector, monitor or TV to the iPad.

In this module you will learn

  • How to connect to a projector using a VGA cable
  • How to connect to a projector using an HDMI cable
  • How to connect a projector wirelessly via Apple TV
  • How to connect to a projector wirelessly using  ‘Reflector’ and PC or Mac (no Apple TV needed)
  • Lots of different projection techniques and lots of special effects
  • Then two suggestions for Pico projectors, which Hirstwood Training have researched.

As you progress through this part of the tutorial you may find the videos essential, if you are trying to set up a projector with an iPad.

Then we will explain how to connect iPads to projectors using good old-fashioned leads. Although wirelessly using Apple TV is probably the best and safest way, the cable connection is by far the easiest, the most reliable and probably something you can achieve today in your classroom if you have the right leads to do it.

Connecting to a projector

(These features only work with an iPad 2 and onwards)

First of all is some disappointing news. After you have connected your iPad to your ‘interactive whiteboard projector’ or your ‘interactive LED/Plasma screen’, the touch screen functionality only works on the iPad screen.  Touching your interactive whiteboard or LED/Plasma screen will not affect the content on the iPad.

Why you would want to connect your iPad to a projector or large screen TV?

  • You can make the image large or small to suit the student or child’s vision
  • You can increase or decrease the brightness of the image
  • You can keep the iPad away from a student
  • You can front or back project into unique little box environments
  • You can project onto nets or sheets
  • You can make the image large enough so that the class group or student group can enjoy the experience

Why should you connect your iPod to a projector?

As always with technology, connecting the iPad to a projector is quite straightforward when you know how. As we mentioned at the top of this page, using Apple TV or an app like ‘reflector,’ means that there are no wires between the iPad and the projector. Connecting via HDMI or VGA lead does involve wires, but can be more reliable.

Watch the video How to connect using a VGA lead first. The VGA connection is by far the most reliable way of connecting an iPad to any kind of display. However, if you want loud sound you will need to connect an external speaker via the headphone socket on the iPad.

Connecting a projector to the iPad using a VGA lead.

HDMI cables should be much simpler and indeed the cable is neat and easy to plug-in. If you were going to operate your iPad through an LED or Plasma screen, rather than a projector, HDMI is definitely a good choice. However , HDMI doesn’t just take the video feed from the iPad it also takes the sound feed from the iPad. So the sound will come out of your screen, which if it’s a TV it’s no problem because it already have speakers. But when connecting to a projector, unless you have an on board speaker or external speaker which you can link through the projector there will be no sound. Watch the next video and you will see it’s not quite as complicated as it may seem!

Connecting a projector to the iPad using a HDMI lead.

Connecting wirelessly to a projector should be by far the best way to do it. But,as you may expect, it is also the most complicated way to do it. Once you have ‘Apple TV’ working it’s normally quite reliable. If there are lots of Wi-Fi systems around you it can be prone to losing the signal from the iPad. This can be immensely frustrating when you have a class group waiting for your performance.

You will need either an available Wi-Fi or a router, you also need an Apple TV. A really good way for some schools to connect ,especially if you are worried about the Internet, is to just use the router which is not connected to the Internet at all.  In the following ‘Apple TV’ video I demonstrate how to connect the iPad to a router, without going onto the Internet. This may be much safer option to many of you and it means you are also not interfering with the school Wi-Fi.

Connecting to a projector wirelessly through Apple TV

Apple TV is one way to connect wirelessly, but if you have a PC or Mac there is an ingenious way you can do it. The PC or Mac needs to be physically connected to the data projector by either a VGA or HDMI lead. Then, as long as your iPad and your laptop are connected to the same wireless system, you can use a bit of software called ‘Reflector’ to wirelessly project your iPad screen. If you would like to learn more about  ‘reflector’ follow this link.

Connecting to a projector wirelessly with Reflector


You may wish to connect your iPad to your plasma or LED screens in your classroom or day room. However, if you would like something portable, then a ‘pico’ projector is the thing for you.

Pico projectors are small and sometimes battery-operated portable projectors. Many are small enough to put in your pocket and be used in any environment you want. The only drawback to ‘Pico’ projectors is that they are not as bright as some of the bigger projectors.  The main advantage is that these projectors are very portable which make the visual image really accessible for our learners, because you can project almost anywhere. As you will see later in this section ‘Pico’ projectors also have the great advantage of using LED, so will never need a lamp replacement. So, when using a pico projector your flexibility is limited only by your imagination even projecting onto walls can be really exciting!

Simple wall projection with a ‘Pico’ projector

Now you are beginning to get adventurous with projectors, you could try projecting onto nets, like laundry baskets or mosquito nets from IKEA. This method will get the image very close to the learner. This can be a little more visually stimulating, as the learner will see the image at different distances. This may assist them in developing their accommodation and scanning skills. In the next movie we use lots of firework apps like ‘Real Fireworks Artwork‘.

Projecting into nets with ‘Pico’ projectors

Although back projection is relatively easy when you know how, the next video will demonstrate the distance sometimes needed. If you experiment with the distance between the projector and the nets you’ll find that you will be able to increase and decrease the size of the image using the app ‘Hot Lights‘.

The effect created in the last video is stunning, and here is how to do it!

Pico Projectors

‘Pico’ projector is the word used to describe small portable projectors. These are tiny projectors which will easily fit in your pocket and what they call ‘palm’ size projectors are slightly larger – fitting in the palm of your hand. To give you an idea about the capabilities of ‘Pico’ projectors the following videos features two Pico projectors, which are priced between £200 to £500. You will see the different capabilities that they have. The first is the Pico Genie P100 with a brightness of 85 lumens, it’s not very bright compared to a classroom projector which was more likely to be around 1000 lumens. However, it’s bright enough and its a very simple cheap projector which I use on the courses all the time. The app we used in this movie was one of our old favourites ‘puppet pals‘.

Pico Projector Genie P100

The ‘Pico Genie M400 Projector is more expensive, however it is a lot more flexible, with the ability to play PowerPoint, Word and Excel files as well as photographs and movies from a memory stick. This has the advantage over many projectors in the fact that it uses standard VGA and HDMI cables. This kind of projector is a brilliant ‘all in one’ package and, with 300 lumens, it’s pretty bright, it’s perfect for connecting your iPad, but if you just want to show pictures or movies from a memory stick, it will do that as well. The speakers used in the videos which follow are the ‘SW100‘ and a ‘JamBox‘ from jawbone.

The Pico Genie M400 projector

The following videos will give you lots of projection ideas for using ‘Pico’ or standard ‘data’ projectors. Firstly, projecting into tents is a wonderful idea for stories and small group or one-to-one sessions. Tents can also be wonderful escape places for people who have autism, this environment will cutdown visual and sound clutter. Moreover, if you find it hard to find a dark space to project into, simply throw a blackout sheet over the top of the tent and it will turn it into a magical environment. The apps using the video are heat pad and little fox music box

Take a light-coloured ‘event tent’ and do some wonderful iPad tent projection

A plastic box definitely won’t have been high on your equipment list when considering projecting your iPad. However, as you’ve probably got one, then it’s worth investigating the possibility of its storage days being limited. Because it makes a wonderful projection effect! In the following video you will see how using an app called ‘Gaze

Take a plastic box and a ‘Pico’ projector and you can create an amazing fireplace in your setting.

Getting an image very close to learner may be important as the visual field may be limited, or the visual acuity may be affected. You may need to experiment with the size and distance of the image from the learner. In this next video we will show you how to project onto plastic screens which are actually opaqued trays from IKEA. We demonstrate Ashbury 3D using visualisers and relaxation  apps, but most importantly this is a great way to keep the image in the learners communication zone.

 Projecting onto trays getting really close to the learner!

And lastly in the section let’s look at projecting into wastepaper bins. Why? Because the image is very close to the learner and it is absolutely mesmerising – as you will see. The apps we’ve used here include  ‘Acrobots‘, which is wonderful and not just for visual skills but for maths and matching skills as well. We also feature ‘sensory sound box‘ and ‘sensory light box’ – two apps which feature a lot in our training.

This is why you would use dustbin projection!

In many multisensory rooms we are now using iPads with projectors, and it is proving to be a very popular technique for both individuals and groupwork. The iPad screen is fantastic and you have seen how to make the image bigger or smaller, close or far away. Using a projector with an iPad can offer  many advantages, but some people will still prefer to look at the screen itself. In the future, there will be sensors that will be able to attach to screens and walls to make the wall as interactive as the iPad itself…


In the section we have learned how to…

  • Connect the iPad to a projector using various methods.
  • How to connect the iPad to a TV or screen.
  • You have learned about pico projectors.
  • You have also learned that the wall isn’t always the best place to project.
  • If you haven’t already done the module about visual learning, you will find more projection ideas there.

If you find any faults, or feel that we need additions to this module, please feel free to contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.

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