wasting bandwidth since 1999

Displaying The iPad

When the iOS 4.2 update was released earlier this week, I was expecting some nice new features for my iPad, although few were really surprises given what had been promised by Apple and revealed by developers.

However, one particular element I’ve been looking for from day 1 is the ability to show material from the device on a TV or projector.

Not just slide shows but web sites, videos, documents, and… well who knows what a group larger than three might want to view on the big screen?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many apps that will display their stuff through Apple’s VGA adapter and I’ve found few changes arriving with the new OS.

Still can’t show any part of the main screens or the iPad interface, nothing from Safari, and little or nothing from other apps, built-in or not.

In case anyone’s interested, here is some of what I’ve found while playing with my iPad connected to a pretty standard data projector, in no particular order.


App (cost) Notes
Photos (built-in) Shows pictures only when playing a slide show
FlickStackr ($1.99) Shows any pictures from a Flickr account including those of contacts and others
Art Studio ($2.99) Displays drawing window but not tools or other parts of the interface
Keynote ($9.99) Finally shows slides and notes on iPad while showing slides on display!
Video (built-in) Plays video on external device but not on iPad screen
Expedition Browser ($.99) Safari can’t show a web page but this one can! Including tool bar if turned on in Settings.
YouTube (built-in) Shows video (on external screen only) but not the search page or other screens
Good Reader ($1.99) The iPad’s Swiss army knife (and a great bargain), this app will show any PDF or Word file

A few disappointments include apps from ABC (probably don’t want me watching their stuff on the big TV without a flood of ads), Colbert’s The Word (which, admittedly, is an iPhone app), TED (why not? isn’t this coming from YouTube?), PBS (only a few videos play), FlipBoard (so much for hype), TWIT Pad (considering what a pioneer Laporte is in all this stuff, you’d think he could make it work).

And many apps that could be considered instructional.

If you have any suggestions for this list or any other insights about displaying and presenting from an iPad, I’d love to hear them and include them here.


  1. Tim Owens

    It bugs me as well that the VGA connection won’t just display the screen contents in lieu of something more fancy like Keynote’s presentation view. I had thought from testing that anything delivered via QuickTime displayed on the external connection, which is why I’m surprised TED doesn’t (wonder if they’re outright blocking it?)

    Unfortunately the best I have to offer is to jailbreak your device and use something like ScreenSplitter to show the full contents of any screen wirelessly, which isn’t smooth but looks really nice for presentations. That’s what I did for the podcast and plan on doing for my presentation at VSTE.

  2. Matt Yohe

    Unfortunately this isn’t possible (yet) without jailbreaking your device.

    If you choose to, the app you want is called DisplayOut.

  3. Stephen Downes

    I can’t believe people are falling for this. I use an old fashioned device called a computer, and I get all these things for free on old fashioned technology called ‘web sites’.
    – Shows pictures only when playing a slide show
    – Shows any pictures from a Flickr account including those of contacts and others
    – Displays drawing window but not tools or other parts of the interface
    – Shows slides and notes on iPad
    – Plays video on
    – Show a web page
    – YouTube (built-in)
    – Show any PDF or Word file

  4. Tim

    Stephen: Point one, the iPad IS a computer. Period.

    Second, the tablet format (iPad and others) has some distinctive advantages over those “old fashioned” devices, not the least of which is very long battery life, that make them excellent for presentations in a K12 classroom setting, my area of interest. Is there anything wrong with lobbying Apple, app publishers, or any other company, to update their products in ways that will improve my experience?

  5. Jim Siegl

    I find it easier to search the app store for apps that support video out using Google advanced search. (257 apps supporting vga out)


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