Hooking up an iPad to an IWB

Lately, the most popular question I’m asked by teachers is how to hook up an iPad to an Interactive Whiteboard. Technically, there isn’t a way of hooking up an iPad to an IWB. Rather you’re connecting it to a projector as, at this time of writing, there is no way to physically interact with the iPad using the interactive whiteboard and you still have to use the iPad itself to do so. I can think of three ways to hook up the iPad to the projector and there may be more.

Apple TV

Apple TV is a digital media receiver developed made by Apple. It basically hooks up your iPad to a projector. However, it does a lot more than that too. In order to make it work, you need to plug the Apple TV into your projector and then you can wirelessly work with your iPad and the results are seen on the big screen. Apple TV costs around €109 at the moment.

VGA adapter

A cheaper option is to buy an adapter from Apple as shown on the right. There are two possible disadvantages to this. Firstly, the iPad is no longer a wireless device so it can’t be easily passed around the room. The second disadvantage is that many iPad apps are not compatible with the adapter.

Reflection App

The third option, that I know of, is the Reflection App, which essentially mirrors whatever is on your iPad onto the big screen. There’s a small bit of setting up to do but it seems to work well. It costs around €12 for a single licence of the app.

I presume someone is going to invent an app or a product that will allow people to interact on the IWB with an iPad plugged in at some stage but for now these will have to do!

Last Update: August 17, 2017  

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9 thoughts on “Hooking up an iPad to an IWB”

  1. Hi Simon
    I did come across a company at ISTE conference in Philadelphia last year who had developed an zoo,ovation that turn your iPad into a virtual IWC and saved the info projected so that it could be shared with the pupils. It cost $50 approx however I cannot remember the name of the company.

    Thomas Hennessy

  2. Apple TV is a
    little bit expensive, but if offers an explicit kind of service where you can
    navigate your projector using your
    iPad, then I think its worth buying
    for the sake of improving our educational system.

  3. I’ve used both the VGA adapter and the Apple TV set up.

    With the VGA adapter I haven’t come across any incompatible apps, although it won’t let you play a film rented from iTunes. As you mentioned it does mean that the iPad loses its effectiveness as a mobile device as your ties to your projector.

    The Apple TV set-up required that I also purchased a Kanex ATV Pro as my projector doesn’t have a hdmi connection. I wrote a blog post on how it has worked: http://www.theinsidelane.net/post/38329082547/apple-tv-in-the-classroom-a-start

    Despite some drawbacks I prefer the Apple TV set-up as it means I can carry my iPad/iPod around the classroom and continue to display and edit content displayed on the IWB. The iPod has become a very useful, mobile, on-the-fly visualiser!

  4. Thanks for all the comments, guys. I wonder is it easier to connect the other types of tablets to a projector? Also, I was surprised that one couldn’t interact with the big screen with a stylus or finger…

  5. I’ve successfully used the VGA connector to connect to the IWB also. It does have restrictions – you are tied to the connection and can’t move around and you have to interact with the iPad itself rather than the IWB.

    The Reflection app has been renamed Reflector and can be downloaded at https://www.reflectorapp.com/ It won’t work for me as I think you have to have a later version of the iPad. Another app that does the same thing is iDisplay.

    • Thanks for the addition, Damien. I had a feeling that this article was going to get a few comments. It seems connecting the iPad to a big screen is what a lot of teachers want to do these days.


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