Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

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Ependytis
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Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by Ependytis »

I was at a friend's house with a large iPad. They mentioned that did to have a computer and use the iPad instead. I am considering replacing my 2012 Mac Pro for basic tasks like browsing the internet, using Microsoft Office, and streaming videos. Using an iPad offers portability and cost advantages over a Mac Pro or Air. I plan to connect it to an external screen and keyboard respectively using a USB-C or Lightning to HDMI Adapter and a Bluetooth keyboard. Has anyone tried this setup? Any issues?
bondsr4me
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by bondsr4me »

I’m not sure if my post is relevant to OP’s situation.

I have an ipadpro…this weekend I tried to mirror it to my samsung tv so i could watch a free movie from sight and sounds….it could not connect to my tv….not sure why. so, i got my trusty Surface Pro 8 out; and within a few minutes, it mirrored with my tv and i was watching the movie.

i’m not sure how compatible the ipad is with other devices (maybe i need apple tv to do this)…apple can sometimes be frustrating trying to deal with it’s prison walls.
the_wiki
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by the_wiki »

Honestly the iPad is surprisingly terrible to use with external monitors, despite being a powerful tablet computer. When connected to an external display, it always mirrors so you have the same thing on both iPad and external screen. And the external screen is stuck in the same aspect ratio as the iPad, which means it will not fill the entire monitor. And then if you watch a video, it will have black bars inside the iPad screen window because it is not 16:9, so you are left with a video that fills like 1/3 the monitor. It's so bad that it seems intentional by Apple in order to make sure you have to always buy multiple computers from them.

Samsung Galaxy tablets are the closest competitor to iPads and they have a great desktop mode with external monitor support. You really can pretty much replace a computer with them.

Another option is Microsoft Surface tablets. They are just windows computers, so using them with an external display is the same as doing with any PC laptop.

If you are set on Ipad for desktop use, I would just plan on using it without an external display. You can get keyboards and mice for the iPad no problem. There are iPad compatible mice and keyboards in almost any price range.
lazydavid
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by lazydavid »

It would probably work, but isn't exactly ideal. So much of the UX is based around touch that trying to use it hands-off like a desktop is going to be a pretty frustrating experience.

Have you considered getting the larger (12.9") iPad pro and Magic Keyboard? It'd give you a form factor kind of like a miniature 1-piece iMac, and is still somewhat portable.

Connecting it to a screen via HDMI for watching content is fine, when it works--as the post above points out, it's extremely finnicky. I sometimes do that when I travel for work. Less often now that you can log into your own netflix, prime, and youtube accounts on the TV in the room at many chains. But the experience of a $30 Fire Stick is far superior, so that's what we use at home and bring on vacation.

I can third the recommendation of a Surface Pro being a better overall option here. It doesn't have the app store that Apple does and has shorter battery life, but it's a real computer with a desktop OS, and as such is expressly designed for running with an external keyboard/mouse/monitor. My Pro 4 finally succumbed to "spicy pillow syndrome" last year after 8 years of near-daily use as my "kitchen computer". I replaced it with a Pro 9, and enabled smart charging (caps the battery at 80%), so I expect it to last even longer.
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lthenderson
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by lthenderson »

Personally, I could never get into using an iPad as a computer where typing or mouse work is needed. Using external monitors and mice seems to defeat the purpose of portability. I just use my iPad for casual surfing and anytime I need to do typing or use a mouse, I much prefer my desktop computer with a ergonomic work surface and comfortable office chair.
mrb09
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by mrb09 »

the_wiki wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 12:47 pm Honestly the iPad is surprisingly terrible to use with external monitors, despite being a powerful tablet computer. When connected to an external display, it always mirrors so you have the same thing on both iPad and external screen. And the external screen is stuck in the same aspect ratio as the iPad, which means it will not fill the entire monitor. And then if you watch a video, it will have black bars inside the iPad screen window because it is not 16:9, so you are left with a video that fills like 1/3 the monitor. It's so bad that it seems intentional by Apple in order to make sure you have to always buy multiple computers from them.
I have a 5th gen iPad Air, plugged into a USB hub with a DisplayPort output. If I go into settings and set multitasking, external display, stage manager, it drives my 4k monitor at 4k resolution, and you can move windows back and forth between the iPad display and the monitor. You can even do multiple windows on the external display.

I share a keyboard/mouse/monitor with my gaming/photo editing PC, my iPad is my daily driver.
the_wiki
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by the_wiki »

mrb09 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 1:35 pm

I have a 5th gen iPad Air, plugged into a USB hub with a DisplayPort output. If I go into settings and set multitasking, external display, stage manager, it drives my 4k monitor at 4k resolution, and you can move windows back and forth between the iPad display and the monitor. You can even do multiple windows on the external display.

I share a keyboard/mouse/monitor with my gaming/photo editing PC, my iPad is my daily driver.
Man, I am happy to be wrong. That must be a new feature since I last tried 2-3 years ago on my iPad Pro 10.5. I will have to give it a try with my m1 Ipad 11.

I do think if I were buying a brand new device for this usage, I would still look at Samsung or Windows. They have put more effort into making it a real desktop experience along with normal file systems for saving data.
mrb09
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by mrb09 »

the_wiki wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 1:46 pm
mrb09 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 1:35 pm

I have a 5th gen iPad Air, plugged into a USB hub with a DisplayPort output. If I go into settings and set multitasking, external display, stage manager, it drives my 4k monitor at 4k resolution, and you can move windows back and forth between the iPad display and the monitor. You can even do multiple windows on the external display.

I share a keyboard/mouse/monitor with my gaming/photo editing PC, my iPad is my daily driver.
Man, I am happy to be wrong. That must be a new feature since I last tried 2-3 years ago on my iPad Pro 10.5. I will have to give it a try with my m1 Ipad 11.

I do think if I were buying a brand new device for this usage, I would still look at Samsung or Windows. They have put more effort into making it a real desktop experience along with normal file systems for saving data.
Things have changed quite a bit recently with iOS for the iPad. In addition to stage manager for external monitors, the files app works with USB drives and the major cloud drives — I have mine hooked to iCloud Drive, google drive and Microsoft OneDrive. I can use a standard USB-C card reader to read my compact flash from my camera.

Not sure how this works for older iPads with the lightning connector, but the ones with the USB-C connector seem to work pretty well.
Cecelio
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Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by Cecelio »

I've used lightning to HDMI for schools. Whatever was cheap on Amazon. It works fine. Note, the lightning to HDMI adaptor requires the ipad power cord plugged into it to work.
The more square ipad screen does not fit to the edges of the monitor screen. You lose 20% of the screen, but it looks OK.
I never tried with a mouse.
Topic Author
Ependytis
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:10 am

Re: Connecting an iPad to a Screen and Wireless Keyboard

Post by Ependytis »

Thanks for everyone's posts. It was very informative and will help me make a decision.
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