How To Use The The iPad VGA Connector | iPad VGA Out Apps

You have probably heard or read many times about the iPad VGA Connector.  But you also might be wondering what it is used for and what works with it.  This valuable little accessory for your iPad is pretty darn handy and can prove to be very useful.  It also has limitations.  So let’s take a look at it and see what it can do for you.

The iPad VGA Connector

Apple-iPad-Dock-Connector-AdapterFirst of all, what is the iPad VGA Connector?  It is a small accessory that connects to your iPad dock port on one end and then connects to a VGA source on the other end.  This “VGA Source” could be a TV, monitor, projector, or LCD display.

The next thing you might wonder is why you would want to do this.  Here are a few of the things you can do with the VGA Connector connected to one of the above resources:

  • Show a slideshow of of your photos
  • Show a movie from your Videos app
  • Use an app to display a Keynote or Powerpoint Presentation
  • Us an app to stream movies or display documents
  • Display flashcards or Study aids to fellow students for study groups

Note: Not all apps in the app store and on the iPad support Video Out via the VGA connector.  I will list some below which do support that so you can explore them further.

Now the next part of this iPad VGA Connector guide is going to cover the various ways you can connect to devices which don’t have a VGA connection available.

Adapters That Work With Your iPad VGA Connector

As it turns out, most TV’s and even some projectors do not have VGA connections.  They might have Composite or HDMI connections.  This could present a problem if you want to use the iPad to display content.  Here is what the VGA connection will look like if you have one:


So, what if you don’t have a VGA connector?  You do have some options.  You can get the Apple Component AV Cable Kit (which is recommended) and you can then use it with your TV/Projector that has component connections.  Here is what those look like:

Component Connections for ipad

Most modern TV’s will have at least a component connection.  But what if you have a system with HDMI and you want to use that?  No problem.  There’s an adapter for that! Below are a few adapters you can look at which will connect to your iPad VGA Connector and then into an HDMI port.  Here is what an HDMI Port looks like on your TV/Projector:

HDMI For iPad

Now if you want to get sound out of your iPad as well as content then you have an option here as well.  You can use a simple headphone adapter (stereo mini) to either stereo RCA or whatever your TV has for audio “in”. Here is the Monster iCable 1000 which works great for sound.

Apps That Work With Your iPad VGA Connector

So now that you have your iPad VGA Connector and all the necessary adapters and cables all ready to go, what about those apps that work with it?  Here are some of the apps that you can use to display content such as movies, files, etc.

Built-In Apps That Work With the iPad VGA Connector

The apps which work with the iPad VGA Connector by default are the Photo app (for slideshows only), the YouTube app, and the Videos app.  These are the apps which will send video out of the iPad when the VGA connector is detected.  You don’t have to do anything special, just having it connected is enough.

3rd Party Apps that work with the iPad VGA Connector

Here are a few very useful 3rd party apps that you can use with the iPad VGA Connector.  All of these will display on your TV, LCD TV, Monitor, or via a Projector onto a large screen.

  • Keynote - you can use this to display all your keynote presentations.  Get Keynote for $9.99
  • Whiteboard VGA Out – A simple drawing app that lets you display your notes and drawings. Get Whiteboard VGA Out for $3.99
  • Perfect Web Browser – An alternative web browser to Safari that support VGA Out so you can surf the web on the large screen.  Get Perfect Web Browser for $2.99
  • Study Aid – A simple flashcard program that you can use to make flashcards and display.  Get Study Aid for $1.99.
  • MapProjector - Present live maps and satellite imagery right from your iPad to a TV or Large Display.  Get MapProjector for $1.99
  • Popplet - Share visual ideas in a completely new and innovative way. Check out Popplet for $8.99
  • FileDisplay - Store and view documents and then display them on the big screen.  Works with all popular document types. Get FileDisplay for $.99
  • Note Taker HD – Powerful app for writing and organizing handwritten notes/diagrams.  Get Note Taker HD for $4.99
  • The Cardiovascular System 3D – A must have app for studying anatomy and physiology and you can display it all on the large screen.  Get The Cardiovascular System for $17.99
  • Netflix - The popular movie rental service not only has an iPad app but you can watch movies and project them anwhere.  Get Netflix for free.

Those are just a few of the apps that work with the VGA adapter.  We will highlight more in the coming weeks.  The bottom line is that the iPad VGA Adapter can be very useful as long as you understand it’s not perfect.  It does have a few limitations when using the default iPad apps, but when using some of the 3rd party apps it is a much better experience.

Have you used the VGA Adapter?  What has your experience been?


  1. Robert L. says:

    Yeah, I am still a little irked that you cannot simply connect and show the iPad interface and apps from the get go. It should “just work”. :-)

    I think it is kind of ironic Steve sits during his iPad keynotes doing this exact thing but for users to accomplish this they have to jailbreak their device. Ok, deep breath… I feel better now.

  2. Shane says:

    Ahhh yes. The magic of marketing. Isn’t it great?

  3. Dennis Russo says:

    Note Taker HD!!

    Great app…

  4. Shane says:

    Thanks Dennis! Yeah, I just got a new stylus to try out and review so I’ll use it with Note Taker

  5. Scott says:

    You didn’t mention two of the best VGA enabled apps: Netflix and AirVideo.

  6. Shane says:

    Scott – that’s actually funny you should mention it….I was literally editing it to include Netflix! I realized after I hit publish that I left of a few….thanks for the AirVideo one too! I’ll add it in! And thanks for reading as well.

  7. Chrismourse says:

    In your opening paragraphs,You mentioned Powerpoint as “an app to display a Keynote or Powerpoint Presentation.” via the VGA adapter.
    What app will work with Powerpoint?

  8. Shane says:

    Hi there Chris,
    there are a few of them that work with Powerpoint and one of the most common ways that I have done it is to import the powerpoint into Keynote. You can also use any number of the File viewers that will allow you to view Powerpoint and then you can use something like this app: to view it via the VGA Adapter!

  9. Kimber says:

    Hi, i have 2 questions. Your site is great!
    I have an epson moviemate that we use for powerpoint and photo slideshows on our natural history tour boat. I got the ipad to use for that purpose. I cannot get epson to recognize the ipad through the vga connectors-any suggestions.?
    At sea or at home we do not have wifi but have a 3 g ipad -is there a way to print from the ipad using 3 g ?
    Thank you, Kimber

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Kimber. Thanks for the message!! With the VGA connector I do not believe it tells you anything about being connected….but when you use an app the can go through VGA (such as keynote) then it simply uses the Epson to display the show.

      Have you just tried just running a slide show with the vga hooked up to see if you cab see anything coming out in the screen?

  10. Alberto says:

    Hi, I have a question. If I use the editor 2 in Note Taker HD, and I connect my I-Pad to a projector, what will be displayed while I am writing? Exactly a copy of the screen of the I-Pad with both the output and input windows, or (as I hope) only the output one?
    Thanks!!!! alberto

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Alberto!!!

      Thanks for the comment. Yeah, only the output will show. Some would like both but for now it’s just the output :)

  11. Brad says:

    I was shocked to discover that Safari didn’t work on the VGA out connectors.

    It gave me an idea so I wrote the Web King Presenter app.

    1. Klaus says:

      Is there anyway you modify either an app or the iPad to show any app?
      I have a timer ( UltraTimer HD) that I use as fittness instructor and it would be great if I could show on the extra TV (VGA in and I have the adapter).
      It would be optimal if I could run it as a dual screen with the same image on the iPad as on the TV.
      The program has a few functions I use during the workout.

      1. Brad says:

        No modifications are necessary with the iPad 2. It does this out of the box.

        With the original iPad, it’s up to each application to support a second screen.

  12. Kathleen Anderson says:

    I am new to Apple, with a new iPhone 4-no-S, and an iPad 2. I have learned so much from your site! Your style is just right, I think, for those of us taking new baby steps and those with savvy and experience. Sense of humor without being caustic or mean. I feel that I have a place at “the kids’ table” unlike some sites that have little or no tolerance for those of us who are motivated and eager, but simply green, green, green.
    So thank you, oh teacher. Your site is a go to place for me! KMA in Marshfield, WI

  13. pejman norouzi says:

    hi all
    i want to project my original ipad screen(all of screen shots and apps even games and so on) with a VGA adapter. but as you know original ipad dont let this….is there any app for doing this?

    1. Brad says:

      If you’re not afraid of jail breaking your iPad there are ways of doing it – just none supported by Apple.

      1. pejman norouzi says:

        i dont afraid it…but is there any app for this or just jailbreak it?

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  15. Mary says:


    I find your comments very useful thank you.

    I use the VGA adapter with my iPad 3 for presentations onto projector/ tv screen. Prepared in PowerPoint I have found quick office more reliable than key note. In keynote text in boxes gets distorted, only issue I have in quick office is the diagrams don’t display properly – I can see them fine on the iPad but on the big screen audience views some info is not displaying.

    Any suggestions?

    1. chavsraul says:

      the easiest way to faithfully reproduce ppt slides to keynote is to convert the slides or part thereof into pictures/images.

      i do this a lot in slides having ppts SmartArt feature. keynote for ipad does not convert these SmartArt objects nicely. to have a faithful reproduction of the SmartArt — i convert that slide into a picture or image and then i convert the ppt slide to keynote via itunes.

      hope this helps. better workarounds are much welcomed

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