How to connect your iPad to your Interactive Whiteboard

OK, so you have some shiny new iPads at school. One of the first things that many teachers want to do is to be able to hook them up to their Interactive Whiteboards to show whatever is on the screen to a class. It’s a question I get asked a lot on my IWB training courses these days.

There are different ways to do this, and I’ve written about some of these in the past. But here they all are in one handy blog post.

1. Use a VGA Cable

The simplest way to display the contents of your iPad screen to a class is to buy a VGA adaptor and connect the iPad directly to a projector in exactly the same way you’d connect a laptop.

This does work pretty well, although you are tethered by the cable and sometimes the connector can work loose. Not every app will work in landscape mode, so you do get some flickering as the mode shifts.

What this won’t do is give you any control of the iPad from the IWB. You are simply hooking up the iPad to the projector.

2. Use Apple TV

Another way to connect your iPad to a display is to buy an Apple TV device and connect that to your projector. You can then connect your iPad to the Apple TV over a wireless network. The Apple TV connects to your projector via an HDMI cable. If your projector does not support HDMI then you’ll need a converter cable to provide a VGA socket.

The beauty of the Apple TV is that it works wirelessly. This gives you the advantage of being able to be anywhere in the classroom, and to share your screen with the class. Many apps support “Air-Play” and you can also turn on “mirroring” which does the same thing as the VGA cable and display your iPad screen.

For this set up to work you must have the iPad and the Apple TV connected to the same wireless network to allow them to talk to each other. This can cause some problems in schools depending on how your wireless network is set up. I’d suggest you try this out with one Apple TV and one iPad before you rush out and kit out your entire school!

3. Connect your iPad to your Computer via Air Server

AirServer is a Mac/PC application that enables you to stream or mirror your iPad, to your Mac/PC. If your computer is then connected to a secondary or alternative display, such as an interactive whiteboard plus projector, your device will be shown on that display. Switch on Mirroring on your iPad and then anything you see on that device can be displayed on the big screen.

Both your iPad and the computer you are connecting to need to be on the same network.

The AirPlay app is free on a 7 day trial and you can buy a 5 machine licence for $15. You can Download Air Server here

Also check out this post on the iPad Educators Ning group for more information.

4. Connect your iPad to your Computer via Reflector

Reflector works in the same way as AirServer. It installs a client on your PC which allows the iPad to connect.

Once installed, double tap on the home button on your iPad and slide to the left. Click on the AirPlay icon, select your Computer name and turn mirroring on and your iPad screen will appear on your computer (and so also your interactive whiteboard if you have one connected). Both devices need to be connected to the same network for this to work.

Download reflector from here : You can get a limited trial version for free, and a single user version is $15/£10.


5. Control your PC with Splashtop Remote Desktop

I’ve written about Splashtop Remote in the past. By using it, you can’t control the IWB directly – but you can control the computer that’s connected to the IWB. The app requires you to also download and install some client software on the PC that you want to control. Both device also need to be connected to the same network for this to work. You can set up a password to prevent anyone just connecting to your PC.

The way the Splashtop app works is that when you connect to the PC, the PC’s screen is mirrored on your iPad’s screen. Simply touch and click on the icons as if you now had a touchscreen PC. This can be a problem with software that wasn’t designed for fat fingers and so has small icons. You might want to pre-open something like Smart Notebook before you take control on the iPad.

The Splashtop app is only £1.49 on the UK app store, and the PC client software is free to download.

Ipad and Splashtop

Alternatives to Splashtop include LogMeIn and TeamViewer


As you can see there are several options open to you. None of these really link the IWB to the iPad – but they do allow you do display your iPad screen to the whole class. The VGA cable is the easiest method, but you lose the freedom of the iPad and are tied to the projector by a cable. Reflector and AirServer are cheap options if your WiFi enables it. AppleTV is probably the best solution, but again you need to be very sure you’ll be able to connect it all up on your school network.

If you have other solutions that work – please add them in the comments!


Author: Danny Nicholson

Danny is an author, Science teacher, ICT Consultant, PGCE lecturer and computing / interactive whiteboard trainer. He has delivered training courses across the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. Please get in touch with your training requests.

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  1. Great piece, I have been looking into this for a week or so. Quick question, does it also work with ipad mini?

  2. I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see any reason why not. You can get trial versions of both Airserver and Reflector apps, so you can try before you buy!

  3. This is a very useful article. I have connected using a VGA cable which worked but as the cable is very short it proved a bit annoying. It also doesn’t connect to the whiteboard speakers. I am considering an Apple TV which I would be able to use at home as well. However, I need to be able to have my iPad sound come through the whiteboard speakers, the volume I get from the iPad is not loud enough for the class to hear. Last year I didn’t have an interactive whiteboard and used a standalone project and a set of speakers, that was fine. Finally the question, is it possible to utilise the whiteboard speakers when connecting an iPad or do I need to purchase some speakers?

  4. Hi Carolyn. The Apple TV will take the sound from the iPad – so depending on how you hook it up you should be able to get the sound out.

  5. Does apple TV (or any of these options) allow the interactive whiteboard to remain as a touch screen control?

  6. The IWB won’t control the iPad in any of the systems. The only one that has something like that is Splashtop as it’s sharing control of your pc between the iPad and the main pc – which can also be controlled from the iwb.


  8. Hi Morgan, the only systems I know seem to want to use Wifi to work, and so you’ll need to use the network. I don’t know of any Bluetooth solutions. Only thing you could do would be to use a portable router and set up your own in-class wifi network that would connect your ipad to your computer. Downside if this would be that you wouldnt be able to use it to connect to the internet – but at least you could share your ipad apps with the students. Only other option would be to use a VGA cable and connect directly to the projector. This is less flexible than being wireless, but would allow you to share your screen.

  9. We have iPad minis which work very well with reflector. The thing that I like about it is that it also plays sound through the PC which means we can all hear back our recordings (audio/video). I also love the freedom it affords us to roam and share work. (#miniplenaryheaven)

  10. Hey Danny! I have been using doceri in my classroom for about a year on the free trail. It works great can only imagine how well it would work if I paid the $30.00 to get the entire program. You need to install the app and download the program on your PC, but it gives you the freedom to move about your room and still use the smartboard.

  11. Today , in a fourth grade class I tried it with a VGA1 and VGA11 options. No success. A message of network connectivity was given, but ,also, a message saying a plug-in was needed. Can you respond?

  12. Hi Jess, which method were you trying?

  13. Hi, I have mirrored my iPad to my MacBook Pro and then displayed it on my SmartBoard. Is it also possible to have each of the students see the same view on their iPads? I’m wanting to use both Khan Academy and Mathletics on my iPad and then be able to demo for the class.

  14. The Apple TV method works like a charm. We’ve been working with kids using Explain Everything to screencast their projects live for the whole class and it is super easy to switch between the iPads with it.

  15. I have a student that struggles to use the IWB as he’s not able to lift his arms/hands on his own. I’m hoping to use have him use my ipad to write letters that would then be displayed on the IWB. Would the Splashtop Remote app allow me/him to do this? Thanks!

  16. Can I use air play server with any smartboard projector or does it have to be a wireless one?

  17. Tonya – Splashtop should do this.

    Usha – Airplay will connect your ipad to the computer that’s connected to the projector. So it should work with any projector.

  18. Great article! Are there any options that will allow the smart board to stay interactive? For example if I were to download smart notebook could it link to the iPad and the smart board? If I had my students write on the SB would that work? I found in the past once I link up to my iPad the SB loses its interactive abilities.


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