Options for Connecting Your iPhone or iPad to your TV

With most of us now carrying around vast collections of photos and movies on our iPhones or iPads, it’s clear they’re a convenient way to show such media. However the small screen size of even an iPad can be a limitation if you want to show a group of people your holiday photos for instance. In this article I’ll discuss a few options for displaying content from your iOS device(iPhone or iPad) on a TV or projector.

HDMI Cable

Apple produces a few different cables that enable you to connect an iPhone or iPad to either a computer monitor, TV or projector. The choice will depend on what type model you have

Older 30 Pin iPhones & iPads

Newer Lightning Port iPhones & iPads

Apple’s cables are expensive, but are likely to be the most reliable if you want to use a cabled connection to the TV. There are third-party generic cables available, particularly for the older 30 Pin adaptor, but they may not always work as advertised. Apple doesn’t really like third party devices and does their best to stop them from working in their iOS.

Be sure to check the compatibility on the Apple site before purchasing, to make sure you get the right pin adaptor for your iPhone or iPad.


AirPlay is probably the best way to connect your iPhone or iPad to a TV, however it does require a separate device. Airplay works best on the¬†Apple TV¬†device but it can also be used to connect to devices produced by other manufacturers. There are lots of different types of speaker systems that can receive audio via AirPlay, and a few media players that support video. I’m not aware of any TVs with Airplay built in yet. There is software that can be installed on a media centre PC, such as MythTV or XBMC that can also support AirPlay. See the Wikipedia article on AirPlay for more compatibility information.

With non-Apple produced devices there can be an issue with playing “protected” content. You can view your own pictures, presentations and videos, but not Apple iTunes content. This may mean that movies and videos purchased through the Apple iTunes store may not play at all via AirPlay on a third-party device. If you have an Apple TV however, this is not an issue.

The Apple TV is a quite neat little unit, and is now quite inexpensive. I would recommend it if you really want to be able to display iTunes movies and other content reliably from your iPhone or iPad on your TV. See my overview review of Apple TV here.