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To use the new iPad Pro with an external monitor



Apple's new iPad Pro not only gave up the home button, but also switched from the company's own Lightning connector to the widely used USB-C connector. This USB-C connection allows you to use the iPad with a variety of accessories and peripherals, including external monitors.

This was something that Apple talked about in the announcement of the iPad Pro. The thing is, it's not as easy as you would think.

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It's not (exactly) a new feature

The ability to mirror the display of your iPad ($ 380 on Amazon) on an external monitor has been available for years via an HDMI adapter ( 30-pin or lightning).

With the new iPad Pro ($ 799 at Walmart) this is easier thanks to its USB-C port – which we'll see. It also allows working with monitors with a resolution of up to 5K.

What you need

Not all USB-C connections are the same. For example, the iPad Pro does not support Thunderbolt 3 displays, although the port is identical to a USB-C port.

The iPad Pro uses the DisplayPort standard but requires a high-speed cable to output at 5K resolutions. Apple recommends the Belkin USB C to USB C cable or Apple's Thunderbolt 3 USB C cable for full throughput.

A good example of how confusing it is to navigate what works when: The UltraFine 4K display from LG supports a USB-C port and works with the iPad Pro without the need for adapters. LG's UltraFine 5K display, however, relies on Thunderbolt 3 and will not work with the iPad Pro.

Let me try to turn this down and make it easy for me.

  • If the monitor has a USB-C-to-USB-C connection, you can connect the iPad Pro directly, most likely with the monitor's supplied cable.
  • For all other monitors you need the appropriate adapter (USB-C to HDMI, USB-C to DisplayPort, etc.).
  • Some monitors also provide the iPad Pro with power and charge it when in use. Some will not charge, so you'll need an adapter such as Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter or your iPad will be depleted.

Behavior of Apps

  iPad Pro iMovie External Display Button

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

When you connect the iPad Pro to a monitor, typically only the screen of your iPad is mirrored. What you see on the iPad is what you see on the monitor. However, some apps can do more with the second screen.

For example, if you use iMovie, you can either have the editing screen on the monitor or have the project output displayed on the screen by selecting the external display button. Photos display images with a black background on the external monitor. When a video is playing, it will only be displayed on the monitor.

For other apps, such as Adobe Lightroom, you can not choose what's displayed where. Instead, the edited photo is always displayed on the external display.

Display Settings

  iPad Pro external display settings "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/GwDQSa-qb_NefXywztdqsx2rmgc=/724x0/2018/11/13/e9b743b9-3d21-31d- 98fb-9eb37be7b615 / 5dcc5f21-7a4f-4225-9076-0308d586abd7.png

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

There are some options in the Settings app if you have problems with the quality of the output displayed on a monitor or TV.

Open Settings > Display & Brightness and then select the currently connected display. There you can adjust the brightness of the external monitor and adjust the output of the iPad Pro.

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