Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (2023)

To start using Raspberry Pi, you will need many accessories to make it work properly. The screen is probably the most expensive accessory if you’re starting from scratch.
If you have an iPad at home, you may wonder if there is a way to connect both and use the iPad as your Raspberry Pi monitor.
You’re at the right spot, there are several solutions, and I’ll show you the easiest one today!

The Raspberry Pi can be connected to an iPad to use it as an external monitor. A wireless solution is to use an app like VNC to remotely control the Pi. No computer is required, everything can be set up from the iPad.

I will introduce other solutions at the end of this tutorial. But first, I’ll show you how to use this method. You can do almost everything from the iPad, so if you only have a Raspberry Pi and an iPad, you can set this up easily.
If you have an Android smartphone or tablet, I recommend checking this article instead.

If you need help getting started on Raspberry Pi, I have an entire course to guide you through your first steps. I’ll help you use the perfect hardware, plug everything in and install your first system. You’ll also do your first project with me, just to make sure you are ready for the next level. Get all the information on this page if you are interested.

Raspberry Pi Installation

I’ll start with the Raspberry Pi installation, including a few tips to do most of the steps from the iPad.
Obviously, if your Raspberry Pi is already installed, you can skip this part and go directly to the iPad connection.


We’ll use the Wi-Fi to connect the iPad and the Raspberry Pi, so you don’t need anything special for this installation, but as a reminder here is what I’m using:

  • A Raspberry Pi 4 4GB: Any Raspberry Pi model should be ok, this is just the one I’m using, and it’s perfect for desktop usage.
  • A decent SD card: I’m using the SanDisk Extreme Pro for better performance, but you don’t need anything fancy here. Just avoid something too small (32 GB is fine).
    If you are interested in performance comparison, you can check my benchmark of seven popular SD cards here.
  • The Flirc case: Not mandatory at all, but it’s what I’m currently using (you can read my review of the Flirc Case here)
  • An iPad: I’m not really an Apple fanboy, but for a tablet, I still prefer the iPad over Android alternatives. And obviously, you need one because that the goal of this tutorial 🙂
    Any model will be fine, I’m using this one currently, it’s the classic model.

A computer is not mandatory but will be useful, especially if you need to prepare a new SD card.
I’ll use the iPad directly for all the steps, but if you have a computer, feel free to use it, it should be more comfortable.

Install Raspberry Pi OS

The first step is to install an operating system on your Raspberry Pi.
Almost any distribution should be ok, as we’ll use a popular app you can install it on any system. But for this tutorial, I’ll show you how to do this with Raspberry Pi OS.

No computer?

If you don’t have a computer this is the most complicated step. As you probably know, we generally download the Raspberry Pi image and flash it on a SD card to install the system. This is not possible if you don’t have a computer.

The first solution will be to borrow a computer from a friend at work/school and flash your SD card by following the standard procedure from here.

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But I have another alternative for you if that’s not possible. You can also use an Android phone and create your SD card on it.

This video shows you how to do this:

(Video) Raspberry Pi: Use an iPad as your monitor - Step-by-step tutorial on the iPad

With a computer

If you have a computer you can follow these steps:

  • Download the Raspberry Pi OS image from the official website
  • Download and install Balena Etcher
    You can also use Raspberry Pi Imager, it’s the same thing.
  • Flash the SD card by using Etcher
  • That’s it 🙂

If you need detailed instructions to do this, you can check out my full guide here on how to install Raspberry Pi OS Desktop.

Enable SSH

Before going further, we’ll configure the system to start SSH directly on the first boot. This way we can access the Raspberry Pi remotely and continue this tutorial.

  • Insert the SD card in your computer again (Etcher will eject it automatically)
  • Go to the SD card files with your file explorer app
    On Windows, you should have a new disk, maybe something like E:
    If you are using an Android phone, you can also browse the files on the SD card
  • Create a new file named “ssh” in the root folder
    Be careful if you are on Windows, your system is not showing the file extension by default, and we don’t want any extension.
    You have to check the box “File name extensions” in the “View” tab to see it
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (1)
  • That’s it, you can safely eject the SD card and insert into in your Raspberry Pi to boot your system.
    This file will tell Raspberry Pi OS to automatically start SSH on boot so that we can directly connect to it.

If you want more details about this, or if you need to use a Wi-Fi connection on the Raspberry Pi, you can check this tutorial on the topic.

Find your Raspberry Pi IP address

After a few minutes, your Raspberry Pi should have completed its first boot. Before accessing it remotely, we need to find its IP address.

Most networks are using a DHCP server to allocate IP addresses, so you might get a different one each time.
There are many ways to find the Raspberry Pi IP Address, but today we’ll try to do it on the iPad.

  • Open the App Store on your iPad
  • Look for “iNet” in the search engine and install the free “iNet – Network scanner” app
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (2)
    I have tested a few of these apps, and even if this one is not optimized for iPad, it was the best for me.
  • Once installed, open the app and start a network scan
    The app doesn’t need your location, so you can decline the permission request.
  • You’ll get something like this:
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (3)
    I have several Raspberry Pi on my network, but the one I’m interested in right now is
    Find your Raspberry Pi in the list and note the IP address, you’ll need it later.

Raspberry Pi OS configuration

We are almost done with the Raspberry Pi OS part.
We’ll use VNC to connect the iPad to the Raspberry Pi desktop.
This will allow you to see the entire Raspberry Pi screen from the iPad and control it.

VNC is not enabled by default, and we need to set the access password before using it.
We’ll configure this with SSH:

  • If you want to use your iPad for this, you can install either install an SSH app like Termius or WebSSH. I’m using PiHelper, which is an app dedicated to the Raspberry Pi.
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (4)
  • Once installed, open it and add a new connection:
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (5)
    The default password for “pi” is “raspberry”.
  • You should see your Raspberry Pi in the list, with nice graphs showing the CPU, memory and disk usage:
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (6)
  • Click on it to see more details, and then click on the “Term” button at the top of the screen to access SSH.
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (7)
  • From there, install TightVNC with:
    sudo apt install tightvncserver
    It will remove the default VNC server and install this one.
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (8)
  • Once you are done, do this to set the password:
    Choose a password and enter it twice

Now, the Raspberry Pi is ready to use, we just need to install VNC on the iPad.
Obviously, you can do the same thing on your computer by using “Putty” or any other SSH client.

Are you a bit lost in the Linux command line?Check this article first for the most important commands to remember and a free downloadable cheat sheet so you can have the commands at your fingertips.

Use your iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor

Install the app on iPad

Now that everything is ready on the Raspberry Pi, the last step is to install a VNC Viewer app on the iPad:

  • Back in the App Store, look for VNC in the search engine
  • Install “VNC Viewer – Remote desktop”
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (9)
  • Open it and add a new connection by click the “+” symbol in the top right of the screen:
    Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (10)
    Don’t forget to add the port after the IP address. It should be :1 by default, or you can check what the “tightvncserver” command displayed.
    You don’t need to sign in to use VNC.
  • Click on the icon to start the connection
  • Accept the unencrypted connection warning by clicking on “Connect”
  • Enter your password
    You can save it if you want.
  • You should see the Raspberry Pi desktop screen on your iPad
Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (11)

You might need to adjust the zoom (with two fingers) if the display doesn’t fit perfectly (mine was too zoomed in at the first connection).

If it is working pretty well, and the display quality is good, you can do almost anything with it. Mouse control may not come naturally, you might need a few minutes to handle it correctly.

(Video) 3 Tips for New Raspberry Pi Users

Download the Pi Glossary!
If you are lost in all these new words and abbreviations, request my free Raspberry Pi glossary here (PDF format)!
Download now

You can move the VNC menu wherever you want. By default, it’s in the top-left corner, exactly on the Raspberry Pi main menu, so not the best location. Touch it and keep it pressed to move it to another spot.

Onscreen virtual keyboard

If you really want to use your iPad as a monitor, you will need a keyboard. There are two ways to do this.

The first way is to use the VNC keyboard, which you can access in the “…” menu we moved previously.
It’s the most natural way to do this, as it’ll use your iPad keyboard and add a few other features (like the keys shortcuts you can see on top).

Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (12)

It works pretty well, but it takes up too much space on the screen, and the Raspberry Pi display will not auto-resize to fit the first half of the iPad screen, so it’s helpful, but not perfect.

You can also use a virtual keyboard, directly on the Raspberry Pi OS (you can check this post to know how to install it).
This interface will be slightly better, but the VNC mouse make it difficult to use.

Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (13)

And if you want to use a physical keyboard, check my recommendations here: Tested: The Best Keyboards For Raspberry Pi

My thoughts about this solution

As you might already understand by reading the previous steps, using an iPad is a good temporary solution if you are traveling and only have your iPad and Raspberry Pi.

You can use this solution to do something quickly on your Pi (maybe save your photos and upload them somewhere in the cloud), but it doesn’t seem to be a good solution for a daily usage.

The PiHelper app is excellent if you need something to control the Raspberry Pi and type a few commands.

The VNC app can be used to set up the Raspberry Pi at the beginning of a project if you don’t need the screen anymore after that, but not for desktop usage.

Download Your Essential Linux Commands Guide!
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Want to chat with other Raspberry Pi enthusiasts? Join the community, share your current projects and ask for help directly in the forums.

(Video) You need to install another browser on your Raspberry Pi - Chromium vs Firefox vs Vivaldi vs Puffin

You may also like:

  • 25 awesome Raspberry Pi project ideas at home
  • 15 best operating systems for Raspberry Pi (with pictures)
  • My book: Master your Raspberry Pi in 30 days

Other solutions

If you are looking for something better, here are a few other solutions you can try to improve your Raspberry Pi monitor without spending too much money (most of them are almost free).

iPad Pro

If you have an iPad Pro, you can try the same solution, but there is a better way. The iPad Pro comes with a USB-C port that you can plug into your Raspberry Pi to power it AND control it without a network connection.

So, it’s a little easier, as you don’t need a Wi-Fi network to use VNC and control your Raspberry Pi, but it’s not revolutionary.
I don’t have an iPad Pro to test this, but I don’t think the USB-C connection will help fix our issues.

A pretty good solution will be to use the Magic Keyboard with it. The keyboard issue will be fixed (but not the mouse). For office use or for coding, the Magic Keyboard should be enough.

Raspberry Pi Screen

The best way to control a Raspberry Pi is to use a touch screen made for it, rather than using an iPad.
As you may already know, I’ve been using the SunFounder 7″ touch screen for a few months, and I’m loving it (you can read my review here).
It’s a bit small for desktop usage, but it’s much better than using an iPad .

Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (14)

Android tablet

It’s not really an alternative, but if you don’t have an iPad, you can use your Android tablet (or phone) and do the same thing.

VNC is available on the Play Store.
I tested it and I had the same issue with the mouse. So, no better, no worse.

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Combine your passions and get paid. Write for RaspberryTips!

VNC alternatives

Another strategy can be to replace the VNC app with something else.
On Windows, RDP, NoMachine, and TeamViewer are good alternatives to VNC, and they are available on iPad/Android.

I tried with RDP, but I had the same issues as with VNC.
The only one that is working as I expected is NoMachine. It really clicks on the Raspberry Pi and not where the cursor is. So, the mouse is fixed with NoMachine, and you can really use the virtual keyboard, so it’s pretty good.

(Video) 3 Solutions to Enable On-screen Keyboard on Raspberry Pi OS

Can you Use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi Monitor? – RaspberryTips (15)

I would say, VNC is the quickest solution to make it work almost immediately after the installation, if you don’t need a monitor all the time. But NoMachine is probably the best solution overall if you want decent comfort and regular desktop usage.

If you want to try this, you can check out my tutorial here, to know how to install it on your Raspberry Pi. Everything can be done in SSH, so you can continue with your iPad.
I also made a video about this option, you can find it on my YouTube channel here:

Feel free to leave a comment in the community if you have any questions or suggestions to improve this!

Download Your Essential Linux Commands Guide!
It's a free PDF guide containing every Raspberry Pi Linux command you should know!

Additional Resources

Not sure where to start?
Understand everything about the Raspberry Pi, stop searching for help all the time, and finally enjoy completing your projects.
Watch the Raspberry Pi Bootcamp course now.

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Don’t want the basic stuff only? If you are looking for the best tips to become an expert on Raspberry Pi, this book is for you. Learn useful Linux skills and practice multiple projects with step-by-step guides.
Download the e-book.

VIP Community
If you just want to hang out with me and other Raspberry Pi fans, you can also join the community. I share exclusive tutorials and behind-the-scenes content there. Premium members can also visit the website without ads.
More details here.
Need help building something with Python?
Create, understand, and improve any Python script for your Raspberry Pi.
Learn the essentials step-by-step without losing time understanding useless concepts.
Get the e-book now.

You can also find all my recommendations for tools and hardware on this page.

This tutorial doesn't work anymore? Report the issue here, so that I can update it!

(Video) Are you using Raspberry Pi Imager the right way? My complete guide


Can I use an iPad as a Raspberry Pi monitor? ›

The Raspberry Pi can be connected to an iPad to use it as an external monitor. A wireless solution is to use an app like VNC to remotely control the Pi. No computer is required, everything can be set up from the iPad.

Can you use an iPad as a monitor? ›

With Sidecar, you can use your iPad in landscape orientation as a second display for your Mac. Like any second display, you can extend your desktop by showing different apps or windows on your iPad, or instead make it show the same ones you see on your Mac.

How do I turn my old iPad into a HDMI monitor? ›

Plug a Lightning Digital AV Adapter or Lightning to VGA Adapter into the charging port on iPad. Connect an HDMI or VGA cable to the adapter. Connect the other end of the HDMI or VGA cable to the display, TV, or projector. If necessary, switch to the correct video source on the display, TV, or projector.

Do I need a monitor for my Raspberry Pi? ›

To view the Raspberry Pi OS desktop environment, you need a screen, and a cable to link the screen and your Raspberry Pi. The screen can be a TV or a computer monitor. If the screen has built-in speakers, Raspberry Pi is able to use these to play sound.

Can I use my iPhone as Raspberry Pi monitor? ›

SimplePi is the Swiss army knife utility app for monitoring, controlling, and managing your Raspberry Pi using your iPhone and iPad.

Is it possible to use a laptop as a monitor for a Raspberry Pi? ›

All you need is the microSD card to load the Raspberry Pi OS, an HDMI monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. But what if you don't have a monitor to spare? Don't fret because you can also use your Windows or Mac laptop as your Raspberry Pi monitor using the board's VNC feature.

Can I use my tablet as a monitor? ›

Open the app on your devices and select the option "Extend desktop to this display." Select the “Connect” option on your Android tablet to establish the connection between your PC and the tablet. Your PC will now be extended to the tablet, so you can use an Android tablet as a second monitor.

Can you use iPad as a monitor for phone? ›

Use the Receive Broadcast option on your iPad and select Broadcast Screen from your iPhone. It will find the devices connected to the same Wi-Fi. Select your iPad to start screen mirroring.

Can iPad take HDMI input? ›

You can connect your iPad to an HDMI display or TV with a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Adapters that support HDMI 2.0 can output video from iPad Pro and iPad Air (5th generation) at 4K resolution and 60Hz, while iPad Air (4th generation) and iPad mini (6th generation) can output video at 4K resolution and 30Hz.

How do I use my iPad as a screen switch? ›

Launch Capture Pro through TestFlight to play Switch games on your iPad. Open the TestFlight app, launch Capture Pro: UVC Viewer, then turn on your Nintendo Switch. The signal from the console should instantly appear on your iPad's screen.

How do I monitor my Raspberry Pi? ›

How to Monitor Network Traffic on Raspberry Pi
  1. Step 1: Download Ntop Package.
  2. Step 2: Install Ntop deb Package.
  3. Step 3: Install Additional Packages.
  4. Step 4: Configure Ntopng.
  5. Step 5: Edit Network Interface and IP Range.
  6. Step 6: Start ntop.
  7. Step 7: Access the Web Interface.
Aug 22, 2023

Can I use my phone as a monitor for Raspberry Pi? ›

After installing the application on your phone, you have to connect the Raspberry Pi to Android via the video capture card and open the USB camera app. Then select a suitable resolution, and you can even make the display into full screen. While running this setup, the touch on the phone works perfectly fine.

How to set up your Raspberry Pi without a keyboard monitor or mouse? ›

Setup a Raspberry Pi with No Keyboard or Monitor
  1. Requirements. Hardware. ...
  2. Setup the SD Card. Perform a FAT32 format on the SD card. ...
  3. Enable Wireless Networking. Change directories by typing: cd /Volumes/boot. ...
  4. Enable SSH. ...
  5. Power Up. ...
  6. Remote Access via SSH. ...
  7. Safely Shutdown.
Mar 8, 2018

Can I use 2 ipads as dual monitors? ›

You can only use one iPad as an external monitor for a Mac in Side Car mode. Selecting a second one will disconnect the first one. That's unfortunate. Thank you for the prompt response.

How to connect iPad to PC? ›

Connect iPad to the USB port on your computer using the charging cable for your iPad. If the cable isn't compatible with the port on your computer, do one of the following: If your iPad came with a USB-C Charge Cable and your computer has a USB port, use a USB-C to USB Adapter and a USB-A cable (each sold separately).

How do I mirror my Mac to my iPad? ›

On your Mac, do one of the following: macOS 13: Choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Displays , click , then select your iPad from the list below “Mirror or extend to.”

What is the app that makes your iPad a second screen? ›

With Sidecar, you can extend the workspace of your Mac by using iPad as a second display. The extended workspace allows you to do the following: Use different apps on the different screens.


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