This cool free trick turns your iPad into a portable HDMI screen

Posted by Colin on Sun, Oct 8, 2023

Using the free app Orion you can connect any video source to your iPad and use it as a portable HDMI monitor and screen recorder!

I discovered this app this week from John Gruber on Daring Fireball. Having played around with it I think it will be a really handy part of my geek toolkit. The ability to very quickly use your iPad as a monitor is invaluable.

Use cases for portable HDMI screen:

  • Portable monitor for retro gaming setup

  • Simple screen recording setup to grab quick video from any HDMI source

  • Handy portable screen to plug into headless servers to check things

To get set up all you need is to download the Orion app from the iOS App Store and then connect up your source.

To do this I used a cheap USB HDMI capture card from Amazon and a USB-C adaptor. Simply plug this into the iPad, fire up Orion and then turn on your source device. I have made a quick YouTube video showing this process for connecting to a Raspberry Pi.

I can see myself using this in work to check on headless servers without having to lug a whole screen and power leads etc about with me. Even as a diagnostic tool when visiting clients to check a faulty screen. So many uses for this and the fact that it is free just makes it all the sweeter.

Let me know what uses you find for it! Happy dithering!

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