How to Use an iPad as an External Display for Cameras and Game Consoles

Sidecar is a great feature when you want to use your iPad as an extra screen for your Mac. But what if you wanted to use your iPad as a mobile screen for your Switch, your Xbox, or even a Windows PC?

Well, you can. There’s an app for that. 

It’s called Orion.

What is Orion?

Orion is made by Lux, the same company that makes iOS camera apps like Halide and Spectre. The app was born from a new external webcam feature that Apple introduced for the iPad in iOS 17.

That got the Lux team thinking, and the more they looked at it, the more they wondered about the idea of using an iPad as a portable screen. 

How Does it Work?

Orion lets you use your iPad as a display for any device with an HDMI out port. That could be a Nintendo Switch, a Windows PC, a Raspberry Pi, a DSLR camera, and just about anything else you can think of.

If you are traveling with an Xbox or PlayStation, the iPad can be your TV screen so you don’t monopolize the only TV in your AirBnB.

If you are a photographer or video professional, you can use the iPad as an HDMI monitor for framing or previewing still and video output. You can even snap instant captures from the app.

All you need to make this work is a USB-C capture card and an iPad with USB-C that runs iOS 17 or later. Lux recommends this video capture card. They tested a lot of different adapters and found that this one works well with their app.

You connect the USB-C plug to your iPad and the other end to an HDMI cable that plugs directly into the device you want to show on your iPad.

You can use any iPad that has a USB-C port. This app will not work with a Lightning connector.

Pricing and Availability

Orion is free to download from the App Store. There are no limits or free trials. However, there is a one-time in-app purchase of $4.99 for those who want 4K upscaling, old-school CRT effects, and brightness adjustments.

Alternative Solutions

Genki Studio and the HDMI Monitor app offer similar functionality if you can’t get Orion to work the way you want it to, but make sure you check with the developers for compatible hardware.

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