I have an iPad with limited capacity. I waste a lot of time using iTunes on my MacBook Pro to delete content from the iPad and then sync'ing new content from the MBP. Not only does it waste time, I have to select movies and TV shows in advance.

Queston: How do I use the iPad as an output device to watch the material from the MacBook Pro? In this case, the MacBook Pro will simply be my personal storage device.

Related: I'll be doing this while flying, so things like spacious desktops and internet connectivity are out of the question. The MacBook Pro will be under the seat, and the iPad will be on the tray table.

The MacBook Pro clam shell is too big to fully open on the tray table, so I can't watch movies on it or operate programs like iTunes. And the cable for the iPad to the MacBook is too short to physically tether it.

About the only thing I will be able to do is turn on both devices, and use apps like Videos and iTunes on the device.

Related: the iPad Mini is running iOS 8.2 (fully patched). The MacBook Pro is running OS X 10.8.5 (fully patched). I have an iTunes account but it won't be accessible. I don't have an iCloud account and I don't want one (I have actively refused it since the iOS 6/7 days).

Related: years ago I tried to solve the problem by writing my own program to play the movie I was licensed (purchased under my iTunes account, all the hardware authorized under my account, etc). But Apple has some serious anti-competitive practices in effect such that only their programs can play the content. See Playing Movies from ITunes using MPMoviePlayerController? on Stack Overflow.

1 Answer 1


What you call anti-competitive is kind of the point of DRM -- if it could overridden by simply writing a new program, it wouldn't be much of a stopping point.

In any event, you don't really say except at the bottom, but the implication is that you are trying to watch content purchased from iTunes. Is that correct? If so, you may be much more limited. If it's not purchased content, there are more options.

Next you will need a way to essentially broadcast content to the device. For years I used Air Video. You need to download the app to your device to act as the receiver, and the server app to your MacBook to act as the, well, server. Note the above app does not support DRMed content, such as items purchased in iTunes, but it does support most everything else you can throw at it.

Then, while on the plane, you will need to set up a direct WiFi connection. On your MacBook, go to the WiFi menu bar icon, click on it and choose Create Network. Give it a name, choose a channel, and enable a password for it.

On your device go to Settings > WiFi and tap on your new network. Enter the password, and you should be able to stream content using the Air Video client on your iPad.

  • "What you call anti-competitive is kind of the point of DRM" - so I'm clear... the point of DRM is to forbid licensed users the ability to play their content? I think it would be different if I were not using iTunes account or not using an authorized device. In this case, everything is authorized - I've jumped through all the hoops.
    – user83961
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 14:21

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