From what I understand, it is possible to connect an Apple iPad Air or iPad Pro to a USB-C monitor by connecting it to the USP-C port on the iPad. (I hope I am correct in saying this)

The Apple iPad 2020 has only a lightning connector. Is it possible to connect to a USB-C monitor by using a USB-C to Lightning Cable or adaptor?

2 Answers 2


You are correct that the iOS devices using USB-C chips need no adapters for video out to most USB-C displays. The lightning based hardware require specific adapters like the HDMI or VGA ones Apple sells.

I’ve never seen an adapter that fits your requirement. The above “adapters” have embedded systems on a chip “SoC CPU” that boot each time you connect them to convert video out data streams into the HDMI or VGA signals needed to drive displays.


The Apple iPad 2020 has only a lightning connector. Is it possible to connect to a USB-C monitor by using a USB-C to Lightning Cable or adaptor?

Not likely, or more precisely not likely with just a single cable or adapter.

The Lightning port is in many ways like USB-C but one big difference is that the Lightning port kind of does it's own thing with video output and relies on electronics in the Lightning adapters or cables to get the video right. People have done disassemblies of Lightning adapters and found little micro-controllers inside. The reason is that the Lightning connector doesn't have enough pins for VGA, DP, or HDMI signal so it needs something to help it out to take a video stream it is sending on 4 data pins and turn that into something that a device that is using 8 or more data pins. A common Lightning to USB-C cable does fine for power and data to a computer because with 8 pins total there's 2 for power, 2 for ID and control, and 4 for data, which is fine for USB 2.0 with no need for a "helper" chip. With more complex accessories I assume the 4 data pins form 2 differential pairs with one for input and the other for output. With only one pair of wires for output there needs to be a "translator" to break that out into the right signals on the right pins for a 19 pin HDMI signal.

It would be possible to construct a cable that had Lightning on one end USB-C on the other that was capable of DP video out and power in to charge the Apple iProduct. Since this cable would be easily confused with the far more common USB 2.0 cable I doubt Apple would certify such a cable for sale.

Connecting an iPad with a Lightning connector to a USB-C display is certainly possible but it will not be cheap or easy. If all you want is video then get the Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter and an adapter that will convert the HDMI to a DP signal, then you may also need a DP to USB-C cable to connect the adapter to the display. If you need the display to provide power to your iProduct then expect to need some kind of USB-C dock, if such a thing exists, to break out the power and then use the USB-C to Lightning cable to plug into the Lightning power passthrough port. All these bits could easily cost more than $200. It would be far simpler to use the HDMI port on the display, assuming it has one.

I assume this display has more than just USB-C as an input, presumably HDMI. In that case buy the Lightning Digital AV adapter, buy/beg/borrow/steal an HDMI cable, use the Lightning to USB-C cable that came with your iProduct, then proceed to connect the two HDMI ports with the HDMI cable, and use the USB-C port with the Lightning to USB-C cable for providing power to your iProduct.

Is this a theoretical question or is this a practical dilemma? The only displays I've seen so far with only USB-C are small portable displays.

  • All sorts of 4k displays are now USB-C - lg.com/us/monitors/lg-43un700-b-4k-uhd-led-monitor some are very not small
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 10:43
  • " All sorts of 4k displays are now USB-C " Yes, I know, the emphasis should be on ONLY USB-C ports. A large display meant to stay on a desk will likely have USB-C for people that connect laptops and mini-format desktop systems but also full sized HDMI for gaming consoles and home theater equipment, and full sized DisplayPort for gaming PCs and workstations. A display with no inputs but one or two USB-C ports will be portable displays with built-in batteries to be used away from the desk. I'd be surprised to see a large display with only USB-C input unless it is built as a laptop dock.
    – MacGuffin
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 6:03
  • Yes, only USB-C on many of these displays. Not the one I linked, but it reduces cost greatly on the controller of these will tell how long the assumption that HDMI or DisplayPort connectors coexist with USB-C and/or Thunderbolt connectors.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 8:11

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