Let’s do a slideshow presentation with just iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch


No I am not telling you to fork out money to buy iOS devices. Instead, I advise you to take advantage of your existing iOS devices, they make extremely good presentation devices.

Let’s talk about Windows laptop. If you have used them to present before, you know they are big headaches. Here are the steps of how we usually setup the laptop:

  1. Start the laptop (takes 1 minute on Windows 8)
  2. Start PowerPoint program
  3. Plug in the VGA cable
  4. Extend the display if you want to use presenter mode
  5. Present

And of course, if you want to use remote control, you may need to plug in the remote receiver and check if its working. Not that elegant I suppose. But what about iOS?

  1. Wake up the device (2 seconds)
  2. Start Keynote app
  3. Plug in VGA adapter and cable
  4. Present

Oh wait I got a remote control over here.

  1. Wake up BOTH devices
  2. Turn on Bluetooth on both devices
  3. Start the apps (Keynote & Keynote Remote)
  4. They will link automatically if you set them up beforehand
  5. Plug in VGA adapter and cable
  6. Present

Looks longer, but in fact they are simpler than using Windows laptop.

And yes, who wants to bring that big heavy laptop around? I don’t. Enough of this and let’s begin with the preparation.

The Gadgets

The first compulsory device you need, which you will plug into the projector, can be any one of these listed. But the principal rule is, it must have Keynote app or any slideshow app, for this tutorial, Keynote app from Apple, because it’s awesome. Plug the device must have the ability to output to external display.

Apps to buy:


Devices for Projector:

  • iPhone 4and later – iPhone 4 supports video out. iPhone 4S and later support mirroring but not essential.
  • iPod Touch 4and later – but iPod Touch 5 (2012) support mirroring, which is not important.
  • Any iPad– They all support video out. But if you want mirroring function to demonstrate something to your audience, you must have iPad 2 or later.
  • Mac – Anything that supports video out will do, and yes with Keynote app. But tutorial for Mac Keynote is not covered in this tutorial.

Although iPhone 3GS can run Keynote, but since it doesn’t support video out, let’s just leave it out then.

Devices for Keynote Remote: (optional)

  • iPhone and later – as long as it supports the Keynote Remote app, and has Bluetooth connectivity, it’s welcomed!
  • iPod Touch 2Gand later – iPod touches that have Bluetooth connectivity are fine to run the remote.
  • iPad – this is ridiculous, I listed it here anyway… but don’t do it cause it’s damn awkward.

Yes in theory, the first generation of iPod touch is supported, since the Bluetooth connectivity, but if there is no consistent Wi-Fi connection at your place of presentation, you will be in big trouble. Bluetooth is nice for its ad-hoc nature, you don’t need an access point to use it, you just pair up the devices and you are good to go.

So the picture above shows my rig: iPad 3 in presentation mode right now and my good old iPod Touch 2G that serves as Keynote Remote, and they are connected with Bluetooth, simulating a situation where you have no good Wi-Fi connection.

The Adapter:

It depends on the projector, in my college they use VGA, but some of them out there might love to use HDMI.

For VGA, get Apple VGA Adapter, for either 30-pin or Lightning connector.

For HDMI, get Apple Digital AV Adapter, again, 30-pin or Lightning connector, depends on your device.

The problem with my 30-pin VGA Adapter is, it’s very loose, therefore you must settle your device on a good and stable surface.

Alternatively, if the place supports AirPlay, use it. I won’t tell you how to do AirPlay here, since most people don’t have the luxury of using it in colleges and universities yet, at least in Malaysia.

Connecting Device to Projector

This part is kind of crucial, but actually pretty straightforward. You just plug the VGA/HDMI cable into the adapter and plug the adapter into the iDevice. There is no resolution reconfiguration required.



Using Keynote App

I won’t talk much about the app itself here, but if you want some idea, here’s iPad introduction keynote in 2010, most of what Phil Schiller said still applies today.

Video of iPad keynote

I do believe you already have some idea on how to use the great app. In fact, if you downloaded Keynote you can even follow through the tutorial slide deck they gave you and you play around with it, that will give you a far better idea.

But what about plugging it into the projector? And what about the remote control? For your information, Keynote automatically shows you the presenter view, which gives you access to timer, build and transition status, and speaker’s notes. What many people still don’t really know is that you can use laser pointer, by simply tap and hold on the slide and move your finger around, the laser will follow you.

Showing when my iPad plugged into projector (HDTV in this case) via VGA adapter and iPod Touch that serves as a keynote remote.


Using Keynote Remote

NOTE: You cannot use non-iOS device as remote control, sorry about that, if you love your Logitech or other presenter so much please do stick to Windows laptop.

But the upside is, if you have iPhone or iPod Touch, use them as remote control gives you unfair advantage. You will no longer tied to the lectern and you can interact with your audience.

Did you get the Keynote Remote app? Great!

Turn on Bluetooth on both your presenting device and your remote device. In this case, I had both my iPad and iPod turned on. DON’T CONNECT EACH OTHER YET!

From now on, “iPad” will refer to the device you connect to projector and has the Keynote app. While “iPhone” will refer to the remote control, although I used iPod Touch in my case, but in most other cases people will use iPhone as their remote control.

  1. Start Keynote app on iPad and Keynote Remote app on iPhone.
  2. On the iPad, open any presentation.
  3. On the iPhone, click “Link to Keynote” or “New Link” when the Settings is invoked.
  4. You will see the 4-digits passcode, stay on that screen.
  5. On the iPad, go to settings on top-right corner of Keynote, click “Advanced” and then “Remote”
  6. Wait for a while and your iPhone will show up as unlinked remote, click “Link” and enter the 4-digits passcode you got on the iPhone.
  7. The pairing is complete.
Pairing Keynote and Keynote Remote


The Keynote Remote app is fairly straightforward, you need to slide to go to the next slide so the chance of accident click is greatly reduced. If you have watched the video above you will notice sometimes the slide won’t move on, why?

See the rotating loading icon on top right of the remote? There could be few possibilities:

  • The animation (or Builds in keynote) and transition are not done playing yet, let them finish.
  • Bluetooth is slow (but hey Wi-Fi is not that good either)

Speaker’s Notes will appear on the keynote remote if available.

Getting Slide Decks and Presentation Files over

So how do you import your PowerPoint files over? I suggest you to upload to your very own iCloud.com. Once you enabled iCloud on your Keynote, it will automatically download whatever presentation files you put onto iCloud. It’s quite neat.

Alternatively, you can use Dropbox or Google Drive as 3rd party cloud hosting. However in this case I will pick Dropbox over Google Drive, I don’t know why though.

You can also refer to Keynote User Manual and learn how to import using iTunes. Import using iTunes is not my favorite option but if you have no internet connection, it’s the only way to get your slide decks over.

No, you cannot use USB drives to move your files over. Sorry about that.


Well this tutorial is not that complete, and if I left anything out or wrote something wrong, do drop an e-mail to everything [at] anonoz [dot] com. I will go through them and edit this post if necessary.

BTW I hope this post will change your mind of start to use your smartphones and tablets as a partial substitute for your big bulky laptop. I love my laptop, just that it gave me a bit of back pain of bringing it to college everyday. And I found out that the iPad can do pretty much everything a laptop can do, presenting, video editing, intensive gaming plus its 10-hour battery life is too hard to resist!


Author: Anonoz Chong

Web Developer in Kuala Lumpur. Computer Science student in MMU Cyberjaya. President of IT Society MMU Cyberjaya. Rubyist.

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