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How to Connect iPad to Computer in Every Way


Updated on Dec 31, 2020 to iPhone Data Transfer | How-to Articles

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Five ways for you to connect your iPad to a computer, be it a PC, Mac, or laptop.

When you attempt to transfer files like photos, videos, music, and more between your iPad and your PC or laptop, you will need to connect the iPad to the computer first. Depending on the tools you have in hand, you may need to connect iPad to PC physically via USB or wirelessly via AirDrop, Bluetooth, and Email. Whichever tool you end up using, you will know how to do it from the paragraphs below. 

Part 1. How to Connect iPad to Computer Using USB
Part 2. How to Connect iPad to Computer Wirelessly

Part 1. How to Connect iPad to Computer Using USB

The commonest way to connect an iPhone or iPad to a computer is to use the USB that comes with your iPad. With a USB cable, you are able to connect iPad to computer without iTunes and then transfer photos from iPad to PC via File Explorer (in Windows 10) or the Photos app. Or you can also use USB to connect your iPad with EaseUS MobiMover, iTunes, or Finder to move all or selected files.

To connect iPad to computer via USB, you have four options:

Option 1. Connect iPad to Computer Using USB Directly

Transfers photos and videos

By plugging your iPad to computer, you can transfer photos and videos to your PC/Mac. Depending on your iPad models, you have two options for this purpose:

1. Connect iPad to Computer Directly via USB

Step 1. When you connect your iPad to computer using USB, you should first choose a proper cable according to the USB port, be it a USB-C charge cable or lightning to USB cable.

Step 2. Attach the USB connector to a USB port on your PC, laptop, or Mac.

Step 3. Attach the other end of the cable to the port on your iPad.

Step 4. Unlock your iPad and click "Trust" or "Allow" in the prompt on your iPad. If required, enter your iPad passcode.

Step 5. On your PC, a popup will appear asking you what to do with the device, choose "Import photos and videos" or "Open device to view files".

How to connect iPad to PC

2. Connect iPad to Computer via Dock

If you are using an iPad dock, you can also choose to connect your iPad to computer via the dock. After connecting the iPad to PC, what you can do is the same as connecting your iPad to computer using a USB cable.

Step 1. Use a 30-pin to USB cable to connect the dock with the computer.

Step 2. Depending on your iPad generation, do one of the following:

  • For iPad mini and 4th-generation iPad and later: Insert a Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter into the dock cradle and connect your tablet to the adapter.
  • For 3rd generation iPad or earlier. Insert the iPad into the dock cradle.

Option 2. Connect iPad to PC/Mac via EaseUS MobiMover

Transfers photos, videos, audios, contacts, messages, and more

Using the method we introduced above only helps you to import photos and videos from your iDevice to computer. If you want to use USB to get more files like music, books, contacts, messages, and from your iPad to your computer or transfer files from PC/Mac to iPad, you will need the iOS data transfer tool - EaseUS MobiMover.

With this tool, you are able to view and access your iPad content from computer, and transfer files to or from your device.

To connect your iPad to PC, laptop, or Mac and transfer files:

Step 1. Connect your iPad to your computer with a USB cable. Launch EaseUS MobiMover on your computer, and select the "Phone to PC" mode, which helps you export iPad data to the computer. Move your mouse to the right pane and click "Next" to start.

how to transfer data from iPad to the computer - step 1

Step 2. MobiMover allows you to transfer all the iPad data to the computer at one time at a fast speed. You can also select Contact, Messages, Note, Photo, Video, or Audio individually. You can change the default destination for exported files on your computer. If you don't set it on your own, MobiMover will download the iPad files to a desktop folder. Click "Transfer" to begin to transfer files from iPad to the computer without a hitch.

how to transfer data from iPad to the computer - step 2

Step 3. Wait for a while to let the transfer process finish. Please don't disconnect the iPad while transferring. When the process finishes, you can check the items on your computer.

how to transfer data from iPad to the computer - step 3

Besides, EaseUS MobiMover also works well as a free video & audio downloader. With it, you can freely download videos from YouTube to iPad or save music from SoundCloud to your computer or iPhone/iPad.

Option 3. Connect iPad to PC/Mac via iTunes

Syncs music, photos, movies, TV shows, books; Backs Up iPad content to computer

On a PC or a Mac running macOS Mojave and earlier, iTunes is available for you to connect your iPad to the computer for data sync or backup purpose. What's more, iTunes supports both a wired connection or a wireless one.

In the beginning, you've already learned the steps to connect iPad to PC via USB. Given that, I will show you how to connect iPad to iTunes via Wi-Fi here. For the first time, you still need to connect your device to iTunes using a USB and finish the settings. Afterward, you will be able to connect your devices and share data without a wired connection.

To connect iPad to iTunes:

Step 1. Connect your iPad to your laptop or desktop.

Step 2. Click the device icon in the iTunes window and click "Summary".

Step 3. Enable the option "Sync with this iPad over Wi-Fi" and click "Apply" > "Done".

Step 4. When your computer and the iPad are under the same Wi-Fi network next time, data syncing will start automatically and wirelessly.

How to connect iPad to iTunes

You can apply the same steps to connect your iPhone to iTunes and sync your iPhone content with it.

Option 4. Connect iPad to Mac via Finder (macOS Catalina and later)

Sync albums, songs, playlists, movies, TV shows, podcasts, books, audiobooks, photos and videos, contacts and calendars.

Starting from macOS Catalina, Finder comes with a new feature that allows you to sync iDevice files to Mac. This, to some extent, remedies the weakness of iTunes's poor operating system.

Step 1. Open a Finder and connect your iPad to your Mac using a USB cable.

Step 2. Your iPad appears in the left sidebar of the Finder window. Click it. 

Step 3. If required, trust your iPad.

Step 4. Select the type of data you'd like to sync and check the box next to Sync.

Step 5. Tick the checkbox next to each item that you want to sync.

Step 6. Click "Apply."

Connect iPad to Mac via Finder

Part 2. How to Connect iPad to Computer Wirelessly

In this section, you'll get four options to connect iPad to computer wirelessly. 

Option 1. Connect iPad to PC via VLC app

Shares videos

When you don't have a USB cable available, how can you connect your iPad to a laptop or desktop? If you want to connect iPad to PC without cable, the VLC app for iOS will help. The VLC media player enables you to connect your iPad with PC, Mac, or laptop wirelessly and allows you to transfer videos between the iPad and the computer. Whether you need to transfer videos from iPad to PC or vice versa, it works well to get it done.

To connect iPad to Windows PC wirelessly:

Step 1. Make sure your iPad and the computer are under the same network.

Step 2. On your iPad, go to the App Store to install the VLC mobile app.

Step 3. Open VLC, click the VLC icon in the top left corner, and enable the option "Sharing via WiFi".

Step 4. On your Windows PC, open a browser and enter the address shown under the "Sharing via WiFi" option in the VLC app.

Step 5. Now you can transfer videos between your iPad and computer

How to connect iPad to computer wirelessly

Option 2. Connect iPad to Mac Using Bluetooth

By connecting your iPad with Mac via Bluetooth, you can view the Public folder on your iPad, retrieve files from your iPad, and send files to your Mac. Here's how to do it.

Step 1. First of all, you'll need to pair your device with Mac:

On your Mac: Go to your Mac's Bluetooth System Preference > Turn Bluetooth on and be sure your Mac is Discoverable.

On your iPad: Go to the Settings > Bluetooth > Choose your Mac with which you'd like to pair your iPad.

Step 2. Then, you can go to click on "Yes" on your Mac and tap "Pair" on your iPad to finish the pairing process.

Step 3. If you want to send a file from Mac to iPad, you can go to your Mac:

1. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.

2. Select your iPad and choose "Send File to Device." 

3. Select a file you'd like to send.

4. Select your iPad from the list. Then click "Send." 

Option 3. Connect iPad to Mac via AirDrop

Shares photos, videos, contacts, documents, and more

For Mac users, AirDrop is another workable way to share photos, videos, contacts, websites, and more between the iPad and the Mac.

To connect iPad to Mac via AirDrop:

Step 1. Go to "Settings" > "General" on your iPad.

Step 2. Choose "AirDrop" and click "Contacts Only" or "Everyone".

Step 3. On your Mac, go to "Finder" > "Go" > "AirDrop" and switch on "Bluetooth" and "Wi-Fi" to turn on AirDrop on your Mac. Then set the option "Allow to be discovered by" as "Everyone" or "Contacts Only".

Step 4. Now you can transfer files between your iPad and Mac freely

How to connect iPad to Mac

Option 4. Connect iPad to Mac Using Continuity

Continuity is a suite of features built in the latest version of Apple's operating system Yosemite and iOS 8 (specifically, iOS 8.1 and later). It comprises four features: Handoff, Phone Calling, Instant Hotspot, and SMS. Among which Handoff is mainly responsible for data transfer.

Prerequisites for Handoff:

  • An iPad running iOS 8 and later
  • A MacOS running 10.10 Yosemite and later
  • Bluetooth are enabled on both devices
  • Both devices signed into the same iCloud account

Step 1. Turn on Handoff on your iPhone by going to your Settings > General > Handoff > Move the Handoff slider to on/green.

Turn on Handoff on your iPad

Step 2. Turn on Handoff on your Mac by heading to the Apple munue > System Preferences > General > Check the box next to Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.

Turn on Handoff on Mac

The Bottom Line

Now you know all the possible ways to connect your iPad to a Windows PC, laptop, or Mac. The best way for you varies according to the type of content you'd like to share between your mobile device and computer. Choose the way that suits your situation best to connect your iPad to computer with ease.

EaseUS MobiMover



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