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Connect Raspberry Pi 4 to iPad Pro with a USB-C cable

Sun Jan 24, 2021 9:21 am

With reference to issue 97, which has an article describing how to use an iPad pro to power-up a Pi 4.

Because I am going to build an outdoor project, and there will be quite a lot of testing and trouble shooting doing outdoor, that configuration with a single cable will greatly simplify the job.

However, I do not have a current generation iPad pro. So I would like to ask:

1. Will the same hack work for an older iPad pro (with lightening port)? Or even an iPhone?

2. Will it work for a MacBook pro with USB-C port? If then what VNC clients and other software are recommended?

Many thanks in advance.

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Re: Connect Raspberry Pi 4 to iPad Pro with a USB-C cable

Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:47 am

The project needs a USB-C connection because it carries both data and power. While Lightning theoretically does this its a proprietary system and so it won’t work.

I don’t know if it works with MacBook Pro and because I don’t have one to test I’m afraid. It should theoretically be possible. I’d be happy to hear the results. I’d recommend just VNC Viewer on macOS.

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Re: Connect Raspberry Pi 4 to iPad Pro with a USB-C cable

Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:40 pm

IIRC that articles relies on the 4B using the USB ethernet gadget on the USB C port.

While I don't have a Mac or an iPad, I've used the ethernet gadget with a variety of USB host devices and OS sucessfully.

I'd expect it to work with any device that:
  • Can act as a USB host
  • Can provide enough current to run the 4B (at least 600mA, more under load and with anything connected to it)
  • Has drivers for a USB CDC or RNDIS ethernet adapter.
  • Can run an ssh or VNC client.
The physical connector on the USB host is likely to be largely irrelevant provided it is correctly wired.

While focussed on RPiOS, this may be of interest: viewtopic.php?f=91&t=306121
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All advice given is based on my experience. it worked for me, it may not work for you.
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