How to connect iPad to computer

iPad is a feature-rich tablet that can store thousands of home and work files. The easiest way to transfer them to your computer is to connect the devices to each other. How to do this, what problems may appear during synchronization and ways to solve them – in the article.

How to connect iPad to computer

There are 4 methods for doing this. Each has its own characteristics that will simplify life in one case or another. For example, USB connection is the most stable, Wi-fi can easily connect devices even on different floors, and Bluetooth does not require the usual manipulations of Yabloko.

More details about each of the methods are described below.

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The easiest method for connecting two gadgets, which additionally allows you to recharge the tablet during data transfer. This type of connection is a mandatory step when you first connect via Wi-Fi.

Required cables

To connect an iPad via USB, you need an original Apple cable through which you can connect it to your computer.

Its type depends on the connectors of the gadgets:

  • IPad Pro (11-inch) and iPad Pro (3rd generation) work with USB-C.
  • 2014 to 2018 models and simple 2019 iPads require a Lightning to USB cable.
  • Older tablets (before 2014) require a 30-pin cable.

You may also need such cords and adapters that are not included in the basic package:

  • USB-C – Lightning is needed to connect iPad Pro to Apple devices, which have all the slots occupied except Lightning.
  • The USB-C to USB adapter comes in handy when connecting the latest iPad Pro models to a PC from other brands.
  • USB-C – AV or USB-C – VGA – if connected to older computers.

How to work with files

You can get acquainted with the documents in Windows through the built-in Explorer. On macOS, from Finder or iTunes. You can change files only in the iTunes program.

Connection algorithm

Connecting your iPad to your computer via USB is pretty straightforward. Here are the steps required for this:

  1. Connect PC and iPad via cable.
  2. Find the connected tablet and select it by going into its file system.
  3. Go to the Internal Storage folder and the DCIM subfolder (this is where all the content is located).

Important : Working through iTunes, you can navigate the file system, copy and delete. If there is no way to download this application, you will only be able to view the files without the ability to change or download.

See also: 13 Apple iPad models – the history of the development of the most popular tablet


This iPad-to-computer connection allows both gadgets to be connected, even if they are in adjacent rooms. They “see” each other through the shared network created by the router .

Important : The first connection must go through USB using iTunes. In this program, you will need to synchronize the technique. Then everything will be done wirelessly. The exception is systems with OS (OS) Catalina or earlier – there you can use the built-in Finder. 

Sync iPad and PC via Finder

To connect via Finder, you need to do the following:

  1. Open Finder and connect your iPad to your PC. The tablet appears on the side of the window.
  2. Click on the desired iPad on the sidebar.
  3. Confirm the trust in the device.
  4. Select the type of data to work with. To connect, you need to click on “Synchronize”.
  5. Check the box next to the objects to be synchronized.
  6. Confirm new settings.

After setting up Finder, you need to additionally enable wireless syncing. 

For this you need:

  1. Connect your tablet to your PC via USB, open Finder and select the desired gadget.
  2. Click on “Show it if it’s connected to Wi-Fi”.

Sync via iTunes

For Mojave OS and earlier, the connection algorithm is as follows

  1. Connect your iPad to your computer via USB.
  2. Open iTunes and click on the iPad icon on the left.
  3. Go to the “Browse” menu, find “Options” and select “Sync iPad over WiFi.”

Now you need to connect the tablet:

  1. Open “Settings”.
  2. Go to “Basic” – “Sync with iTunes via Wi-fi” and allow the connection.

Then you need to have a working Wi-Fi on your PC and iPad. By connecting to the same network, the equipment will sync automatically.

Important: Which tablet to buy for a child: 5 selection options


For this type of connection, you need a Bluetooth adapter on your computer . In this case, no cables are needed.

Algorithm of actions:

  • turn on Bluetooth on gadgets;
  • select the required PC from the list to connect;
  • sync devices.

Modem mode

The connection algorithm practically does not differ from the Wi-Fi connection. The only difference here is that the tablet itself will be the gadget that distributes the Internet.

Important : This connection option is only available on iPad models where you can insert a work SIM card. Such tablet devices are designated as WiFi + Cellular. Gadgets cannot replace the iPhone, since you cannot call through them, but you can surf the network via the mobile Internet .

The algorithm of actions is as follows:

  • go to iPad settings;
  • go to the “Cellular Data” menu and enable them.

Click on “Modem Mode” and start Internet sharing. It can go through wi-fi, bluetooth or yusb. After that, you should connect the iPad to the PC in one of the following ways:

  1. Via Wi-Fi – it is enough to connect from the PC to the network by entering the created password.
  2. When synchronizing via bluetooth, you should perform the steps described in the paragraph above.
  3. The USB connection option will be relevant if the PC does not have a WiFi or Bluetooth module.

Good to know: How to choose a tablet: a comprehensive step-by-step guide with a description of the key criteria

Launching and configuring iTunes

Most methods require iTunes to be installed for full sync. Also, the application will come to the rescue when you need to send data to the iPhone or to another technique of the apple ecosystem.

The procedure is as follows: 

  1. Connect iPad to PC via USB cable. This step is required the first time. Then everything can be done “over the air”
  2. Wait until the end of the driver installation. This may take 1-5 minutes.
  3. Open iTunes. It usually starts automatically. If this does not happen, you should run the program in any way.
  4. Select the iPad in the “Device” menu.
  5. Synchronize gadgets by clicking on the rectangular icon at the top left.
  6. Go to the subsection “Overview”, find “Options” and click on “Sync iPad over WiFi”.

See also: What is better to choose – a laptop or a tablet: 4 points for comparison

What to do if the computer does not see the iPad

Sometimes the iPad won’t connect to the computer due to some external or internal problem. Why does this happen and what to do in such cases? The answers are summarized in the table below.

Causes Solution
Broken USB port Reconnecting to a different connector.
Disconnect connected gadgets other than iPad
Broken USB cable Replace it with a working one
Problems with iTunes Update to the latest version
Internal PC or Wi-Fi problems Use other gadgets to understand what is the reason
Trouble Lightning on iPad Call certified repairmen. If you try to fix the problem yourself, your iPad will lose its warranty.

See also: What to do if the tablet does not turn on – 2 possible problems and 3 ways to solve them

Connecting iPad directly to a PC will be indispensable when working with large amounts of data. This will significantly save time and traffic. And the above recommendations will simplify the whole procedure for connecting two devices.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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