How To Connect A MIDI Keyboard To An iPad (Wired Connection)

20 March 2017

Lightning To USB3

UPDATE: iPad Piano Lessons — Musiah Unity for iPad (Beta) is Now Available.


At the time of writing, I am pleased to confirm that we are on track to release a beta iPad version of Musiah Unity piano lessons before the end of this month (March 2017).


Note: Participation in the beta testing will be by invitation only — so if you have not yet registered your interest, please do so by email to [email protected] and we will contact you.


Ahead of the release, for those of you interested in trying out the beta iPad version, now is a good time to be thinking about the equipment needed.


Just to clarify, the MIDI keyboard requirements for students of Musiah piano lessons are the same regardless of whether you wish to use your MIDI keyboard with a computer or an iPad. (Detailed information about MIDI keyboard requirements can be viewed on our MIDI Keyboard Info page).


When it comes to connecting a MIDI keyboard to an iPad, most people ask the obvious question, what cables do I need, etc. to make the connection?


But there’s a more fundamental consideration to be addressed first…


Does Your MIDI keyboard Have Its Own Power Supply?


The main consideration to be aware of is that an iPad running on battery usually does not have enough juice to power both itself and a MIDI keyboard.


So there are two possible scenarios:


SCENARIO ONE: If your MIDI keyboard has its own power supply / cable that you can plug into a wall...


then you can use any of the various cable / connection options available from Apple.


For example, you can connect a MIDI-to-USB Cable or USB 2.0 cable from the back of your MIDI keyboard either to an iPad Camera Connection Kit or to a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and then plug that into your iPad.


If you happen to already own one of these adapters / kits, great. Just use that.


SCENARIO TWO: If your MIDI keyboard does NOT have its own power supply / cable that you can plug into a wall…


then it typically draws its power directly from a usb port, e.g. when used with a computer it draws its power from a USB port on your computer.


If you want to use this kind of keyboard with an iPad — you can, however your Apple accessory options are slightly more limited. At the time of writing, the option I suggest is a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (pictured above). (Australian Apple store)


In this case you would connect a USB 2.0 cable from the back of your MIDI keyboard to the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter and then plug that into your iPad. And to provide enough power to run both the iPad and your MIDI keyboard, you would also connect your iPad power supply to the USB 3 Camera Adapter.


This particular adapter is, in my opinion, the most versatile of the Apple adapters available at the time of writing as you can use this cable with any MIDI keyboard whether or not it has its own power supply.


So even if your MIDI keyboard has its own power supply as per Scenario One, if you do not currently own a Camera Connection Kit / Adapter, the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter is the one I suggest.


Another benefit of using the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter is that your iPad will be continuously charged, whereas if you run it on battery, you’ll need to charge it in advance.


Disclaimer: iPad connection options are evolving all the time. If in doubt, please remember that Apple are the experts on Apple connectors, so they are the best people to advise you on the appropriate connectors between your MIDI keyboard and an iPad.


Is It Possible To Connect A MIDI Keyboard To An iPad Wirelessly?


Yes, there are some emerging products that will allow you to connect your MIDI keyboard wirelessly to your iPad via Bluetooth. How To Connect MIDI Keyboard To iPad With Bluetooth (Wirelessly) has more information on this topic.


I hope the above information is helpful, and if I can be of further assistance, please feel free to comment below or email me at [email protected].


Thanks for reading.


Brendan Hogan

Piano Teacher & Musiah Inventor


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