How to turn your iPad into a digital photo frame

Quick steps

  • On your iPad, go to Settings > Display & Brightness
  • Press ‘Auto-Lock’ and select ‘Never’
  • In the Photos app, create a new album with your chosen photos
  • Now go to Settings > Accessibility > Guided Access > enable
  • Find your new album in the Photos app and tap the three-dot menu button
  • Select “Slideshow” and triple-press the Home button to enable Guided Access

How to turn your iPad into a digital photo frame

Whether you’re looking to reinvent an old tablet or add a bowstring to the current one, you might be wondering how to turn your iPad into a digital camera. Luckily, it’s pretty simple – and our guide is here to show you the two best ways to do it.

A digital photo frame is a great way to bring photos into your home without creating even more physical clutter. Unfortunately, cheap screens usually have mediocre screens. And the best digital photo frames aren’t always cheap. But if you have an old iPad lying around, it can be turned into a brilliant photo frame.

You may find that using a current-generation iPad is slightly excessive or interrupts your daily tablet use. But if you tend to use your iPad in spurts, this is a great way to use it more – and it’s a great way to breathe new life into older technology.

There are two methods recommended here. The former requires no additional software, just the features built into your iPad software. In the second, we’ll also see why you might want to use one of the few decent photo frame apps for iPad, and the extra features they offer.

How to turn your iPad into a digital photo frame: method one (Photos app)

While picture frames are typically designed to stay backlit all day, tablets are more like phones, with screens that turn off after a while if there’s no user interaction. user.

You control this in Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-lock. Set Auto-lock to Never and the screen will not dim automatically. This also means, of course, that you’ll want to plug your iPad into a power source, or it will shut down after the iPad’s usual 10-hour battery runs out. Here are the rest of the steps needed to get your iPad to behave like a digital photo frame.

Step by step instructions

  • This method only uses your iPad and the built-in Photos app, so it’s pretty straightforward. First of all, go to Settings > Display & Brightness on your iPad. Now press ‘Auto-Lock’ and select ‘Never’. This helps prevent your iPad from locking up while viewing your photos.

An iPad showing the settings menu screen

(Image credit: future)
  • Now is the time to create an album for the photos you want to display on your iPad digital photo frame. Open the Photos appthen in the navigation panel select “New Album” under the “My Albums” heading.

An iPad showing the process of creating a new album in the Photos app

(Image credit: future)
  • Enter a name (maybe “digital photo frame”, to help you distinguish it from your other albums), click save and select the photos you want to see on your iPad photo frame by tapping on it. Tap “Done” when you’re done.

An iPad screen showing a grid of photos in the Photos app

(Image credit: future)
  • Now it’s time to configure the digital photo frame mode of the iPad. Open ‘Settings’ again from the iPad home screen, then Go to Accessibility > Guided Access, then tap the switch to turn it on.

The iPad settings menu showing Guided Access mode

(Image credit: future)
  • Now return to the Photos app and select the “digital photo frame” album you did done earlier. Tap the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner and select ‘Slideshow’.

An iPad showing the Photos app and its Slideshow menu

(Image credit: future)
  • To finish, press the Home or Power button three times to activate Guided Access. This will prevent the iPad from quitting the Photos app and disable its usual hardware buttons. To exit Guided Access and return your iPad to Normal Mode, double-click the Home button and unlock with Touch ID (if enabled).

An iPad screen showing a slideshow of photos

(Image credit: future)

How to turn your iPad into a digital photo frame: second method (LiveFrame application)

An iPad makes a good digital photo frame with the Photos app alone, but you can also try a third-party app that adds secondary functionality. For example, LiveFrame lets you have your iPad photo frame display the time and date if you want. Photos can also be displayed up to 30 minutes before the change.

LiveFrame is free to download and try, but you’ll see a pop-up after five minutes of use, after which you can either buy the app ($4.99/£4.49/AU$7.99) or watch an advertisement for an additional five minutes of use. .

Most of the previous points in this guide still apply to this method. You want to set up screen timeout, create an album in Photos, and if you want to use it, enable Guided Access. However, you obviously will want to download and run LiveFrame.

  • iPad
  • LiveFrame app (free version, ad-free $4.99 / £4.49 / AU$7.99)

Step by step instructions

  • First of all, follow the first four steps of the first method (see above). This will ensure your iPad doesn’t get locked and also enable Guided Access, so you can freeze its usual functionality and make it work more like a digital photo frame. Do all that? Now is the time to Download LiveFrame from the App Storethen open it.

An iPad showing the LiveFrame app in the App Store

(Image credit: future)
  • The first screen you will see in LiveFrame is a simple navigation menu, which allows you to choose source images for your photo frame. It can connect to social networks like Flickr and Instagram, but for the classic frame experience, we’ll use the album we created earlier. Select My Device in the left navigation panethe select Custom Album Selection. Grant LiveFrame access to your iPad photos in the pop-up window.

An iPad screen showing the LiveFrame app settings menu

(Image credit: future)
  • Select your iPad in the main pane on the right and you should see an entry for the “digital photo frame” album you created earlier. Tap it, then tap the “play” button icon in the upper right corner to start a slideshow. Now press the Home or Power button three times to start Guided Access.

An iPad screen showing a photo of a train at a station

(Image credit: future)
  • Apps like LiveFrame allow you to customize your slideshow. When your slideshow is paused, you can find them by go to the app’s Settings menu by tapping the cog in the top right corner. One of the most useful settings is the Auto Sleep/Wake feature. This lets you set a schedule for the photo frame to wake up and go to sleep automatically. Thanks to how the iPad works, this means that the tablet will still be active, but the screen will be blacked out while the photo frame is “asleep” (without consuming too much power).

An iPad screen showing the LiveFrame app settings menu

(Image credit: future)

Next steps

Photo frames are all about the visual, so we ideally want the iPad to look less like a tablet, and more like a photo frame.

The affordable and sensible route is to simply get a stand that holds your iPad at an angle similar to a picture frame. You’ll find them on Amazon at low prices from companies like Ugreen, Topways, and Lamicall.

A small company called EventFrame goes much further, producing ‘handmade’ solid oak in nine different colours/stains. The iPad is secured at the back with a thick bungee cord, which means the tablet isn’t locked behind a backing plate, as a picture is usually in a frame.

An Eventframe on an iPad showing a photo of the sea

(Image credit: Eventframe)

EventFrame sells its products on Etsy (opens in a new tab)where it has excellent reviews, and on its website (opens in a new tab). The only problem is that these frames aren’t cheap, which can ruin the appeal if you’re looking to save money by repurposing an old iPad.

You should also consider getting an extra-long, right-angled charging cable, which keeps the power cord close to the frame rather than having it bend awkwardly. However, check which connector your iPad uses before ordering. All base iPads have Lightning connectors, while the latest mid-range and high-end iPads use USB-C. If your iPad is a bit older, it will use a Lightning port.

If your iPad is really old, it might have a classic 30-pin connector. Right-angle 30-pin charging cables are relatively rare, but if you’re able to reuse such an old tablet, you’re already earning double the points for technical preservation.

About Debra D. Johnson

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