The Raspberry Pi is a great computer, but it’s not always the most convenient device to access. If you don’t have a permanent connection to the display, you will probably be able to access it via SSH, VNC, or RDP

But what if you don’t have the right display? How will you use it? One solution is to use an Android tablet (or smartphone) as a Raspberry Pi display.

What works and what doesn’t

Want to set up your Android device as a display for your Raspberry Pi? It’s easier than you think.

All you need is to have both devices on the same network, a keyboard and mouse connected to your Raspberry Pi (via USB cable or wireless), and a stand for your Android device to use as a monitor.

It works.

Unfortunately, direct connection of the tablet display to the Raspberry Pi does not work. Neither the GPIO nor the DSI port is compatible with tablet displays. This means that using the old tablet screen for the Raspberry Pi display is not possible. Even if you manage to connect devices, there will be no pleasant pictures. (You may also need a new Raspberry Pi!)

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

Let’s stick with options that work. Here’s what you need:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 (older versions are fine, but will need a wireless dongle)
  • Android tablet
  • Tablet stand or suitable case
  • Keyboard (you probably won’t need a mouse, thanks to the tablet’s touchscreen)
  • Wireless network access

Using an Android tablet as a screen for Raspberry Pi

You have two options for using your Android tablet or phone as a display for your Raspberry Pi.

  1. RDP: Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol
  2. VNC: virtual network connection

Each of these options can give you full access to your Raspberry Pi via Android. Luckily, none of them are difficult to set up. Both have been tested with Raspberry Pi 3 but should work with older versions including Pi Zero.

To use any of these solutions, you’ll need to make sure your Raspberry Pi and Android tablet are on the same network. Unfortunately, this won’t work if you’re using an Android device as a wireless hotspot. In this case, you will need two Android devices; one for WAP and one for the display.

For both options, you should first make sure SSH is enabled on your Raspberry Pi. This will make headless setup easy, allowing you to set up RDP and VNC from your PC. You can then connect from your Android device.

You can enable SSH in three ways:

  1. Via Command Line: Use the raspi-config screen and select » Advanced Options» > «SSH» > «OK» . Reboot when prompted.
  2. Through the Raspbian desktop: select » Settings» > «Raspberry Pi Configuration» > «Interfaces» and select » ssh» . Click OK, to confirm.
  3. With the Pi turned off, remove the SD card and open it in a file browser on your PC. In the boot directory, create a new file named «ssh» without the file extension. Carefully remove the card and replace it with the Raspberry Pi. When you enable it, SSH will be enabled.

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

You can connect to your Raspberry Pi via SSH using an app like PuTTY for Windows . Linux and macOS users can establish SSH connections through the terminal You need to know the IP address of your Raspberry Pi, which you can find by entering

ifconfig wlan0 

Make a note of the IP address as you will need it later.

Connect Android to Raspberry Pi via RDP

First, let’s try it with RDP. This is the best option since you can do more with the remote device. For example, graphically intensive sessions will work over RDP but may struggle with VNC. Linux has its own RDP software known as xrdp.

You will need:

  • RDP software installed on your Raspberry Pi
  • RDP app on your Android device

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

When connecting to your Raspberry Pi via SSH, enter the following to update the package list and install xrdp.

 sudo apt update sudo apt install xrdp 

Then search for the Android RDP app. Microsoft Remote Desktop is a good option.

Download : Microsoft Remote Desktop for Android (Free)

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

Run the application, click the » select » Desktop» and enter your Raspberry Pi computer name. This can be a hostname (usually «raspberrypi») or an IP address. In the Username field, you can enter your credentials each time you connect (enter every time ) or create an account in the app ( add user account ). Some advanced options are also available, but you won’t need to access them at this point.

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

Click save, when you are done to add the connection to your collection. When you’re ready to connect, click on the tile. You will be warned that the remote computer could not be verified but this is related to your Pi’s Linux operating system. You can safely push the button connect .

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

You will then see the login screen for xrdp. Just enter the username and password of your regular Raspberry Pi account (the default is pi: raspberry , but you must change them. ) and press OK .

Add a VNC connection for remote access

The second option is to use the VNC software on your Raspberry Pi and Android device to access your desktop. With a keyboard attached, you’ll feel like you’re connected directly to the Pi!

VNC is a popular option for remotely connecting to a Raspberry Pi from a PC, but how does it work on Android?

For this you will need:

  • VNC server software installed on Raspberry Pi 3
  • VNC viewer installed on your android device

When you’re ready, install the VNC server. While the Raspbian Stretch operating system comes with RealVNC installed, it’s not as robust as the TightVNC we’re using here and has been popular with Pi enthusiasts for a long time. her On your Pi, update your repositories, then install TightVNC Server:

 sudo apt update sudo apt install tightvncserver 

Wait until this completes, then use the command

 tightvncserver 

set up a VNC connection.

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

This is usually automated, although you will be asked to provide passwords; don’t forget it! Make a note of the session’s IP address.

Then find the VNC client for Android. Somewhat accessible, RealVNC’s VNC Viewer is perfect.

Download : VNC Viewer for Android

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

After installing the app and booting up the Pi, open the VNC Viewer and click » +», to create a new connection using the IP address and session number. For example, using the network configuration in the previous section, you can enter

 192.168.10.21:1 

The session number follows the IP address. Pay attention to the options that are displayed on the right when you click the » Create» .

If you choose to continue, you will be informed that the connection is not encrypted. Accept the connection (you should be safe on your home network) and then enter the password. Click » Proceed», when you’re ready and the connection will open. When you’re ready to end the connection, click x.

use android tablet as screen for raspberry pi

Enter your password when prompted and enjoy accessing your Raspberry Pi with your keyboard and Android tablet as a display!

Add a simple Raspberry Pi Display from Android

Using an Android tablet as a display for your Raspberry Pi is a great way to use an old device. It’s easy to set up and as long as the battery stays charged it should be reliable. You can also explore these handy ways to power your Raspberry Pi for portable projects.

What’s more, with a keyboard and mouse and a handy charger, you have the option to make your Raspberry Pi completely portable. Having an internet connection via an Android 4G connection can also prove invaluable. And pairing your Raspberry Pi with a touchscreen tablet gives you even more mobility. Check out our guide to building your own Android tablet with Raspberry Pi.

Interested in learning more about using your Raspberry Pi? View our unofficial guide unofficial guide unofficial guide

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