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.
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!)
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.
- RDP: Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol
- 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:
- Via Command Line: Use the raspi-config screen and select » Advanced Options» > «SSH» > «OK» . Reboot when prompted.
- Through the Raspbian desktop: select » Settings» > «Raspberry Pi Configuration» > «Interfaces» and select » ssh» . Click OK, to confirm.
- 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.
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
When connecting to your Raspberry Pi via SSH, enter the following to update the package list and install xrdp.