iPad + Mac – Utilize Shared Ethernet for Ableton Link + Internet

Back in the good ole’ days there was no fancy wireless connections. Nowadays, all the connections are mostly wireless, and not so fancy (at times) for the high-availability sync protocols producers require. Fortunately, Apple’s CCK 3, or Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter to be official, now solves many of the issues.

There are several ways to connect an iPad to your Mac. But for this article I’m going to focus on the following:

  1. A Wired Ethernet connection from the Mac to your home Switch (Cable Modem, Router etc., with an Ethernet Jack).
  2. A Wired Ethernet connection from the iPad to your Mac that enables your iPad to Connect to the Internet, and can utilize Ableton’s Link protocol over this Ethernet connection.

This is a fairly painless setup, but you’re going to need some dongles, which aren’t exactly inexpensive!

Here are the Steps: (You can disable Wi-Fi on your devices if you like).

  1. Connect the Mac to your Switch via the Apple Thunderbolt-to-Gigabit Ethernet connector.
  2. Connect the Mac to your iPad via the Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet connector, which then connects to the Apple USB Ethernet Connector, which plugs into the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, which is plugged out to a 2.4A power source, and lastly plugged into your iPad’s Lightning Port.  **Note – the connection won’t work without a 2.4A power supply, and I recommend not trying 3rd party connectors here, unless you already have them on-hand.
  3. On the Mac, navigate to System Preferences –> Network. Here you’ll see 2 Connections. One of the connections is your Mac’s connection to your Switch (and should have the Green Dot, the other being the connection between your Mac and iPad. Your iPad connection probably has the Unhappy Yellow connection, with the message it has a self-assigned IP Address…

So now to fix the Unhappy Yellow connection, we’ll create a Bridge:

From within the Network Settings Panel, Click on the Settings icon

then Click Manage Virtual Interfaces. When the new window pops up,  you’ll click the + Sign and select New Bridge.

Now we want to add the 2 Connections we made above, to the Bridge. Make Sure the names match (if you happen to have other connections to select from). Give your Bridge a name, then click Create.

You can now watch the Network Settings panel, and your new Bridge should be in the Green. Both the original connections should no longer be listed.

on the iPad, it may take a few minutes for the new connection to enumerate. I’ve noticed that new connections can take a few minutes. You’ll know it’s working if you try anything requiring an internet connection!

That’s it. Now you’ve got internet sharing between your Mac & iPad. If you launch Ableton Live, and a Link-Enabled iOS app, you’ll have a persistent wired timing connection. The other obvious advantages are live situations where you don’t want to rely on ad-hoc, or external wi-fi networks.  


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