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Don’t get stuck watching video or playing games on the small screen, your iPhone or iPad can also be used with larger displays. There are a few ways to watch iOS content on a TV, projector or any HDMI-compliant display.

There’s also a difference between mirroring, and simply outputting video. This means you can use your iPhone or iPad to watch videos or listen to audio, while browsing Facebook or the web at the same time!

Here’s how it works.

1. Send Video or Mirror Your Screen With AirPlay

AirPlay is Apple’s proprietary wireless display technology, and it allows you to send an image to an AirPlay receiver completely wirelessly. In order to make use of AirPlay, you’ll need a compatible receiver — the most common for video is the Apple TV (from $149).

The Apple TV connects to your display via HDMI, functions as a set-top box, and has its own apps and App Store. It can do other neat things like display your recent iPhone photos and play music from iTunes or Apple Music. Check out our review of the latest Apple TV here Apple TV 2015 Review & Giveaway Apple TV 2015 Review & Giveaway With competition from Google's Chromecast and Amazon’s FireTV reaching fever pitch, can Cupertino still hold its own in the battle for the space under your TV? Read More .

apple-tv-670

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If you want to output to a Mac or Windows PC instead, you can do so with an application called AirServer ($18.99). You can also buy audio equipment that is compatible with AirPlay, for streaming music.

One thing to keep in mind: You can either mirror the display, which will maintain your device’s screen aspect ratio (e.g. 4:3 for an iPad), or you can output the current video or other media which only sends music, videos, and some games to the TV. In most cases, you’ll want to do the latter.

To mirror your iPhone or iPad’s screen to an AirPlay receiver:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your device’s screen to reveal Control Center.
  2. Tap the AirPlay Mirroring button.
  3. Choose your AirPlay receiver when it appears.

ios-mirroring

Or to simply output the current video, without mirroring the entire screen:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your device’s screen to reveal Control Center.
  2. Swipe left to reveal the iOS media controls.
  3. Tap the name of your device at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Choose your AirPlay receiver when it appears.

As AirPlay is a wireless connection, interference, slow Wi-Fi, older Bluetooth devices, and sometimes plain old bad luck can negatively impact performance. There will likely be a visible delay between input and what you see on the screen if you’re playing a game.

But for watching videos, listening to music, giving presentations, sharing a photo slideshow with family members, or even displaying a website so that others can see the screen too; AirPlay is a great choice.

2. Use a Wired Adapter

There are a few drawbacks to using a wired adapter, but the current model is better than it used to be. The problem stems from the fact that the Lightning port on the iPhone and iPad is not built to output video signal. Whatever Apple’s reasoning (smaller devices probably), the functionality was moved to the adapter itself.

An ExtremeTech article from 2003 explains the problems with the first batch of Lightning-to-HDMI adapters, which topped out at a resolution of 900p. The adapters actually contain ARM-based system-on-chips with 256MB RAM or more. They also cost $49.

apple-lightning-hdmi

Though the current models promise 1080p, reviews aren’t good. The price remains the same at $49, but issues like frequent black screens and sudden hardware failure aren’t uncommon. For the money and hassle involved, an Apple TV doesn’t seem like such a bad investment.

To mirror your screen using a Lightning to HDMI adapter:

  1. Connect your adapter to the lightning port of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Connect your display or projector via HDMI cable (you’ll need to provide your own Why You Should Never Spend More Than $10 On An HDMI Cable Why You Should Never Spend More Than $10 On An HDMI Cable To get the best out of your HD equipment, be it a nice widescreen television, a Blu-ray player, a PS3, or an HD streaming set-top box, you need at least one HDMI cable. Or more... Read More ).
  3. Switch to the correct source on your display to see your device mirrored.

You can also get Lightning to VGA adapters, which seem to have many of the same issues and don’t support HDCP How CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Copy Protection Software Works [Technology Explained] How CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Copy Protection Software Works [Technology Explained] Read More .

3. Also Consider Chromecast

Google’s own wireless “casting” technology can also be used to watch content wirelessly from your iPhone or iPad, though it works a little differently. Chromecast is Google’s answer to the Apple TV, and for $69 allows you to stream content from your mobile device to your TV via HDMI. Check out our review for a closer look Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway We're giving away a Google Chromecast, so read through our review, then join the competition to win! Read More .

It’s not possible to mirror your whole screen using Chromecast, as Apple limits the technology to their own first party products. However many iOS apps like YouTube, Netflix and Spotify include support for Chromecast inside their own apps. Check out Wikipedia’s list of supported Chromecast apps for more.

Each app handles Chromecast integration slightly differently, so there’s no single way to stream video or other media from an iOS app — just look for the “cast” button in the app you’re currently using. The video above explains how Chromecast works within YouTube on various platforms.

What Do You Use?

AirPlay is arguably the best way to mirror or send media to a remote display or audio device, but it’s also the most expensive. Wired solutions are inelegant and problematic given the way the Lightning standard was designed, and Apple seems to be pushing wireless streaming. If you already have a Chromecast, or feel that you can live without true mirroring and make do with compatibility on an app-by-app basis, then this too could be a compelling option.

Personally I have the latest Apple TV at home, and I use AirPlay at least a few times per week.

Do you prefer AirPlay, wired or Chromecast?

Original article written by Simon Slangen.

  1. bromberg
    December 5, 2016 at 5:22 am

    How about an article on mirroring for us Android users?

  2. Bryan Wolfe
    November 30, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Awesome ideas! Of course, with some much available to stream now, you don't have to use these much anymore.

  3. APC Houston
    November 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I use an AppleTv since I have a CastTV.

  4. Michael simon
    July 31, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I have a Sony Bravia smart TV. I can tap into my computer wirelessly to display my pictures and videos. Question: can I mirror the screen on my iPhone 6 to the Sony TV wirelessly without purchasing additional equipment or apps?

  5. Lina
    May 27, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Or you can try MCplayer by Arkuda. It allows you to stream video from ipad/iphone to any other device wirelessly. It uses the UPnP/DLNA technology.

  6. Bettie Kinkeade
    May 1, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I have a Visio Smart TV and I would like to mirror my face time on it from my iPad or iPhone is this possible

  7. Carrie
    April 30, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    every day I HATE my iphone more. Cant wait to get rid of it and get something that actually isn't about Apple's stock holders making money and more about the end user, ME the consumer. I have been using the adapter for over a year, had to replace it 3 times as they are CONSTANTLY going bad and refusing to work. Finally decided to get a new TV with mirroring and what a shock, this piece of crap call iphone doesn't do wireless screen mirroring unless I waste MORE money on another piece of crap apple product. I went from android to apple and was super excited, i love my ipad, but the phone is little better than a paperweight as far as I am concerned.

    • Justin A!!
      June 12, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Totally agree... I can't wait to get another Android phone. The iPhone is s*** compared to it's main rival

      • Isaiah
        May 31, 2016 at 11:57 pm

        Get a iPhone 6s it will solve that problem.

        • Venisha
          November 2, 2016 at 2:59 pm

          I have an iPhone 6s. How do I mirror from my iPhone to my television? Please assist...

    • Roger
      April 13, 2016 at 2:58 am

      Nobody cares what you post online.

  8. robert clive reynolds
    March 20, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I have just purchased a omnicast HDMI streeming dongle, all apears to work well except i cant get mirroring from my iphone 4 onto my TV i have gone through all the setting information without any trouble until i try to switch on mirroring from my phone to the TV when i get to the part in setting to turn on mirroring there is no on switch available only a cancel bar, has any one else experienced this problem if so is there a way round it so as i can mirror all my apps from my iphone onto my TV ??

  9. John Alvarez
    March 10, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Ok so I'm trying to view videos in a vehicle using the ipad, but also viewing on the ipad as well . How can I do this, I've tried sports but cannot find a reliable link, they send me to some coupon page .

  10. Dave
    January 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    i had the HDMI connector to my iphone 4s and it worked great...on ios 7....once i updated to ios 8, it no longer recognized it...another reason to hate 8. been trying to find a way to downgrade but apple did something to no longer support any later generations.

  11. Rosel
    September 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    This is the adapter that you need for the new idevices like iphone 5, ipad mini and etc.

    Lightning Digital Av Adapter - http://amzn.to/18f7LbE
    HDMI cable : http://amzn.to/Xku7C1

    This is the adapter needed for old idevices :

    a 30 pin digital av adapter - http://amzn.to/Xethqq

  12. Alex
    July 1, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I think Airplay is the best method to connect your iDevice to a TV. Compared to the Lightning adapter the Apple TV delivers more value for money. A nice infographic in this tutorial brings it to the point: iPhone to TV: Airplay vs. HDMI

    • Simon S
      July 1, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      AirPlay is great, but for me the biggest factor is actually the TV and furniture.

      In my dorm, I use a lightning adapter (you can pick one up really cheap on eBay if you don't mind that it wasn't made by Apple) for quick plug and play.

      At home, plugging in cables in the cramped space behind the TV is an acrobatic feat that's worthy of legend. And even if you manage that (or leave the cable lying around), there's no good place to put down your device. Hence, an Apple TV is the tool of choice.

  13. Idiocracy
    April 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    "All generation iOS devices support Video Out..."

    The iPod Touch supports video out only on 4th generation and beyond. I still have a 3rd gen and remain in the dark ages with neither video out nor a camera.

  14. macwitty
    April 29, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I use AirServer (from MacHeist bundle) an it works very well.

  15. shafk
    April 29, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Nice Article ... I know it's a little out of the scope - But how can the same be achieved on android devices?

    • Simon Slangen
      April 29, 2013 at 9:05 am

      I'm not sure about Android. Try asking on MakeUseOf Answers. I hope you find what you're looking for!

    • Anonymous
      October 4, 2013 at 3:04 am

      Use chromecast . It will mirror chrome browser though not the entire device

    • tony
      March 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Much easier! With a galaxy, there is screen mirroring, where you can wirelessly mirror what's on your phone screen onto your smart tv. All you do is open screen mirroring and it will automatically search for compatible devices like wifi, once you find the device you want to use, say your smart tv, computer, tablet, etc. Connect to to it and you're all set.

    • Rufat
      March 29, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Android has built in screen mirroring option.

    • Anonymous
      May 7, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Miracast or hdmi

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