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The iPad (or even the iPhone) is a great device to enjoy apps and video while you’re on the road, or in bed. In fact, you can enjoy your media wherever you are. However, sitting a small distance from your big television set, some of this media might be wasted on the small screen of your iOS device.

Instead, you could switch to your computer, or a media center hooked up to your TV. But if you want to enjoy the content from your iPhone or iPad, there’s a third option. You could display the image of your iOS device to your television set. This instantly makes any TV into a smart TV, allowing for Hulu, Netflix, and even apps that do not have a desktop alternative.

There are a number of ways to hook up your iOS device to the television screen; both wired and wireless.

1. Use A Video Adapter

The simplest solution to get your iPhone’s or iPad’s video to show on your television screen is to use a hardware adapter. Apple, and other third-party hardware manufacturers, provide adapters to convert Apple’s proprietary 30-pin, or the new Lightning Connector connector to another type of video plug.

Check the back of your television set, or its manual to find out which types of plugs are supported and read Video Cables Explained: Difference between VGA, DVI & HDMI Video Cables Explained: Difference between VGA, DVI & HDMI Ports Video Cables Explained: Difference between VGA, DVI & HDMI Ports When you buy a new computer, it's important to look at what type of output ports it supports. Most displays have multiple input ports is because there's no clearcut standard for video connectors. In fact,... Read More to learn more about the differences between these video connectors.

iphone to tv

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Once you’ve found the right connection, likely HDMI or RCA, check out your local hardware store or the online Apple Store to find a connector. You can try online marketplaces like eBay too and save a big part of the money, but there’s no guarantee the connector will be recognised by your iOS device.

connect iphone to tv

All generation iOS devices support Video Out, which is a framework that lets an app explicitly output video to connected AV adapters. You can expect Video Out to work with most video and photo apps, but it probably won’t be incorporated into your mail or calendar application.

Later generation iOS devices (iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and later devices) also support Video Mirroring. Here, you can mirror your entire iPhone or iPad screen to your television set, unless the app explicitly uses the video out feature to show a different image configuration.

View this Apple Support article for more compatibility information.

(Cydia) DisplayOut

Apple’s limiting of video mirroring is 80% marketing move. If you’ve jailbroken you’re device, you can use the $2.99 Cydia app DisplayOut to introduce the video mirroring functionality to all iPhones and iPads, regardless of generation and connector type (although, admittedly, HDMI adapters work better than component or composite cables).

connect iphone to tv

Cydia is available through the BigBoss repo. This repo should have been added to Cydia by default. If nothing shows up on your search results, you can still add the BigBoss repo through Manage -> Sources -> More Package Sources.

(Cydia) Resupported 4.0+

Another Cydia tweak that’ll help you with your video output is Resupported 4.0+. As mentioned earlier on, not all AV adaptor cables are recognised by every iOS device. For example, iPod cables or usually unsupported by iPhones and iPads, even if the connector is essentially the same. Although Resupported 4.0+ provides no guarantee, it all but says to make every iOS AV cable supported again.

connect iphone to tv

This functionality is available for $3.99 through the Cydia store, which is a lot less than you’ll save buying an “unsupported” AV connector. Better yet, you can try the product for free, for ten full days.

If you haven’t already jailbroken your iPhone or iPad, these two apps might be sufficient reason to do so. Read MakeUseOf’s guide, How To Jailbreak Your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad by Lachlan Roy, to get started.

2. Stream Over AirPlay To The Apple TV

If you have an Apple TV at home, this process gets a lot less convoluted. Instead of fumbling around with AV connectors, you can simply stream your iPhone or iPad’s image to the Apple TV. The third generation of Apple even supports 1080p video! If that doesn’t tell mean much to you, read our write-up on display resolutions Graphic Display Resolutions - What Do The Numbers Mean? [MakeUseOf Explains] Graphic Display Resolutions - What Do The Numbers Mean? [MakeUseOf Explains] Display resolutions can be a rather cryptic business, with multiple standards used to describe the same display resolution in 10 different ways. All of those technical terms tend to change based on the display's purpose... Read More .

connecting iphone to tv

Supported applications, like Apple’s own Video app, or in fact any web video, will show an AirPlay icon when there’s an Apple TV connected to your local network. Pressing the AirPlay icon and selecting your Apple TV will start wirelessly streaming your screen. Learn more about AirPlay from What’s AirPlay, And How To Use It In Mac OS X Mountain Lion What's AirPlay, And How To Use It In Mac OS X Mountain Lion What's AirPlay, And How To Use It In Mac OS X Mountain Lion Imagine you want to play your favorite album in Spotify. Naturally, you'll be hooking your computer up to a better sound station. But what if you're lying in bed, or sitting on the couch? Ideally,... Read More .

If you want to mirror your iOS device’s screen from unsupported apps, there’s usually not much you can do. However, if you’ve jailbroken your device, the Cydia DisplayOut app discussed above also lets you mirror your device’s screen to the Apple TV on iOS 5+.

3. Stream Over AirPlay To Your Computer

Mirroring your iPhone or iPad’s screen to your television set might be a new obstacle, but chances are you’ve already found a way to connect your computer to your TV How To Output Video From A PC Or A Laptop To A TV How To Output Video From A PC Or A Laptop To A TV The computer is one of the most versatile video players ever invented. It can play discs, various files or stream video from the web. There’s little that isn’t available on a PC, and if something... Read More . In fact, most laptop nowadays come with HDMI ports, as do most new TV’s. This makes hooking up your computer to your TV easier than ever before.

If you’ve already connected your computer to your TV, you could simply project your iOS device’s screen to your computer and get the same results. This adds an additional device in the chain, but it may keep you from needlessly buying additional hardware.

iphone to tv

AirServer transforms your Mac or PC into an AirPlay receiver. Instead of shelling out over a hundred bucks to purchase an Apple TV, you can purchase AirServer for $14.99 to transform your computer into one. With AirServer installed, you can stream video from your iPad to your computer, full-screen. In fact, you can even mirror multiple devices side-by-side!

How do you go about mirroring iOS to your television set? Do you prefer cables or wireless? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

Image credit: Television via Shutterstock

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

    • Roger
      April 13, 2016 at 2:58 am

      Nobody cares what you post online.

  5. 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 ??

  6. 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 .

  7. 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.

  8. 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 -
    HDMI cable :

    This is the adapter needed for old idevices :

    a 30 pin digital av adapter -

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

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

  12. 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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