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 to learn more about the differences between these video connectors.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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