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Home / Gadgets / How to Mirror the iPhone or iPad to Your TV

How to Mirror the iPhone or iPad to Your TV

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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!

Before you go out and buy whatever cable is compatible with your iDevice, take heed. Some solutions will surprise you with unexpected quirks worth knowing first.

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.

apple-tv-670

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.Digital A/V Adapter

Photo by Best Buy

For a more portable, less-expensive solution, Apple’s Digital A/V Adapter will do the trick. One end plugs into your iDevice, while the other attaches to an HDMI cable, and finally, into your TV (or receiver).

There are two versions of the A/V adapter, however — one for lightning devices, and one compatible with older devices using the 30-pin dock connector. Both essentially do the same thing, but the video quality is slightly different.

Once plugged in, the Lightning adapter — compatible with the iPhone 5 and later, iPad Mini, and iPad (fourth gen.) and later — mirrors everything seen on your iDevice on your TV. Most times, it will be an exact reflection, but once in a while you’ll notice that an app has been modified to work differently with mirroring. For example, Netflix will display a logo on the TV while you browse the catalog on your phone. Only when a movie or show is selected will it be mirrored on the TV.

Beware, though: after some testing and commentary from a purported Apple employee, Panic Blog discovered that the Lightning A/V adapter doesn’t actually output a raw HDMI signal. Instead, chips inside the adapter compress the video signal before sending it off to your TV. That being said, video will look very good, but it will never be true 1080p.

For older iDevices, the answer is Apple’s 30-pin digital A/V adapter. Here, however, compatibility and function isn’t so cut-and-dried.

While iPhone 4S (and later) and iPad users will be able to mirror their screens like the Lightning adapter (see above), owners of older iOS devices can only use the adapter to watch slideshows, onboard videos, and compatible video apps. Good for some purposes, but that completely rules out music and viewing apps that don’t support video-out.

3.How to connect an older iPad or iPhone to a TV: Use Apple’s Composite AV Cable

If you own an older iPhone or iPad with a 30-pin connector (if it’s an iPhone 4s or older, or one of the first three generations of iPad, it’ll have a 30-pin connector; the iPhone 5 and later, the iPad 4 and later, all of the iPad Air and iPad mini models and the iPad Pro have Lightning instead), then the Apple Composite AV Cable (£35) is your best option.

It works in a similar way to the Lightning Digital AV Adapter above, except that you’ll need to use the composite video input on your TV instead of HDMI, and make sure any videos you want to watch are SD rather than HD.

4.Connect With a DLNA App
If you have a recent Internet-enabled HDTV, it probably supports DLNA, a generic form of media streaming available on many different manufacturers’ products. You can stream unprotected music and video files (in other words, files stored in iTunes other than music and videos from the iTunes Store) using the third-party app ArkMC, available from the App Store for $4.99.

ArkMC Media Server

Connect your iPhone or iPad and your HDTV to the same home network. Open the ArkMC app on your device. Tap the “Arkuda DMS” option, then choose music, photos, or videos. On the Select Media Renderer screen, choose your TV.

If your TV doesn’t show up on the list, you may need to activate its DLNA function. Go to the TV’s Internet connection menu and look for an option to stream from a PC or home server. That’s DLNA. The Arkuda DMS folder may show up on your TV’s screen at that point, and you can navigate to a file and play it.

5.Connect With an Android TV Stick
There are more arcane, hackerish ways to connect your iPhone or iPad to your TV. For instance, you can get an Android powered TV stick, plug it into the back of your TV, install the Kodi media server app (formerly known as XBMC), and the stick will be able to play unprotected music and video from the built-in apps on your device by using the AirPlay button. It won’t support screen mirroring or protected video streaming.

Generic Android TV Stick

In my experience, though, this approach is typically a nightmare. The sticks are slow, buggy, and unreliable, and Kodi support tends to break.

While we haven’t reviewed Android TV sticks. I suggest you look at this roundup from Laptop Mag if you want to go this route. Here’s a hint about what a pain they are: The review of the highest-rated product includes the phrase, “Once we downloaded an updated version of the device’s official firmware from geekbuying.com and flashed the MK808B.”

While this is definitely a way to save money over an Apple TV (and the stick can run any Android app on your TV, which is cool), what’s your time worth? Probably more than the $50 difference.

Sources:
MakeUseOf
CNET
MacWorld
PCMag

 

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