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Use Apple AirPlay to mirror your iPhone, iPad or Mac screen to a TV

With the right equipment, casting your phone, tablet or computer's screen to your TV is incredibly easy.

mirror-iphone

Put your iPhone, iPad or Mac's screen on your TV using AirPlay. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Casting the contents of your iPhone, iPad or Mac screen onto your TV is a convenient way to see a larger version of a video clip or chat, show off photos or play a game. With the right equipment, mirroring your small screen device to a TV screen is incredibly easy.

The process works with most modern TVs, but there are a couple of different ways to get there, depending on which TV you have and whether it supports Apple's AirPlay.  

For example, any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 4.2 or newer will have AirPlay built-in, which makes mirroring a cinch. That means even if you have an Apple device that's several years old, it most likely supports and works with AirPlay. For those without an Apple TV, don't fret -- we'll walk you through your options, too.

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The Apple TV is the easiest means to mirror your screen, but not the only way. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Have an Apple TV? It's easy peasy

If you already use an Apple TV to stream movies and shows, then you don't need to buy or do anything other than tap a few buttons on your screen. Just make sure your Apple device and Apple TV are on the same Wi-Fi network, then follow these instructions. There are two sets: One for the iPhone and iPad, and one for Mac. 

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Mirror your iPhone or iPad display in just a couple of taps. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Mirror your iPhone or iPad

1. Swipe down from the top-right corner on newer iPhone models, or up from the bottom of the display, to access Control Center

2. Tap the Screen Mirroring button. 

3. Select your TV.

4. If prompted, enter the passcode shown on your TV. 

5. A checkmark will show up next to your TV's name when a connection is made. 

You can then go about using your phone or tablet as you normally would, but everything you do on your screen will also be shown on the TV. To stop mirroring, open the Screen Mirror section in Control Center again and select Stop Mirroring

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Mirror your Mac's screen with two clicks. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Mirror your Mac's screen

Follow these steps to see your computer screen on the big screen:

1. Click on the AirPlay icon in the menu bar. It should be next to the time in the top-right corner. 

2. Select your TV.

3. Your screen will flash followed by a list of options showing up in the AirPlay menu, with a checkmark next to Mirror Built-in display

If you can't find the AirPlay icon, open System Preferences > Display and check the box next to Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available at the bottom of the window.

Everything you do on your Mac will show up on your TV as long as AirPlay mirroring is turned on. When you're done, click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar and select Stop AirPlay.

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AirPlay 2 works on some smart TVs, allowing you to cast your phone's screen to the TV you already own. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

No Apple TV? No problem

If you use a streaming platform like Roku or Fire TV, it doesn't make sense to invest in an Apple TV just so you can mirror your iPhone. You can definitely broadcast your screen on your TV with the right equipment. Read on.

Check your smart TV for AirPlay 2 support

Apple's AirPlay 2 standard is built into some smart TVs, bypassing the need for an Apple TV set-top box to make mirroring work. Apple has a complete list of all smart TVs with AirPlay 2 support. For example, many models from LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio from 2018 will work. If you have one of the models listed by Apple but don't have AirPlay 2, check with your manufacturer -- you may need to update your TV's software. 

In order to mirror content to an AirPlay 2 TV, you'll need an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 12.3 or newer, or a Mac running MacOS Mojave 10.14.5 or later.

If you have the proper smart TV and an up to date Apple device, then you can follow the same instructions we outlined above to mirror your display. 

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A hardwired connection will get the job done. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

No AirPlay? Use a wired connection

You can also connect your Apple device directly to your TV by using an adapter and HDMI cable. 

For iPhone and iPad owners with a device that has a Lightning port, you'll need to pick up Apple's $49 Lightning Digital AV Adapter. If you have a 2018 iPad Pro or newer, you'll need Apple's $69 USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. For Macs with USB-C ports, you can use the same USB-C adapter as the iPad Pro. Otherwise, you'll need a USB-to-HDMI adapter like this one on Amazon.

To use an adapter with your iPhone or iPad, plug it into the bottom of your phone or tablet, connect your charger to the adapter, and then plug in your TV's HDMI cable. Mac users will need to plug in the adapter, and connect to the HDMI cable. Your device will automatically recognize it's connected to an external display and will show up on your TV as long as you have the input for your HDMI connection selected. You don't have to adjust any settings -- it just works. 

Connecting any computer to a TV can be confusing due to the various plugs and adapters, but we can walk you through the ins and outs. Mirroring your screen on a TV is incredibly useful, especially for tasks like video chat so the entire family can see. Speaking of video chat, finding yourself using Zoom a lot right now? We have some Zoom tips and tricks to help you out. If you're using an iPad to get work done at home, then check out these tips to make the your iPad work harder for you