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How to stream from your iPhone to your TV using AirPlay or screen mirroring

Maria Diaz | ZDNET

AirPlay from Apple lets iPhone users mirror their screen on a TV, so they can play their videos and music on the bigger screen, or view pictures. We’ll specifically focus on a few different ways to do that.

Also: How to connect your laptop to a TV – quickly and easily

If you want to AirPlay to your TV, make sure both your iPhone and either your television, Roku or Apple TV 4K are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If you have a Roku that you’re using to connect, ensure it has the latest updates by going to Settings, then selecting System. Then go to System Update and choose Check Now.

How to stream from your iPhone to your TV with AirPlay

We’ll cover the two easy ways to stream from your iPhone to your television: you can choose to use screen mirroring or stream specific media like photos and videos without mirroring your screen.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

How to use Screen Mirroring on iPhone

Aside from using AirPlay, the other option to stream media from your iPhone to your TV is by using screen mirroring. The biggest difference between the two is that screen mirroring will display your iPhone’s screen on the television, so you can view more than just a video or photo, for example. So you could read a website or a message on the TV.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

If you play your videos, you’ll notice the video and audio will play on the TV only, allowing you to use your phone as a remote to control what you’re watching.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

That’s how you AirPlay to a TV from your iPhone. Screen mirroring lets you take advantage of projecting whatever is on your iPhone potentially to a bigger screen to share with others in the room, all enabled from the Control Center, where you can pause, play, rewind or fast forward.


What’s the difference between AirPlay and screen mirroring?

Screen mirroring will display everything on your iPhone’s screen on the TV, so everything you do on your phone will be visible on the big screen. When you use AirPlay, you’re playing media from your phone to your television without sharing your screen on the TV. Just as we listen to music on our phones through a Bluetooth speaker, AirPlay simply connects to your smart TV to display the media you want to show.

How do I stop mirroring my screen?

If you’re done mirroring your screen and want to stop, just go to your Control Center again by swiping down on the top right corner, then select Screen Mirroring again. On the next screen, tap on Stop Mirroring.

Why can’t I AirPlay to my Roku TV or stick?

Now, if you have a Roku and can’t find it on your list of available devices to AirPlay, you can go to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit and ensure AirPlay is on the ON option. You can also select your preference for AirPlay access on this page.

Can I use AirPlay with a Fire TV stick?

A Fire TV Stick is not compatible and will require a third party app, like AirScreen or Apowermirror.

Not all televisions are compatible with AirPlay 2, so if you’re in the market for a TV and screen mirroring your iPhone is important to you, you might want to check the specifications when choosing a television to ensure it says Works with Apple AirPlay. If your TV is not compatible but you have a Roku or Apple TV 4K, you can still use AirPlay to mirror your iPhone screen.

Why won’t my iPhone connect to the TV?

If you’re getting a message saying “Unable to connect to ‘x device'”, chances are your phone isn’t connected to the same network as the device you want to AirPlay to. Check that your iPhone’s Wi-Fi is turned on and connected to the same network that your device is on.

Also: How to screen mirror an iPhone to a Samsung TV

If the problem persists, restart your phone and television and try again. Rebooting your router may also help with this problem.

Can I use AirPlay without an Apple TV device or Apple TV+ subscription?

You don’t need an Apple TV device or subscription to use AirPlay. All you need is to have your iPhone and television connected to the same network, then follow the prompts above. AirPlay is simply a feature of Apple devices.