How to AirPlay From a MacBook to a TV

You'll need an Apple TV device, too

What to Know

  • Enable AirPlay: Go to System Preferences > Displays and make sure Show Mirroring options in the menu bar when available is selected.
  • To use AirPlay on your MacBook or MacBook Pro, you must also have an Apple TV device; you can still screen mirror without Apple TV.
  • AirPlay streams individual apps from your MacBook or MacBook Pro to your smart TV; mirroring is used to display your entire desktop.

The article provides instructions for how to AirPlay from your MacBook or MacBook Pro to your TV, including information about issues that might prevent you from using AirPlay.

Can I AirPlay From a MacBook Pro?

Yes, you can AirPlay from MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro models released in 2011 and later running macOS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or later. Still, you also need to have an Apple TV device that is a second-generation model or newer.

How Do I Turn on AirPlay on My MacBook?

If you're ready to use AirPlay with a compatible MacBook model and Apple TV model, you'll first need to enable your Mac to do that.

  1. Click the Apple menu on your MacBook.

    The Apple menu on a MacBook.
  2. Select System Preferences.

    System Preferences on a MacBook.
  3. Select Displays.

    The Displays option on a MacBook.
  4. In the display preferences dialog box, make sure Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available is checked. Then you can close out the display preferences.

    The option to show screen mirroring options on the MacBook computer.

Once enabled, you'll need to ensure your Apple TV and your MacBook are connected to the same network. Once they are, you should see the AirPlay icon (it's a rectangle with a triangle at the base of it, kind of like a computer monitor). Tap the AirPlay icon in the menu bar and select the device you want to cast to. You may be prompted to enter a security code from the TV to complete the connection.

How Can I Mirror My MacBook to My TV Without an Apple TV Device?

If you don't have an Apple TV device, you can still mirror your screen to a compatible smart TV. If you're not sure if your TV will work, Apple has a list of compatible devices on its website. Once you're sure your smart TV is compatible, these steps will help you mirror your screen in no time.

  1. In the Menu Bar, click the Control Center icon.

    The Control Center icon on a MacBook.
  2. When the Control Center opens, click Screen Mirroring.

    The Screen Mirroring option in the Control Center on a MacBook.
  3. Select the smart TV you want to mirror your screen to from the list of available devices that appear.

    The available devices for screen mirroring on a MacBook.
  4. You may be prompted to enter a confirmation code on your Macbook to complete the connection. After you enter it, your screen will automatically begin displaying your MacBook screen. You can use the Display Preferences option to adjust how the display on your TV looks and behaves.

When you've finished mirroring your screen, you can follow the same instructions above to deselect the TV you're mirroring to and break the connection.

Why Can't I Turn on AirPlay on My MacBook?

If you can't turn on AirPlay on your MacBook, the chances are that there's a simple problem that would be easy to solve. Most likely, the issue is:

  • Your MacBook and Apple TV aren't connected to the same network. Your laptop and your Apple TV have to be connected to the same home network to connect the two devices.
  • Your Macbook or Apple TV is not new enough. You must have a Macbook computer released in 2011 or later, and you must have a second-generation or later Apple TV to use AirPlay.
  • Your computer or Apple TV needs to be updated. If the software, firmware, or operating system on your MacBook or your Apple TV needs to be updated, sometimes the computer can't connect to the Apple TV. Make sure both devices are up to date before trying to make the connection.
  • How do I AirPlay from an iPhone to a MacBook?

    There's no built-in way to AirPlay from an iPhone to a MacBook, but you can use a third-party application as a workaround. For example, download the Reflector app on your MacBook, then open an AirPlay-compatible app and tap the AirPlay button. Or, to AirPlay your iPhone screen, tap Screen Mirroring in the Control Center. In the pop-up window, enter your Mac's name, then enter the code displayed on your Mac's screen. Your iPhone content will play on your MacBook via Reflector.

  • How do I turn off AirPlay on a Mac?

    To turn off AirPlay on your Mac, go to the Apple menu > System Preferences and select Displays. Next to AirPlay Display, click the drop-down arrow and select Off.

  • How do I AirPlay from a MacBook to a Roku?

    To AirPlay from a MacBook to Roku, make sure AirPlay is enabled on your Roku device: From your Roku Home page, go to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit and enable AirPlay. Make sure AirPlay is enabled on your Mac: Go to System Preferences > Displays and check Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available. Select the AirPlay button from the top of the MacBook's, screen, then click your Roku device.

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