How to Use AirPlay to Stream Videos to a TV

Use a hub like the Apple TV, or get a TV with AirPlay

What to Know

  • Select the AirPlay icon in a compatible app on an iPhone, and then tap the name of your TV or another device.
  • On a Mac, click the Screen Mirroring icon in the toolbar.
  • Many modern HDTVs have AirPlay built in; alternatively, you can use an Apple TV or another compatible device.

This article explains how to use AirPlay with a TV. You can use a TV with the feature built in, or you can use an Apple TV or other connected hardware as a hub.

How to Stream Videos from an iPhone or iPad With AirPlay

On an iPhone or iPad, you can AirPlay a video from a compatible app using the AirPlay icon. Depending on which app you're using, this icon may be plainly visible, or you'll need to go into another menu.

For example, in YouTube, you'll select the Stream icon (a rectangle with three concentric arcs coming out of it, and then go to AirPlay & Bluetooth devices and select your TV or streaming box.

Casting from YouTube on an iPhone to a TV

You can also AirPlay a video from the Photos app by tapping the share icon, selecting AirPlay, and then selecting your device.

AirPlaying a video from the iOS Photos app to a TV

Alternatively, you can use another aspect of AirPlay: screen mirroring from your iPhone or iPad. You can use this option to stream a video if an app doesn't already have AirPlay options built in.

Some apps, like Netflix, may block mirroring for copyright reasons. If you only see a black screen when you try to mirror an app, that's why.

To turn on mirroring in iOS 11 or later, open the Control Center, and then select the Mirroring icon (two rectangles). Select your device, and your iPhone or iPad's screen will appear on your TV. From there, select a video on your phone or tablet and play it.

Screen Mirroring from an iPhone

How to Stream Videos from a Mac to a TV Using AirPlay

The instructions for a Mac are the same as an iPhone or iPad: Look for the AirPlay icon in an app (or in the Share menu), and then select your TV or streaming box/dongle.

The AirPlay icon and menu in YouTube on a Mac

Alternatively, mirror your Mac's screen to the TV by selecting it or the connected hardware from the Mirroring menu in the toolbar. From there, select your TV or streaming device to mirror your screen.

You can also find screen mirroring options in the macOS Control Center.

Screen mirroring in macOS

How to Connect AirPlay to Your TV

Whether your TV has AirPlay built in or you're using a device like an Apple TV streaming box, the process for streaming videos is the same. The first time you AirPlay something to your TV using the instructions above, a code will appear for you to enter on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. You may have to do this for each device to flag your TV or the connected device, but you'll only have to do it once.

Your TV or the AirPlay-capable device you're using should also have an internet connection. Everything should be the same network, either wired or Wi-Fi.

Which Devices Work with AirPlay?

If you don't have the right hardware, you won't be able to use AirPlay. Here are some manufacturers of compatible TVs; to make sure the one you're looking at will work, look for the AirPlay logo on the box or a mention on the product details.

  • AOC
  • Element
  • Hisense
  • Hitachi
  • InFocus
  • JVC
  • LG
  • Magnavox
  • Onn
  • Philco
  • Philips
  • RCA
  • Samsung
  • Sanyo
  • Sharp
  • Sony
  • TCL
  • Westinghouse

If your smart TV isn't compatible, you can use a separate device. Here are some that will work:

  • Apple TV 2 and up, running tvOS 9 and later
  • Roku (3 and newer)
  • Roku Express/Express+
  • Roku Premiere/Premier+
  • Roku Streambar/Streambar Pro
  • Roku Streaming Stick/Streaming Stick+/Headphone Edition
  • Roku Ultra/Ultra LT
  • Why doesn't my TV appear in AirPlay?

    If AirPlay can't see your TV, it might not be a compatible device. If it is compatible, make sure both devices are close to each other, are turned on, and are on the same Wi-Fi network. Verify whether or not your devices have been updated to their latest versions. If all else fails, restart your devices.

  • How do I find my AirPlay code on a Samsung TV?

    Choose a piece of media to share to your Samsung TV (a photo or video), then select the Share icon and select Airplay. Choose the TV you want to share the media to, at which point you should see a share code appear on the TV's screen. Enter the code on your device to complete the sharing process.

  • Why Isn't AirPlay working on my Roku TV?

    The most likely cause is an internet problem, in which case the first thing to try is restarting your router or modem. If the problem persists, there are a few other fixes you can try.

  • How do I watch TikTok on my TV through AirPlay?

    TikTok can't be shared to a TV with AirPlay, but you can watch it by either installing TikTok on the TV directly or by mirroring your iPhone screen to the TV.

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