How to Use AirPlay Mirroring

Wirelessly cast your iOS device screen to an Apple TV

Example of AirPlay screencasting

Apple, inc. 

Even with the iPhone and iPad offering bigger screens—the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, for example—sometimes you want a massive screen. Whether it's a great game, movies, TV shows bought from the iTunes Store, or photos you want to share with a group of people, sometimes even 12.9 inches isn't enough​. In that case, if you meet the requirements, AirPlay Mirroring comes to the rescue.

Information in this article applies to iOS devices running iOS 5 or later and Apple TVs, 2nd generation or later, except as noted.

AirPlay and Mirroring

Apple's AirPlay technology has been a cool and useful component of the iOS and iTunes ecosystem for years. With it, you can stream music from your iOS device over Wi-Fi to any compatible device or speaker. Not only does this allow you to ​create your own wireless home audio system, but it also means that your music isn't confined to your iPhone or iPad. You can go to a friend's house and play your music over their speakers, assuming the speakers are connected to Wi-Fi.

At first, AirPlay only supported audio streaming. Because of that, the feature used to be called AirTunes. If you had a video you wanted to share, you were out of luck—until AirPlay Mirroring came along.

AirPlay Mirroring, which Apple introduced with iOS 5, expands AirPlay so you can display everything that's happening on your iPhone or iPad's screen on an HDTV. More is involved than streaming content. With AirPlay Mirroring, you project your screen, so you can open web browsers, photos, tutorials, or games on your device and have them show up on a huge HDTV screen.

AirPlay Mirroring Requirements

To use AirPlay Mirroring, you need:

Using AirPlay Mirroring with Wi-Fi-connected speakers follows the same process as mirroring to an Apple TV.

Using AirPlay Mirroring With Apple TV

If you have ​the right hardware, follow these steps to mirror your device's screen to the Apple TV:

  1. Begin by connecting your compatible devices to the same Wi-Fi network.

  2. On the iPhone X and later, swipe down from the top right corner to open Control Center. On earlier versions of the iOS device, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal Control Center.

  3. On iOS 11 and iOS 12, look for Screen Mirroring on the left of Control Center. On iOS 10 and earlier, look for AirPlay on the right side of Control Center.

  4. Tap the Screen Mirroring button (or the AirPlay button on iOS 10 and earlier).

    Control Center and open screen mirroring display
  5. In the list of devices that appears, tap Apple TV or another available device. On iOS 10 and up, you're finished. Tap the screen to close Control Center and pull up the content you want to see on the TV.

  6. In iOS 7 through iOS 9, move the ​Mirroring slider to green and tap Done.

Your device is now connected to the Apple TV and mirroring begins. Sometimes, there's a brief delay before mirroring starts up.

Turning Off AirPlay

When you're finished watching the movie, playing your game, or streaming audio to your speakers, it's time to turn off AirPlay.

  1. Return to the Control Center.

  2. Tap the button that has the name of the connected device on it. It says Apple TV if that is what you are projecting to. It is in the same position as AirPlay was previously, but now it has a white background.

  3. Select Stop Mirroring at the bottom of the screen that opens.

    Screens showing how to turn off AirPlay on an iPhone

If you are running AirPlay on your Mac computer, turn the feature on and off using the AirPlay icon on the right side of the Mac menu bar. It resembles a TV with an arrow going into it.

Notes About AirPlay Mirroring

If there are significant delays between what's happening on your device's screen and when it appears on the HDTV, there may be interference with the Wi-Fi signal, or your Wi-Fi network may not be fast enough. Make sure no other devices are trying to connect to the Apple TV, end ​other devices' use of the Wi-Fi network, and turn off Bluetooth on the device you're mirroring.

Depending on your TV and the content you're mirroring, the image you mirror may not fill the entire screen and instead shows a square image with black bars on either side. This is due to a difference between the iPhone and iPad screen resolutions and the resolution of the content they show on the TV.

To use AirPlay Mirroring on Windows, you'll need some extra software. Find out more in Where to Get AirPlay for Windows.