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How to stream video and photos from an iPhone to your TV with Apple AirPlay

AirPlay 2 lets iOS and Mac users send video, photos, or their entire screen, to a television.

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Apple's AirPlay system lets iPhone, iPad and Mac users stream video and photos – or even share their entire screen – from their device to an Apple TV and compatible smart televisions.

Using Wi-Fi, AirPlay (which was upgraded to AirPlay 2 in 2018), works in a similar way to other streaming tools, like Google's Cast function and Spotify Connect.

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All that you need to do is make sure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. Then you can stream content from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, to an Apple TV or AirPlay-compatible television.

AirPlay also lets you stream video from a Windows PC to a compatible device (like the Apple TV or an AirPlay2-ready television), but only if that video is from iTunes for Windows.

How to use Apple AirPlay on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

AirPlay controls for YouTube on an iPhoneAirPlay controls for YouTube on an iPhoneGearBrain

Just like with Google Cast, the key is to look out for the Apple AirPlay icon when you are playing video on your iPhone or iPad. This icon looks like a TV with an arrow pointing up at it.

If watching a YouTube video on your iPhone, tap on the screen, then tap on the Cast icon, which looks like a TV screen with a Wi-Fi signal icon next to it.

This will open a list of devices on your Wi-Fi network that the content can be streamed to, including Cast-friendly devices like Google and Nest smart displays and a Chromecast, and also the option for 'AirPlay & Bluetooth devices'.

Tap on that, and a pop-up box will appear listing all nearby AirPlay and Bluetooth devices. If you have an Apple TV or compatible AirPlay 2 television, it will appear on this list. Tap it, and the content will start playing on the TV instead of your phone. You may be prompted to enter a code on your iPhone or iPad first, which will be displayed on your television.

To stop using AirPlay, follow the steps above until you get to the list of compatible AirPlay devices, then tap 'iPhone'.

Accessing the AirPlay menu isn't the same in every app. For example, if you want to view content from your iPhone's Photos app on the big screen, you need to select the photo or video, then tap the share button, scroll down, and tap on AirPlay.

How to use Apple AirPlay on a Mac

Just as before, your Mac needs to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the Apple TV or compatible television you want to stream content to. Next, open the app or website you want to stream from on your Mac, then in the video playback controls (where you find the play/pause buttons) click on the AirPlay icon, which is the arrow pointing upwards at a TV we mentioned earlier.

Then select your Apple TV or compatible television from the list, and the content will play there instead of on your Mac. To stop streaming, click on the AirPlay icon again and click 'Turn Off AirPlay'.

How to mirror your iOS device on the television using AirPlay

Mirroring is when the content of one device (in this case an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch) is replicated on another, like a television.

Again, make sure your iOS device and Apple TV or television are connected to the same Wi0Fi network. Now open Control Center on your iOS device.

On iPhones without a Home button, swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen to open Control Center. On an iPhone with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.

Now tap the Screen Mirroring icon, which looks like two rectangular displays, one in front of the other. This opens a list of compatible devices on your Wi-Fi network. Pick the one you want to mirror to, enter the passcode if one appears on your television, then your iPhone's screen will appear on the TV.

To stop mirroring, open Control Center again, tap the Screen Mirroring icon, then tap Stop Mirroring. Or, if you are mirroring to an Apple TV, just press the Menu button on the remote.

How to mirror your Mac display with AirPlay

Using AirPlay to mirror a MacUsing AirPlay to mirror a MacGearBrain

Mirroring also works with your Mac, so you can show its display on an Apple TV or compatible television on the same Wi-Fi network.

To do this, click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar at the top of your Mac's display (next to the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi symbols). If the icon isn't there, click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner, then System Preferences -> Displays -> Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available.

Then just click on the screen you want to mirror your Mac to, and enter the passcode if one is shown on your television.

To stop mirroring from your Mac, click on the AirPlay icon again, then click 'Turn Off AirPlay'.

Which televisions are compatible with AirPlay?

Televisions with AirPlay 2 compatibility can be used in the ways we have described above. These TVs include many from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio. A full list of AirPlay 2 compatible televisions can be found on the Apple website here.

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