How to stream from your iPhone to your TV with AirPlay

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Nowadays, when almost everyone owns a smartphone, people are constantly creating and sharing media of different types, from a work presentation, to dance videos to share with friends, to children’s videos to share with grandparents. Connecting your devices at home and streaming videos or viewing your pictures on your TV is just another part of it.

Apple’s AirPlay allows iPhone users to mirror their screen on the TV so they can play their videos and music or view pictures. We’re going to focus specifically on how AirPlay works on a TV and the different ways to do it.

If you want to AirPlay to your TV, make sure your iPhone and either your TV, Roku, or Apple TV 4K are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If you have a Roku that you use to connect, make sure it has the latest updates by going to Settings > System > System update > Check now.

How to stream from your iPhone to your TV

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

I’m selecting a video to AirPlay on my TV. So I just went to my photos and tapped on a video to play it for this example.

Once you’ve selected a video or photo, press the “Share” button at the bottom left of your screen.

Share button

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Scroll down past your sharing options until you find AirPlay and tap on it.

Choose AirPlay

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The available devices on your network will be displayed, giving you the option to choose a TV or streaming device to play your chosen media.

Choose a TV

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

The selected media will be played on the TV you selected. You can skip forward, zoom in or out, play Live Photos, all from your iPhone.

Media will only play on the TV

Only the media will be played on the TV, your iPhone screen will not be mirrored.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

How to Use Screen Mirroring on iPhone

Besides using AirPlay, the other way to stream media from your iPhone to your TV is by using screen mirroring. The biggest difference between the two is that screen mirroring displays your iPhone’s screen on the TV, allowing you to view more than just a video or photo, for example. So you could read a website or a message on the TV.

Swipe down on your iPhone screen to access Control Center and tap Screen Mirroring, which is the button with two overlapping screens.

This will show the available devices nearby or on your network that you can share your screen with.

Go to Screen Mirroring

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Tap on the TV you want to mirror your iPhone screen to. In this case, I chose my LG TV. Your phone screen should now be visible on your TV, and you can use your phone to find the media you want to view.

Choose TV

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

As you play your videos, you’ll find that the video and audio only play on the TV, so you can use your phone as a remote control to control what you’re watching.

Screen mirroring from iPhone to TV

With screen mirroring, you can share everything on your iPhone’s screen on your TV.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Here’s how you can AirPlay from your iPhone to a TV. Screen mirroring lets you potentially project whatever’s on your iPhone onto a larger screen to share with others in the room, all enabled from Control Center where you can pause, play, rewind, or fast forward.


What is the difference between AirPlay and screen mirroring?

Screen mirroring shows everything on your iPhone’s screen on the TV, so everything you do on your phone is visible on the big screen. When you use AirPlay, play media from your phone on your TV without sharing your screen on the TV. Just like 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 off.

How do I stop mirroring my screen?

When you’re done mirroring your screen and want to stop, just go to yours control center again by swiping down in the top-right corner, then select screen mirroring again. On the next screen, tap Stop mirroring.

Why can’t I AirPlay on my Roku TV or Stick?

Now if you have a Roku and can’t find it in your list of available devices for AirPlay, you can go to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit and make sure AirPlay is enabled. You can also choose your preference for AirPlay access on this page.

Can I use AirPlay with a Fire TV Stick?

A FireTV stick is not compatible and requires a third-party app such as AirScreen or Apowermirror.

Not all TVs 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 should check the specs when choosing a TV to make sure it says it will work with Apple AirPlay. If your TV is not compatible but you have one roku or Apple TV 4Kyou can still use AirPlay to mirror your iPhone screen.

Why won’t my iPhone connect to the TV?

If you get a message stating that “x device” can’t be connected, your phone might not be connected to the same network as the device you’re trying to AirPlay with. Check that your iPhone’s WiFi is on and connected to the same network that your device is on.

If the problem persists, restart your phone and TV and try again. Restarting the router can also help with this problem.

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

The truth is, you don’t need an Apple TV device or subscription to use AirPlay. All you have to do is connect your iPhone and TV to the same network and then follow the instructions above. AirPlay is simply a feature of Apple devices.

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