AirPlay Mirroring FAQ: Content Straight to Your TV


If you’re an Apple fan and want your devices to communicate and share content effortless, you have to try out AirPlay mirroring. This feature is perfect for sharing video and other content with your family and friends, but many do not even realize it’s an option. This FAQ can help you get started.

What is AirPlay Mirroring?

AirPlay Mirroring is an Apple device ability that allows you to “mirror” or display content from one device onto another device – specifically, onto your TV. Several applications for this swift mirroring option exist. First and most popular, you can use the feature to move a video from a mobile device to a TV for a better, more group-friendly viewing option. It can also work for slideshows, photo collections, and other types of visual content you feel like displaying.

Unfortunately, this particular mirroring ability is designed only between Apple products, so you need the right setup and at least a couple Apple devices to use it.

What Do I Need for Mirroring to Work?

AirPlay mirroring works between an Apple mobile device and the Apple TV. The Apple TV, either second or third generation, is the most important necessity. Apple provides a list of mobile devices that allow you to mirror, but any recent Apple device will probably do the trick. This includes the iPhone 4s or later, the iPad 2 or later, any of the iPad mini models, and the iPod Touch 5th generation. It can also work directly from a Mac computer.

What these devices all have in common is iOS7 compatibility. You will need iOS 7 or later to use AirPlay mirroring, the feature will not work on any of the previous operating systems. If you are not sure if you have iOS 7 or not, a quick check in your Settings can give you all the necessary info and allow you to update your OS if necessary.

How Do I Start AirPlay Mirroring?

First, your Apple TV needs to be set up and connected to your wireless Internet network, ready to go. The Apple TV set-top box offers a number of streaming features and compatibility options, but one of the things it does is wait constantly for any AirPlay signal.

Connect your mobile device to the same wireless network, and you are almost done. From iOS 7 onward, Apple has developed a shortcut menu that you can get to by swiping up from the bottom of your touchscreen (even when your phone is locked down). Swipe up and you will see options for AirDrop and, if your device and Apple TV are properly connected, AirPlay. Touch the AirPlay button, choose your Apple TV out of the list of streaming options, and you’re done. Your Apple TV will now mirror your mobile device.

Why is Mirroring an Advantage When it Comes to Streaming?

This is a good question, because the Apple TV offers a lot of streaming features directly from its own interface – why stream using mirroring when you can just pick your shows, movies, videos, music and other content right from your Apple TV?

There are several reasons. First, if you already have your device out, mirroring may simple be easier. Swipe up, and a couple seconds later you are mirroring. This may be hunting down the right app in the Apple TV. Also, keep in mind that mirroring works for a variety of applications. It will mirror everything it can, not just specific streaming content. You may want to show off an app or a feature that your mobile device has which Apple TV does not offer.

This also means that there may be content you can stream on your big screen that Apple TV can’t really access on its own. One great example is a slideshow of pictures you have taken with your phone, but aren’t uploaded into your iCloud and cannot be seen on your TV without mirroring the screen. Another example is the family of network apps (NBC, ABC, Fox, CW and many others offer network apps filled with their shows), which are not necessarily supported by Apple TV but can be viewed on your screen through mirroring.

Photo Credit: Simon Yeo