How to connect an iPhone or iPad to a TV or a computer monitor
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Sometimes the display of your iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini in particular just isn't big enough. For example – when you want to show off your photos to your friends and family, enjoy a movie without squinting, or when you need to do a presentation for your team.
But we do often find ourselves near large screens – maybe there's a TV nearby or a computer monitor. Simply hook up your iPhone or iPad to the larger display and enjoy your content on the big screen, right? Yep, you can do that! And there are several ways to do it too, depending on what you have lying around. Find the best method to connect your iPhone to a TV or computer screen below.
Jump to a preferred method:
Method 1: Using AirPlay with an AirPlay-compatible smart TV
Simply swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone's screen, then tap on Screen Mirroring to find nearby devices that support AirPlay
You will need:
- A smart TV that has AirPlay support
The most convenient and wire-free way to mirror your iPhone or iPad screen to a TV would be to use AirPlay, which is Apple's own wireless sharing solution. A variety of modern TVs manufactured by LG, Samsung and other big brands come with AirPlay support, so if you do own a TV with it, look no further than this simple method.
First, make sure that your iPhone or iPad is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the smart TV. Then on your iPhone or iPad open the Control Center by swiping down from the upper-right corner of the screen. Lastly, tap "Screen Mirroring" and choose the smart TV you wish to mirror to. Your Apple device and the TV may ask you to confirm this connection by inputting a code, and if so, just follow the on-screen instructions. This is only done once, for security reasons.
If your TV didn't show up after you tapped on "Screen Mirroring", make sure that the TV is AirPlay-compatible, and is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone or iPad.
Method 2: Using Apple's official Lightning to HDMI adapter
Apple's Lightning to HDMI adapter
You will need:
- A Lightning to HDMI adapter
- An HDMI cable
Note: If you're using a newer iPad Pro or the 2020 iPad Air, you will actually only need a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter, since those two tablets don't use the proprietary Lightning port that the iPhones and the budget 2020 iPad still use. But if you're using an iPhone or iPad that has a Lightning port, read on...
First, the good news: iPhones and iPads have video output capabilities and mirroring support baked right into them. As for the bad news, taking advantage of these capabilities requires purchasing the pictured-above Lightning to HDMI adapter by Apple.
It costs $49, which is quite a lot, especially when you take into account that an HDMI cable is not included, but also required. You have to either buy an HDMI cable separately or borrow the cable used with your receiver, set-top box, or video game console. Some TVs may also come with an HDMI cable.
Using a Lightning to HDMI adapter to bring your media to the big screen has a number of downsides. First and foremost, the connection is wired instead of wireless. Sure, you're not consuming any of your Wi-Fi's bandwidth, but you'll likely miss the convenience of flipping through movies from the comfort of your couch. Furthermore, there are some complaints about resolution inconsistencies and softer images when using a cable to connect your iDevice to a bigger screen.
But if you choose to go with this method anyway, simply hook up the Lightning to HDMI adapter to your Apple device. Then use an HDMI cable to connect the iPhone or iPad to your TV via the adapter. Make sure you've switched your TV to display HDMI input, as opposed to antenna, cable or AV input. TVs normally have a menu where you can select HDMI. Within seconds, your device will automatically start sending video and audio data to your TV. Note that the image projected on your TV's screen will be slightly delayed. This lag is caused by the adapter converting the signal and is not a malfunction.
Apple's adapter also lets you connect your iPhone or iPad to a computer monitor with HDMI input. And if using HDMI is not possible for whatever reason, Apple is offering a Lightning to VGA adapter ($49) as well. It is compatible with the great majority of older TVs and computer monitors, but it can't transmit any audio.
Method 3: Using Apple TV and AirPlay
You will need:
- An Apple TV
You've heard of the Apple TV, haven't you? It is Apple's set-top box that lets you enjoy movies and music on your TV's big screen. Also, it comes with AirPlay support, allowing for mirroring the screen of your iPhone or iPad right onto your TV's display – wirelessly, over your home's Wi-Fi network.
Enabling AirPlay mirroring over Apple TV is a pretty straightforward process. You just have to make sure that both your iDevice and your Apple TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Once that's taken care of, an AirPlay icon will show up in your Control Center. Tap it, select the Apple TV and enable mirroring. Voilà! Your device's screen will now show up on your TV.
Method 4: Using Reflector or other screen mirroring software
You will need:
- Reflector (trial or paid version) installed on your PC
So, let's say that you want to enjoy using your iPhone or iPad onto a larger screen, such as the one on your computer, and the aforementioned methods aren't an option. Well, there's a still a way – download a third party app that specializes in mirroring your iPhone's screen to your PC's screen.
We found Reflector 3 to be great for our needs. In a nutshell, it turns a computer, be it a Mac or a PC, into an AirPlay receiver. The software works wirelessly, over Wi-Fi, or via USB, in case your computer does not have a Wi-Fi adapter. Overall, it is a pretty cool and inexpensive solution, and does have a free trial version for up to 7 days, if you wish to try it first.
Using it to play large video files over Wi-Fi is not ideal, due to some lag and frame skips, but it's a great way to share pictures from your latest trip on the big screen.
To use Reflector wirelessly, just get the app from its website and launch it on your computer. Note that a window may not pop up at all, but an icon in your app tray should definitely be present, indicating that Reflector is up and running. This is your cue to reach for your iPhone or iPad and enable AirPlay from Control Center. If the AirPlay button is not present, make sure that your computer and phone or tablet are onto the same wireless network. Using Reflector over USB is just as easy – just wire up your device to your computer and launch the app. Then you'll find the AirPlay button in your Control Center.
- To get Reflector for PC or Mac, click here.