It’s ironic how the biggest display in our homes nowadays is the one that most often goes without use, isn’t it? With all the technology we have getting smaller and smaller, you’d think by now we would have also figured out a way to truly take advantage of all the screen space a television has to offer.
Nothing’s quite revolutionized the TV yet, but small steps are helping to breathe new life into that giant black square in your living room. One of which is to broadcast content on your iPhone directly onto your television, whether it’s to watch shows and movies you’re streaming or even play games and make presentations with other apps. There are a number of ways to easily accomplish this.
Stream Using AirPlay and Apple TV
The first solution for streaming your display or media from an iPhone is to just use Apple’s AirPlay, built right in iOS. This includes devices like the iPad and iPod Touch as well, as long as they’re up to date and support AirPlay. The feature can beam media content you’re watching instantly to your television to watch there, while your iPhone acts as a remote.
To use AirPlay, you need an Apple TV hooked up to your current television. It’s a small set-top box Apple sells for $69 that has some content of its own from iTunes, iCloud, and third-party media apps as well. For this situation though, we want it for the AirPlay receiver.
When your Apple TV is plugged in and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone, slide up from below the iPhone’s display to bring up the Control Center. Here, tap AirPlay. Select your Apple TV from the list of available devices (other devices might include speakers and headphones for audio playback or perhaps even your own PC) and let the magic happen. If you’re listening to music or watching a video, within seconds it should appear on your television display.
Cool Tip: Notice that when you select Apple TV in AirPlay, a new option for Mirroring appears. If you enable this, your iPhone’s entire screen is sent over to the television, rather than just the media. Going home displays your home screen and entering other apps shows those as well. Everything that appears on your iPhone will do the same on the television, which comes in handy for games and presentations.
Stream to Other Devices Using Chromecast
To wirelessly get media content to your television without an Apple TV, try using Chromecast streaming. Chromecast is Google’s open streaming format that’s supported on a number of devices like Google’s own Chromecast stick and Amazon Fire TV. Popular apps like YouTube and Netflix support Chromecast streaming.
The perk is that many of the devices you need for your television with Chromecast streaming are far cheaper than the Apple TV: Chromecast is just $35 and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is $39. The downside is that these do not support device mirroring, so you can’t broadcast your iPhone home screen or apps outside of music and video content.
Again, whichever Chromecast device you use must connect to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone. Then, simply look for the wireless broadcast icon in your preferred app. Tap it, and choose the device you want to stream to.
Wired Mirroring Using HDMI
If you’re trying to kick it old school, you can ditch wireless streaming altogether and just use HDMI to mirror your iPhone display to your television.
There’s an important catch though: the iPhone doesn’t support HDMI out of the box. To use an HDMI cable with an iPhone (or any iOS device) you need the Lightning Digital AV adapter Apple sells for a whopping $50. This supports all iOS devices with a Lightning connector, usually 2012 or later.
From there, just plug the adapter in to your Lightning port, then your HDMI cable into the adapter. Insert the other side into the HDMI port on your television. Unless you have a particularly long cable, using HDMI for mirroring generally requires your device to be close to the TV. It’s definitely a more clunky method for mirroring, but effective for presentations and the like. Plus, HDMI doesn’t require an Internet connection.