Apple iPads and iPhones make it easy to flick through video streaming apps, but it can be more enjoyable to watch your programs and films on your TV screen. We explain how to mirror your iPad or iPhone display and sound to your TV.
By connecting your Apple device to your TV, you can play video or music streaming apps (with the sound coming through your TV speakers), flick through photos on your Apple device, or even play gaming apps.
There are, however, some exceptions. Sky and BT Sport won’t allow you to play their iPad apps on a TV screen using either HDMI or an Apple TV. Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Video will all work, however, and NowTV has an app built into Apple TV.
Connect an iPad to a TV with an HDMI adaptor
The most rudimentary method involves purchasing an HDMI adaptor, which plugs into the iPad or iPhone’s Lightning socket (or Dock connector, if it's an older model). Then, it’s simply a matter a using a standard HDMI cable to connect your tablet to your TV.
As with most of its own-brand peripherals, Apple’s cables are expensive (around £40). The good news is there are some cheaper third-party alternatives. The downside, however is that unless your own a particularly long HDMI cable, you’ll likely have to get up in order to pause what your watching.
Connect wirelessly with an Apple TV
To play what’s on your iPad or iPhone wirelessly on your TV, you’ll need to buy an Apple TV box. These start from £59 – the newest model costs £139. With Apple TV, you can mirror your iPad or iPhone display on your TV, with the sound playing through your TV's speakers. It works with Mac computers, too.
It also has its own apps, including Netflix and Now TV, so you don’t have to mirror these from your iPad. You need to buy an HDMI cable separately.
How to use Apple TV to connect an iPad or iPhone to your TV:
Step 1 - On your TV
Connect the Apple TV to your TV via an HDMI cable. Use your TV remote to switch the input to match this HDMI point – use the AV or Input button.
Step 2 - On your Apple TV
Connect the Apple TV to your mains power and press the Menu button on the Apple TV remote. You should see some setup instructions on the TV screen. Follow the steps, using the remote, to connect to your wi-fi network and enter your Apple ID.
Step 3 - On your iPad or iPhone
To connect to the Apple TV, swipe upwards from the bottom of your iPad’s screen. If the music controls are showing, swipe right for the main control panel.
Now, tap AirPlay Mirroring and select Apple TV from the pop-up menu – your iPad’s screen should now be mirrored on your TV. From here, you can open almost any app, file or game, and both picture and sound will come through your TV.
Because iPad screens are a different shape to TVs, you’ll see black bars either side of the image, but this is normal. When you play a programme or movie using BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video or Netflix, it should automatically expand to fill the TV screen.