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Sick of Small Screens? Here’s How to Screen Mirror Your Smartphone to your TV (Cheap And Free Options Included)

If you’re sick of sitting in video conferences where your phone screen is the only tiny display at your disposal, or simply want to be able to showcase family photos of your last vacation, it sounds like screen mirroring could come in handy. 

Over the last several years, screen mirroring has been called many names by many different consumer electronics companies, but regardless of the moniker, the overall feature has pretty much remained the same. In a nutshell: screen mirroring allows you to quite literally mirror the screen of your smartphone or tablet onto your TV. 

While some older hardware may present a few roadblocks for the wireless connection between your phone and your TV, screen mirroring has become easier than ever, thanks to features like Apple AirPlay and Android/Google Chromecast. And whether you’re an iPhone or Galaxy fan, we’ve put together this guide to teach you a few different ways you’ll be able to share your phone screen with your fancy OLED TV in just a few seconds.

The Benefits Of Screen Mirroring

  • Use a TV as a second monitor for your phone
  • Ability to watch local content on your mobile device on a larger screen
  • Conduct presentations more easily
  • Some phones can actually turn your TV into a working desktop PC with screen mirroring
  • Video chat on a much larger screen

How To Screen Mirror With Apple AirPlay

John Velasco | SPY

If you’re an iPhone devotee, one of the easiest ways to mirror your phone screen to your TV is through a feature called Apple AirPlay. These days, TV brands like Samsung, LG, and TCL (models that use the Roku TV OS) are compatible with AirPlay right out of the box, but if you’re using older hardware that can’t be updated to support AirPlay casting, you can always purchase an Apple TV 4K or Roku streaming device to access AirPlay.

Also, some O.G. Apple products and TVs may still be using the original version of this casting function, but the current version is billed as Apple AirPlay 2 (and we’ll be referring to the feature as simply AirPlay going forward).

In order for AirPlay to work properly, both your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and the TV or streaming device you’ll be streaming to need to be connected to the same exact Wi-Fi network. That’s down to the exact network band (2.4GHz or 5GHz) used, too. 

Once you’ve confirmed that both devices are on the same Wi-Fi, grab your iPhone and open Control Center. If you’re using an iPhone X or later, this menu is accessed by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen. Next, tap the Screen Mirroring button (two intersected rectangles), then choose what AirPlay-ready TV or Apple TV device you’d like to mirror your screen to. In some cases, your TV will display a passcode that you’ll have to enter on your iPhone in order to initiate the screen mirror. 

When you’re finished screen mirroring, all you have to do is tap the Screen Mirroring button again, or if you’re using an Apple TV 4K, simply press the Menu button on the included Siri remote.

Courtesy of Amazon

How To Screen Mirror With Chromecast 

Courtesy of Amazon

Next to Apple AirPlay, the other go-to wireless protocol for Android and Google devices is Chromecast. And while Chromecast is primarily used to “cast” audio or video from certain smartphone applications (like Netflix or Spotify) to your Chromecast-ready TV or Chromecast streaming device (such as the Google TV with Chromecast), you’ll also be able to mirror your Android phone’s entire screen to your TV or streaming gear. 

As mentioned before, before you begin the A-to-B Chromecast handshake, you’ll want to confirm that both your phone and TV/streaming device are on the same Wi-Fi network. You’ll also want to make sure that your phone is running Android 5.0 or later. 

Now, grab your Android phone and open the quick settings menu (swipe down from the top of the screen to access). Next, locate and tap the Screen Cast button. You’ll then be prompted to choose what TV or streaming device you want to mirror your phone to. Once you select one, your phone screen should be mirrored to your TV. 

In the event that your phone’s quick settings doesn’t display the Screen cast button, you can also find this function in the Google Home app. After downloading the app to your phone (if you haven’t done so already), launch it and choose the Chromecast-ready TV or streaming device you want to mirror to. Then, just press the Cast My Screen button. To stop mirroring, press the Stop Mirroring button.

How To Screen Mirror with Samsung Smart View

Courtesy of Samsung

While this option is less common, there are certain TV brands that use their own wireless mirroring protocol for its in-house TVs and smartphones. Perhaps the most popular example of this umbrella is Samsung’s Smart View feature, shared by Samsung smart TVs and mobile Galaxy devices. And one of the greatest things about Smart View is that it also works in reverse, allowing you to mirror your TV screen to your Samsung phone or tablet.

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that both your Samsung phone and TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Once confirmed, grab your Galaxy phone and drag downward from the top of the screen using two fingers to access the Quick settings screen. Then, go ahead and tap the Smart View button (a play button with two lines circling around it). 

If you don’t see the Smart View icon, swipe left to see if you can access additional apps. If this isn’t the case, your Galaxy device may not be compatible with the feature. 

Once you tap Smart View, locate your Samsung TV on the Available Devices screen, then press Start now. Similar to AirPlay, you may be prompted to enter a passcode on your phone to initiate screen mirroring, but once you do, your phone’s screen should then display on your Samsung TV.

You can also access the Smart View feature through the Samsung SmartThings app. To do so, launch the SmartThings app and select the TV you want to mirror to, which will open a settings menu for the set. Go ahead and tap More options, followed by Mirror Screen. Then, tap Start Now and enter the passcode on your TV’s display (you may not have to complete this step).

How To Screen Mirror With LG Screen Share

Courtesy of Amazon

Alongside built-in support for Apple AirPlay 2 (on various 2019 models and later), you can also mirror your Android device’s screen to your LG smart TV using a feature called Screen Share

To get your mirroring session started, head into the main menu of your LG TV and select Screen Share. Then, head into the quick settings menu (or full settings menu) on your Android device and locate the Screen Mirroring button. Next, choose your LG TV from the list of available hardware, and give your phone and the TV a minute to join digital hands.

How To Screen Mirror With an HDMI Adapter

If you’re not into wireless casting, another screen mirroring solution is a phone-to-HDMI adapter for your TV. These are convenient accessories designed by a number of different companies, that usually require nothing more than some quick plug-and-play action. There’s a couple of drawbacks you should be aware of though, and the first is HDMI length.

If you don’t mind having the adaptor close to your TV, you’ll probably be able to get by with a shorter HDMI cable. But if you plan on chilling on the couch while you pull up content from your phone or tablet, you’ll need to invest in a longer HDMI lead.

Secondly, you’ll want to pay extra-close attention to user and publication reviews of whatever HDMI adapter you’re interested in. For the most part, these adapters work as promised, but sometimes a certain kind of mobile device simply won’t be compatible, or the adapter itself could be a bad product.

Be Wary of Third-Party Screen Mirror Apps

Sometimes holding onto a phone or tablet for a long time will mean that when it comes time to do software updates, your hardware may not have enough memory to actually perform the update’s download. Or, even worse, you may run into a situation where your device is so old that when you initiate the update, it bricks your phone or tablet. 

So what do you do if your phone or tablet is so outdated that there’s no screen mirroring feature to use? Well thankfully, there’s a wide array of third-party screen mirroring apps you can download for everything from iOS and Android devices to certain Windows and Galaxy phones. And certain apps (such as FonePaw ScreenMo) come with some extra features, like the ability to record your screen and have multiple devices casting to your TV at the same time.

But do us a favor before buying any third-party application, and make sure you’re downloading a legit product. Reading reviews of the app in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store can give you a good surface-level understanding of what features you can expect the app to have, and how well it has worked for other users. 

Sometimes, third-party apps solve all our problems, while other times they tend to create more issues. Just be cautious when using any and all non-first-party screen mirroring features.