How to turn on and use AirPlay on a Mac, for screen mirroring on larger displays like a smart TV

family watching tv at home with laptops and tablets
It’s easy to AirPlay from your Mac computer to devices within range.

  • You can turn on AirPlay on a Mac through the System Preferences app’s “Displays” menu.
  • AirPlay on a Mac is handy when giving presentations, or just sharing content on a larger display.
  • You can AirPlay from your Mac to any AirPlay-compatible device, like an iPad and most smart TVs.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

AirPlay is a great way to share content between Apple devices, and even to non-Apple devices that are AirPlay-compatible like many smart TVs.

With AirPlay on Mac, you can share music, photos, videos, or just mirror your entire computer screen on a larger display – here’s how.

How to enable AirPlay on a Mac

1. Open System Preferences, which you can do by clicking the Apple symbol in the menu bar at the top of your screen and selecting “System Preferences” in the drop-down.

2. In System Preferences, find and select the icon for “Displays,” which looks like a computer monitor.

Mac System Preferences window
Go to “Displays” in System Preferences.

3. Check the box next to “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available.”

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Make sure the box at the bottom of the Displays page is checked.

How to AirPlay your Mac to another device

You can mirror the display of your entire Mac screen onto an Apple TV or another AirPlay-compatible device, like an iPad or some smart TVs.

There are two ways to do this.

From the menu bar:

First, make sure your Mac is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as whatever device you’d like to AirPlay to. If you’re AirPlaying to an iPad, make sure they’re both logged into the same Apple ID account as well.

1. In the menu bar at the top of your Mac’s screen, click the AirPlay icon, which looks like a rectangle with an arrow at the bottom.

2. In the drop-down, choose the device you want to AirPlay to.

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In the AirPlay drop-down, select a device under “AirPlay To.”

3. A passcode might appear on your device’s screen. Enter it in the pop-up on your Mac.

4. Your Mac should then begin mirroring its screen to the device you selected.

5. To stop AirPlaying, click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar again and choose “Turn AirPlay off” in the drop-down.

Mac AirPlay icon drop-down in menu bar
Click “Turn AirPlay Off.”

From System Preferences:

1. Open System Preferences and click “Displays.”

Mac System Preferences window
Go to “Displays” in System Preferences.

2. On the Displays page, click the drop-down next to “AirPlay Display.”

System Preferences Displays page
Click the drop-down arrows next to “AirPlay Display.”

3. In the drop-down, select the device you want to AirPlay to.

System Preferences AirPlay drop-down
Select a device from the list.

4. A passcode may appear on your device’s screen. Enter it in the pop-up on your Mac.

5. Your Mac should then begin mirroring its screen to the device you selected.

6. To stop AirPlaying, click the drop-down next to “AirPlay Display” and select “Off.”

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Click “Off” in the drop-down to stop AirPlaying.

How to AirPlay content to your Apple TV and mirror your phone or computer to a TV screenHow to use AirPlay on a Roku player to stream content from an Apple deviceHow to mirror your iPhone screen to a Mac computer with QuickTime or AirPlayHow to mirror your iPhone’s screen onto a TV using a Chromecast or a Chromecast TV

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How to troubleshoot when AirPlay is not working between your devices and fails to cast content

woman watching tv looking through content on phone
If AirPlay is not working for you, there are a few ways to troubleshoot the problem using the devices involved.

  • If your AirPlay is not working, you may need to troubleshoot the involved Apple or AirPlay-compatible devices or your Wi-Fi router.
  • When everything is working properly, you can use AirPlay to send video from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to an Apple TV or another AirPlay-supported device.
  • Here is a list of things to check on each device when AirPlay is not working.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

AirPlay is one of the features that makes the Apple ecosystem feel interconnected; with just a tap or two, you can stream audio or video from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to another compatible device, like a television, Apple TV, or smart speaker.

Most of the time, AirPlay appears effortlessly in the Share menu of your media app, and you don’t need to think much about it. Occasionally, though, it doesn’t work, and it’s not clear why. Here’s what to do if AirPlay is not working.

What to do when AirPlay is not working

Most of the time, if AirPlay isn’t working, it simply fails to work at all – your device, like an Apple TV or your television doesn’t appear in the AirPlay device list. But AirPlay can also suffer from other glitches, like if the audio or video stutters or is otherwise low quality.

Here’s a short checklist of things to investigate, organized by the various parts of the AirPlay equation: your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the screen or speaker you want to AirPlay to, and your Wi-Fi router. As always when running down a troubleshooting list, try AirPlay after each step to see if that fixed the problem; if it didn’t, keep going until you solve the issue.

iPhone and iPad troubleshooting

  • Toggle your Wi-Fi. The easiest way to do this is to put your iPhone or iPad in airplane mode for a few seconds, then turn off airplane mode (see our guide to airplane mode for details). This forces the device to reconnect to Wi-Fi, which solves all sorts of connectivity issues.
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Turning airplane mode on and off again resets the Wi-Fi and can often instantly fix AirPlay glitches.

  • Make sure your device is up to date. Is your device running the latest version of iOS or iPadOS? Update it if necessary by following the steps in our guides to updating your iPhone or iPad.
  • Restart your iPhone or iPad. A software glitch might be preventing AirPlay from working properly, so restarting the device can wipe the slate clean and let it work normally again. See our guides to restarting your iPhone or iPad.

Mac troubleshooting

  • Check for AirPlay compatibility. If you’ve never used AirPlay on your Mac before, make sure it supports AirPlay. To check, click the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences,” then “Displays.” If your Mac works with AirPlay, you should see an AirPlay Display menu and an option to “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available.”
What to do if Airplay is not working 2
To be sure your Mac is AirPlay-compatible, check the Display tab in System Preferences.

  • Toggle your Wi-Fi. Restart your Wi-Fi connection and make sure that it’s working properly. Test your Wi-Fi by opening a webpage in a browser.
  • Restart your Mac. A restart can clear out any potential temporary glitches from memory.
  • Check for a MacOS update. Make sure you’re running the latest MacOS version.

Apple TV, smart TV, or speaker troubleshooting

  • Power on your device. Make sure the device you want to play to is powered on and awake.
  • Connect to the same Wi-Fi network. Make sure the second device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. If not, switch networks to sync your devices.
  • Make sure the device is successfully using Wi-Fi. Try to use the device to stream content from the internet. If that’s not working, AirPlay won’t work either, and you might have a more serious issue with your device, or the router might need to be restarted.
  • Update your Apple TV. If you’re using an Apple TV, make sure the device is up to date. Check for software updates and install it if available.
  • Restart the device. A restart can clear its memory and star the connection fresh.
  • Check the device’s audio. If AirPlay is only partially working – you see video but don’t hear audio, for instance – make sure the device’s audio isn’t muted. Also, make sure your iPhone or iPad isn’t set to mute.

Wi-Fi router troubleshooting

  • Restart your router. If the source of your trouble appears to be your Wi-Fi or internet connection, restart the router. Unplug it, wait two minutes, and then plug it back in.
  • You may need to update your router. Check your router to see if it needs a firmware update. Many modern routers are easy to update via a mobile app; if your router is older, you might need to log into its web console (see the router’s user guide for details).

How to use AirPlay on Apple TV to stream content from your iPhone, iPad, or MacHow to use AirPlay on Roku to screen mirror your iPhone, iPad, or MacHow to watch Apple TV on your Mac computer using the Apple TV website or appHow to manually update your Apple TV, or set it to update automatically in the background

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How to get BritBox on your smart TV and binge your favorite British shows

streaming to smart Tv watching movie
The BritBox app is compatible with most smart TVs.

BritBox, the streaming service borne of a partnership between British television networks BBC and ITV, is the place where you can go to watch classic pieces of British TV and new series.

The BritBox app is available on most smart TVs, and installation is fairly simple for each of them, even though the methods of installation are slightly varied depending on what brand you have.

How to get BritBox on your smart TV

Fire TV

1. From the Home screen on your TV, in the top toolbar, scroll over to “Apps.”

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Scroll over to “Apps” in the toolbar.

2. Search for BritBox among the suggested channels. If you can’t find it, press and hold the mic button at the top of your Fire TV remote and say “BritBox” into it. If you searched using your voice, select Britbox from the list of matches.

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Press and hold the mic button on your remote to speak into it.

3. Click the BritBox logo, and when it appears on your screen, click the “Get” button to download the app to your TV.

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Click “Get” to download.

4. Return to home, open the app, and log in or sign up.

Apple TV

1. From the home screen, open the iTunes store.

2. Enter “BritBox” into the search bar, and select it when it appears.

3. Click “Download.”

4. Return to Home, open the BritBox app, and either log in or sign up.

Roku TV 

1. On your TV’s home screen, scroll through the apps until you see the “Add Channels” option and select it.

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Select “Add Channels” from the home screen.

2. Scroll down to Search Channels and find BritBox.

3. Press “Add channel” to add it to the list of channels on your home screen.

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Press “Add channel.”

4. Return to “Home,” open the BritBox app, and log in or sign up.

LG TVs

1. From the home screen, go to the LG Content Store.

2. In the search box, type “BritBox.”

3. Select the BritBox app when it appears.

4. Press “Install.”

5. Once installed, go back to the home screen to open the app and log in or sign up.

If your TV is not listed here, that means that the BritBox app is not yet available for your brand. However, this does not mean that you can’t watch BritBox on your TV – if you subscribe through Amazon Prime or Apple TV, instead of directly on BritBox, you can watch via those apps instead.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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