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Best Screen Mirroring Software for Each Platform
Do you project or mirror your screen on a display, like a projector or TV screen? A reader asked me what’s the best screen mirroring software for use on a Windows PC, and a Samsung Galaxy phone. I’ll add a Mac, Chromebook and iPhone/iPad as well. So what is the best screen mirroring software or solution for each major platform?
What is Screen Mirroring Software?
In case you’re not aware, it’s possible to show the contents of your mobile device’s screen on a TV or projector if you have the right connection, hardware or software. Wireless screen mirroring produces the most convenient results, depending on the source. A hardware connection produces the most reliable results. In a lot of cases you’ll need a piece of software or an operating system that includes screen mirroring or screen casting built into the OS.
The source is the phone or computer where you can see what you want to show on the other display. The client devices is the TV, projector or an external monitor of some kind.
In rare cases, you can do this with another mobile device, like another tablet, phone or laptop. Since the reader asking the question asked about using their laptop or phone mirroring to a TV, we’ll focus on that instead of on another mobile device. Why would you want to mirror to another mobile device. Let’s say a teacher wants to share their screen to students or a salesperson wants to let a customer view a presentation. Since we’re all about church and ministry, we’ll assume the source is a presentation or something that a crowd will want to see.
Best Screen Mirroring Options for Android Phones and Tablets
The best option for Android devices includes the Android operating system’s screen casting feature and a Google Chromecast or another device that support Chromecasting, like a Roku You can follow Google’s support tutorial steps in their user help page for Chromecasting. Below you’ll see Google’s support video from YouTube.
Both of the Chromecast devices will work with a Google Home on the same network. You can ask Google to play YouTube videos, watch YouTube TV shows or play some music. It also supports third party apps like streaming TV services from HBO and others.
If you already own a Roku device, it will most likely let you cast to the Roku connected to your TV or projector. To test this, go into your Roku Settings and choose System. Find Screen Mirroring and select Always Allow ot make it work all the time.
The Chromecast Ultra wins this category. It’s fast and reliable with a wired Ethernet connection, but versatile enough to use over Wi-Fi if wired networking isn’t convenient. The Chromecast works with every Android phone or tablet out there and even interfaces with a Google Home or Home Mini.
A lot of Android phones or tablets will also let the user hook up to a TV or projector with an HDMI cable. You’ll hae to check your device to see if it supports a wired HDMI signal from the micro-USB or USB-C port on the phone or tablet.
Best Screen Mirroring Options for iPhone and iPad – AirPlay
An iPhone or iPad runs iOS which includes screen mirroring built into the operating system. You can display the entire screen or, from within an app, you can send a video. This works with the Apple Videos app or Keynote for presentations. The iOS version of PowerPoint also works. Apple calls this AirPlay.
The Apple version of the Chromecast costs a lot more but also does a lot more. The Apple TV costs $149 for the low end 32GB model that only supports 1080P. The 4K versions with 32GB or 64GB of storage cost $179 or $199. In other words, they cost many times what the cheapest Chromecast costs. The more expensive models come with a faster processor and HDR10 support.
The use AirPlay you’ll need an iPhone or iPad and an Apple TV. There are some third-party options, but I don’t recommend them. Apple does plan to let TV makers put AirPlay into their TVs. Samsung, Sony, LG and Vizio are the first brands to support this.
You can mirror the screen on your iPhone or iPad easily. Swipe down from the top of the screen on iPhone or the top right part of the iPad. This shows the Control Center in iOS. Find the Screen mirroring button. Tap it and it will show your options.
Inside apps you will look for the same Screen Mirroring icon like we see on the button in the Control Center. Tap it to show the options to mirror the screen to.
Apps that let you use AirPlay from with the app include Netflix, HBO, and other video apps. Some audio apps offer this option as well.
The Chromecast also lets you cast the screen from certain supported apps on iPhone and iOS. For example, Netflix supports this. So do Google’s apps.. Look for the Chromecast icon (see image above – upper left corner). Tap it and you’ll see the devices on your network that will let you cast your screen (see image below).
Like Android, you can always choose to connect to a TV or projector with a wired connection. To do this from iPhone and most iPads, you’ll need a dongle from Apple or a third party to make it work. These cost anywhere from $30 to $50 depending on which one you need. You can find cheaper dongles form other companies, but I don’t recommend them because they seem to work intermittently.
The dongle you need will depend on the devices you plan to use. Does your iOS device have a Lightning port or USB-C. Apple offers a Lightning to HDMI, VGA or DVI dongle. Notice the image above shows the HDMI out port next to a Lightning connector. Plug the HDMI cable into your TV or projector and the Lightning cable from a power source to keep your iPad or iPhone charging while playing the video or doing the presentation. You can also find dongles to connect a USB-C iPad Pro HDMI. If you own a display with USB-C inputs, then use it. It must support Thunderbolt 3 to work.
I use this last method to present at church during Bible studies. It works all the time and is more reliable than wireless AirPlay screen mirroring.
If you need something that will connect a tablet to a computer , which you then connect to a display, look at AirParrot 2. This works great if you already have a computer connected to a projector in a sanctuary or classroom. You want to use your iPad or iPhone to show a video or present. Install AirParrot 2 on the computer and use the iPhone, iPad or Android device to connect to the computer. The software supports Apple AirPlay, Google Chromecast and even Windows Miracast.
Speaking of Windows Miracast, that’s another option. It’s not a common option, so we won’t cover it here. Check out the Wi-Fi Alliance page to learn more.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.