It’s no secret that media is still the king, and it’s less of a secret that streaming media is the most popular way to currently consume content. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, and dozens of other streaming and on-demand video and music services work to give subscribers access to vast swaths of movies, television shows, and music that can be watched or listened to whenever you want to do so.
It’s no wonder that so many people are “cutting cords” and opting for streaming subscriptions rather than traditional cable or satellite access–streaming is entirely more convenient! However, one of the most popular streaming tools–the Google Chromecast–also allows you to mirror activity from other devices right onto your TV. In the following article, we’re going to show you how to leverage your Chromecast device to mirror your iPhone’s screen onto your TV.
As long as you’re not averse to allowing your Apple hardware to fraternize with Google’s Chromecast, read on for more information!
There’s a reason that the Chromecast is such a popular contender for digital streaming services. It’s compact, occupies no shelf space, and also gives you much of the same functionality that you’d find in a more expensive set-top box like a Roku device or Apple TV. Though it won’t ever be quite as strong as those more expensive pieces of hardware, it hits the streaming sweet spot for a variety of users. The fact that it’s minimalistic, and can basically just hang out while attached to the back of your TV is just icing on the accessibility cake!
However, as you might imagine, we’re going to run into a couple of small hiccups if we’re going to be mixing Google and Apple hardware. This is less the fault of the Chromecast device and has more to do with the proprietary nature of Apple’s technology.
Traditionally, Google’s hardware and software platforms have been wide open for third-party support and integration, going both ways. Google wants its apps and services on other devices, and it wants those third-parties to take up space in the Google software environment. This is why Chromecast tends to work marvelously with almost every streaming service out there; it’s simply good business, and on top of that, it fits with the paradigm that Google has established for itself.
Apple, on the other hand, is known for only allowing proprietary access for software and features that it’s developed for its devices. This isn’t inherently a bad thing–iOS is extremely secure, and people who buy Apple hardware tend not to enjoy being bogged down by an excess of third-party services and software. However, when it comes to Apple’s mirroring service, Airplay, this can cause some frustrations for users who just want to broadcast their content.
We’ll get into the nitty-gritty below. But rest assured that we can make it work! It is, however, going to take some extra wrangling due to the restrictions of the iPhone, and might require the purchase of secondary apps in order to implement it.
How Chromecast Works
Chromecast is successful primarily because of its simplicity. In addition to that, it also happens to work really damn well. It provides access to streaming services without the use of excessively expensive set-top boxes or gaming consoles, and doesn’t even take up any precious shelf space!
The device itself plugs into an HDMI port on your television, and also into any nearby available USB port. The HDMI is for audio and video, while the USB is necessary to keep it powered. And as far as setup goes…that’s it!
You can control the streaming functions of the Chromecast with either a PC or your smartphone, using the Google Home app. All of the most popular streaming services are available for you to select, so if you’re subscribed, you’ll be able to play it. Additionally–and this is where our guide comes in–you can also mirror the screen of your Google Chrome web browser right to the Chromecast device. This means that anything you’re doing in the Chrome browser can be displayed on your TV. It’s potentially great for productivity, but also has nearly unlimited entertainment potential!
The iOS operating system isn’t without its own standards of mirrored content; it’s just proprietary, which means it’s far more restricted than anything offered by Google. It helps to keep the Apple software and hardware ecosystem very unified, which its users tend to love! There’s less of a learning curve to using Apple’s many great software elements and features, and more often than not, it simply works without any extra fuss.
Airplay is something of an exception to this. Out of the box, the only devices that your iPhone is going to be able to mirror to with Airplay are the Apple TV and Mac computers. It seems limited from the outside, but those dedicated to iOS and OS X are thrilled with how fluid the system tends to work. Those of us with Chromecast devices and Windows PCs…well, we’re a bit less thrilled. But that’s okay! We have a way to work around it.
Mirroring Your iPhone to Chromecast
As you might have surmised from the above information, your iPhone is going to require an intermediary service if you want to use Airplay to mirror it to your Chromecast. Apart from jailbreaking your device (which we do not recommend), there’s no other known way to pull off this process. If it sounds like a bit too much work for you, then you might want to try a different method of getting whatever content is on your iPhone to play on your TV. We’ll list a few able alternatives before this article is finished!
For now, we’re going to need to do three things before we can make this work:
- Set up your Chromecast to mirror your Chrome browser, on a PC or Mac.
- Set up Apple Airplay on your iPhone.
- Find an application that allows your Chrome browser to serve as an Airplay receiver.
Again, these three steps are essential if you want to mirror your iPhone to your Chromecast receiver. If you’d rather opt for an alternative method of streaming content, skip down to our other recommendations!
The intermediary application that we’re going to use is called Mirroring360, and it’s been optimized for use with iOS 10. You won’t have to worry about whether or not it’s going to work, although we would be remiss in not saying that Apple could block this access at any time. This isn’t to say that Apple will, but the company has historically been very specific in controlling how its hardware interfaces with other devices.
Click through to the link above, and check out the application. If you like the look of it and feel comfortable using it, then we can proceed! Go ahead, download and install Mirroring360, and then open up Google Chrome on your computer.
You’re going to need to find the Mirroring360 extension for your Chrome browser. Once that’s installed, it’s time to make sure that you’re able to link your Chrome browser with the Chromecast device plugged into your TV. Make sure the Chromecast extension is installed, and then run it. If it works properly, your computer’s screen should be displayed on your TV!
Next, you’ll want to make sure that your iPhone’s Airplay feature can identify your computer as a potential Airplay recipient. To do this, start up both the Mirroring360 app and extension and then tap through to activate Airplay on your iPhone. Your computer should now be listed as a possible recipient for Airplay broadcasting.
As soon as you start mirroring your iPhone to your computer with Airplay–which you should now be able to do–you’ll be able to subsequently put your iPhone’s screen on your TV! It’s a bit more complex than most users would like it to be, but it gets the job done, and doesn’t saddle you with an extra, expensive device in the form of the Apple TV box.
Though the above process should have your iPhone up and running on your TV, there are alternative solutions that might involve far fewer steps. Whether or not they work for you is going to depend on your particular use case–what you’re up to on your iPhone that you would rather have showing up on your TV!
If all that you’re looking to do is view content from a streaming service, then you already have everything you need in the form of Chromecast! This includes YouTube, which is the most popular free method of viewing video content.
Many people are interested in viewing photo slideshows and video captures on their TV screens. If this is your goal, you don’t need to use your iPhone for it! Simply migrate the media from your iPhone to your computer, set it up to view on your PC, and then use the “Cast” feature in the Chromecast extension to broadcast your entire desktop (audio included) to your TV. Simple, right?
We hope that this brief guide has illuminated some of the extra flexibility that you can give to both Airplay and a Chromecast device, as long as they’re configured correctly. If you have any further questions about mirroring an iPhone’s screen, let us know in the comments below!