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How to use AirPlay to mirror your iPhone or Mac on Roku TV

Mirroring to a Roku can be a way around the limitations of casting.
By
November 10, 2022

While part of the point of a Roku is streaming without a phone or computer, there are times when you’ll want to push media from one device to another. Here’s how to mirror an iPhone, iPad, or Mac on your Roku using Apple’s AirPlay.

QUICK ANSWER

To mirror to Roku from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you'll have to toggle AirPlay on your Roku device by going to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit. HomeKit is optional. With that done, open Control Center on your Apple hardware, and tap Screen Mirroring followed by the name of your Roku.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Does my Roku support AirPlay?

Roku Ultra plugged into TV 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Most devices running Roku OS 9.4 or later support AirPlay. You can check this by navigating to Settings > System > About on your Roku, or simply scanning the Settings menu for an Apple AirPlay and HomeKit option. Check Roku’s website for the latest compatibility information.

That said, some devices must be running Roku OS 10 or later. These include specific models of the Streaming Stick (3600, 3800, 3801), Express (3900, 3930, 3932, 3960), Express Plus (3910, 3931), Roku HD (3932), Roku 2 (4205, 4210), Roku 3 (4200, 4201, 4230), and some Roku TVs (D- and 8-series model numbers). Check your model number the same way you would the Roku OS version.

How to set up AirPlay on Roku

AirPlay and HomeKit setup on a Roku TV
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

From the Roku home screen, navigate to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit and toggle AirPlay to On. Your Roku device should now appear whenever you tap the AirPlay icon on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, so long as everything is on the same Wi-Fi network. You can also add a Roku to HomeKit for control via Siri and the Apple Home app, but that’s optional.

Rokus have two AirPlay configuration menus, Subtitles and Captioning and Require Code. The first is self-explanatory, but Require Code dictates when you’ll have to enter a passcode displayed on your TV to start AirPlay streaming. First Time Only is probably the best choice, since it should prevent people from hijacking your TV without creating an ongoing hassle.

How to mirror your iPhone or iPad screen on Roku

To be very clear, mirroring with AirPlay is different from casting. We’ll get into casting below, but mirroring replicates a phone or computer’s output exactly, including interface elements. You should use mirroring only if casting isn’t an option in an app (such as Twitch) or if you’re deliberately trying to include a surrounding interface.

With AirPlay enabled on your Roku:

  • Swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPhone or iPad to open Control Center.
  • Tap on the Screen Mirroring icon (two overlapping rectangles).
  • Pick your Roku from the list that appears. If it doesn’t appear, you may be having connectivity issues.
  • If prompted, enter a passcode displayed on your TV.

To stop mirroring, open Control Center, tap the Screen Mirroring button, then Stop Mirroring.

How to mirror your Mac screen on Roku

AirPlay mirroring from a Mac
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

The Mac process is almost identical to the one for iPhones and iPads, the only difference being the location of Control Center. Click the Control Center icon (two toggle sliders) in the menu bar, then Screen Mirroring (overlapping rectangles). Choose your Roku as a target.

While mirroring is in progress, you’ll see a blue icon in the menu bar. Click it and select Turn AirPlay Off to stop. You can also click that icon to decide whether your macOS desktop should match the size of your Mac display or your TV.

How to use AirPlay to cast popular apps on Roku

On your video streaming apps

Casting is the ideal way of using AirPlay, since all that’s presented on your Roku is your media, not any surrounding interface. You’ll get AirPlay playback controls in Control Center and/or your lockscreen, so you don’t have to keep an app open.

If a video app supports AirPlay casting, you can use it by tapping/clicking on the feature’s icon, which in this case should be a rectangle with a triangle in it. The most dependable place to find that icon is in an app’s playback controls. Start watching something, hit the AirPlay button, and choose the Roku you want to stream to.

To stop casting, Mac owners can click on the AirPlay icon in either the video app or their menu bar. iPhone and iPad users should tap on the icon in the app or the Control Center playback widget.

On Apple Music or Spotify

Music apps are a little different from video, but not by much. Most of them, including Apple Music, will swap the rectangle in the AirPlay icon for a series of concentric rings, indicating that casting is audio-only. Otherwise, you cast content the same way — open it, hit the AirPlay button, then pick your Roku.

An important exception to this is Spotify. While the app supports AirPlay, you may first need to tap or click on the Spotify Connect icon, which looks like a speaker in front of a TV, or a speaker with a circle if you’re already using an external audio source (see below).

On an iPhone, for example, tap Spotify Connect, then AirPlay or Bluetooth. AirPlay will then function normally. Spotify however doesn’t support AirPlay 2, which is a more advanced version with support for things like multi-room audio.

In the Photos app

It isn’t necessarily obvious how you’d cast items from the Photos app for iPhone or iPad, but it’s not hard, either. When viewing an image, tap the Share icon (a rectangle with an arrow, not a triangle), then the AirPlay option. You’ll probably have to scroll down the sharing menu.

Pick a Roku to start casting, and swipe left or right to quickly switch images. Tap the AirPlay icon on your iPhone or iPad when you’re done.


Frequently asked questions

Yes. Technologies like AirPlay and Google Cast are predicated on both devices being connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Bluetooth doesn’t have enough bandwidth to handle high-quality video.

No. AirPlay is an Apple-exclusive technology, and there’s not much point, since you can accomplish just as much on Android using Google Cast.

On your Roku device, make sure you go to Settings > System > Screen mirroring and switch the mirroring mode to Prompt or Always allow. If you choose the former, you’ll have to authorize with your remote every time you want to mirror something. If you’re using a Roku TV or soundbar, you should also ensure that Fast TV Start is enabled by going to Settings > System > Power. Otherwise you’ll have to wait through a long boot process every time you turn on your TV.