Connecting an iPhone or iPad to a TV is a great way share to content with friends and family (or have them share with you when visiting) and can also be useful in business settings. Follow along to see which of the two ways to connect your iPhone or iPad to a TV is best for you.

AirPods

How to connect iPhone and iPad to a TV

When it comes to connecting your iPhone or iPad to a TV, you can choose to go with an adapter + HDMI cable or wirelessly (called mirroring) with an Apple TV. The most convenient option is connecting wirelessly, but this can be more expensive if you don’t already own an Apple TV (depending on the model). Let’s take a look at both options.

How to wirelessly mirror iPhone and iPad to a TV

Connecting wirelessly (or mirroring) to your TV with iPhone or iPad is possible via Apple software called AirPlay when you have an Apple TV.

If you don’t already own an Apple TV, the current 4th generation model goes for $150. However, you can pick up a refurbished model for $125 or sometimes you can find the previous generation Apple TV for $60 (which works with AirPlay). You’ll also need an HDMI cable, Amazon’s $6 option is tough to beat. The following images show an iPhone, however the same steps apply for iPad.

  1. Make sure your Apple TV and iPhone or iPad are on the same wireless network
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to pull up Control Center
  3. Tap AirPlay Mirroring
  4. Tap Apple TV

Image showing how to enable mirroring from iPhone or iPad to a TV with AirPlay

Whatever you pull up on your iPhone or iPad will be mirrored to your TV. Use your device in landscape mode if possible to fill up your TV screen.

You’ll notice the status bar turn blue at the top of your iPhone or iPad with the AirPlay symbol (rectangle with triangle) on the right side when you are connected to your TV.

To end mirroring with AirPlay pull up Control Center again, tap on AirPlay Mirroring, and then tap Turn Off AirPlay Mirroring.

How to connect iPhone and iPad to a TV with an adapter and cable

If you’d prefer to connect your device with a wired setup, you’ll need an adapter and an HDMI cable. First, to connect to your iPhone or iPad you’ll need Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter for about $50 (this connects to the Lightning port and provides a female HDMI port). You can buy third-party options for this for about $20, but they aren’t fully functional for mirroring everything, so unless it meets your specific needs better, Apple’s official adapter is usually best.

Note: If you have an older iPhone or iPad with a 30-pin connector (iPhone 4s and earlier, iPad 3rd gen and earlier) you’ll need this adapter instead.

If you go for Apple’s adapter, an HDMI cable is not included, so you’ll be closer to $60 by the time you throw in an affordable cable.

  1. Connect the Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter to your iPhone or iPad
  2. Connect an HDMI cable to the adapter and plug the other end in your TV
  3. If the connection doesn’t seem to be working, check your TV input (match it to what physical input you are using)

Unless using an adapter and HDMI cable fits your needs especially well,  looking for a used or 3rd generation Apple TV is a good way to get the convenience of wireless AirPlay mirroring at about the same cost of investing in a wired setup.

Check out our how to guide for more ways to get the most out of your Apple devices.