Use AirPlay to see your Mac screen on an HDTV

If you have an Apple TV, you can use AirPlay to mirror or extend the desktop of your Mac display on an HDTV.

     AirPlay menu

 

Choose an Apple TV as an AirPlay display

To start using an AirPlay display:

  • Click the AirPlay icon  AirPlay icon in the menu bar, then choose the name of an Apple TV under "Connect To AirPlay Display." The icon is blue when your Mac is using an AirPlay display.
  • Or use Displays preferences: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Displays, then choose the Apple TV from the AirPlay Display menu at the bottom of the window.

    Apple TV automatically switches to the Mac that is most recently attempting to use it as an AirPlay display.

To stop using an AirPlay display:

  • Click the AirPlay icon  AirPlay icon, then choose Disconnect AirPlay Display. 
  • Or use Display preferences: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Displays, then choose Off from the AirPlay Display menu at the bottom of the window. 
  • Or press the Menu button on the Apple TV remote.

Choose AirPlay Mirroring or Extended Desktop mode

After connecting to an AirPlay display, you can use that display to either mirror one or more of your Mac displays, or use it as an additional display that extends your Mac desktop. Click the AirPlay icon  AirPlay icon, then choose Extended Desktop or one of the mirroring options under "Use AirPlay Display To." Because AirPlay is mirroring or extending your Mac display, both options require that your display remain connected and awake.

If you mirror your display, you can also adjust the desktop size for the best picture. Click the AirPlay icon, then choose an option under "Match Desktop Size To":

  • If you match desktop size to your Apple TV, the resolution and aspect ratio change to produce a 16:9 image that fills the HDTV screen but might not look as good on your Mac display. Use this setting for the best image on your HDTV.
  • If you match desktop size to your Mac display, the resolution and aspect ratio of your Mac display stay the same, and your HDTV might display a scaled image that doesn't fill the screen. Use this setting for the best image on your Mac display.

Get help

If you don't see an AirPlay icon  AirPlay icon in the menu bar:

  • Make sure that "Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available" is selected in Displays preferences. If you don't see this checkbox, your Mac doesn't meet the system requirements.
  • Make sure that the Apple TV is awake. You can wake it by pressing a button on your Apple TV remote. The AirPlay icon appears only when your Mac detects an Apple TV that can be used as an AirPlay display.

If you don't see your Apple TV in the AirPlay menu:

  • Make sure that your Mac and Apple TV meet the system requirements, and your Apple TV software is up to date
  • Make sure that your Apple TV is awake. You can wake it by pressing a button on your Apple TV remote. 
  • Check your firewall settings:
    1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, then click the Firewall tab.
    2. Click the lock icon, then enter an administrator name and password.
    3. Click Firewall Options.
    4. Deselect the option “Block all incoming connections.”
    5. Select the option “Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections.”

If AirPlay disconnects by itself

  • AirPlay may suddenly disconnect if your wireless network is too busy to maintain the AirPlay connection, or there is too much wireless interference. Learn how to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity issues
  • The manual of your network router might offer additional suggestions for maintaining a strong and fast connection with your devices.

If your desktop doesn't look good on your HDTV:

  • Many HDTVs apply picture-quality enhancements to improve the look of film and video, but those enhancements aren't always best for computer images. Check your HDTV manual for information about how to adjust your HDTV settings for use with a computer. Your HDTV might offer a more suitable viewing mode, such as computer mode or game mode. Also try adjusting settings such as sharpness, detail enhancement, and noise reduction.
  • If the menu bar, Dock, or other parts of the desktop are partly off screen when viewed on your HDTV, learn about overscan and underscan and what you can do to correct it. 

The DVD Player app doesn't support playback to an AirPlay display.

Requirements for using an AirPlay display

Minimum requirements if your Mac and Apple TV are on the same network:

Minimum requirements for peer-to-peer AirPlay, which lets visitors quickly and easily connect their Mac or iOS device to your Apple TV without gaining passwords and connecting to the Wi-Fi network:

Learn more

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