How to Connect an iPhone or iPad to a TV

Oct 24, 2015 - 25 Comments

Connect an iPhone or iPad to a TV screen with HDMI

You can easily connect any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a TV screen or even many projectors with the help of a wired connector adapter and HDMI cable. As long as the recipient TV, display, or projector has an HDMI input port, you can mirror the iPhone or iPad display directly to that screen. This is great for presentations, demonstrations, watching videos or movies, and so much more. The output video can be a maximum of 1080p HDTV resolution, and yes both video and audio are transmitted, mirrored from iOS to the TV screen.


If you don’t want to use HDMI, you can also use a wireless method with AirPlay as described here too.

Requirements for Connecting an iPhone or iPad to a TV / Projector with HDMI

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with a Lightning connector port
  • TV, HDTV, or digital projector that has an HDMI input – this will be the target display for mirroring the iOS screen to
  • HDMI cable – a reasonably long length is preferable for many situations
  • Lightning Digital AV Adapter for iPhone & iPad

This is what the Lightning to HDMI cable looks like, it also has a lightning port on there if you wish to charge an iOS device or have it connected to a power source while in use.


The iOS to TV HDMI cable

Once you have all the hardware, the remaining setup is extremely easy to get the iPhone or iPad connected to a TV screen.

Connecting the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a TV, Display, Projector, with HDMI

  1. Be sure the iOS device is powered on
  2. Connect the Lightning Digital AV Adapter to the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  3. Connect the HDMI cable to the Lightning AV adapter then also connect the HDMI cable to the TV, display, or projector you wish to export the iOS screen to
  4. Lightning to HDMI adapter for iOS display mirroring

  5. Toggle the settings on the TV or projector to the appropriate HDMI input, this differs between TV, displays, and projectors, but typically it’s within the “Input” options on displays
  6. When the correct HDMI input is found, iOS will detect the secondary screen and immediately start projecting the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch display mirrored on the TV

iPhone mirrored on a TV

You can now use iOS as usual, with the screen mirrored to the other display or TV. Play a video, game, run through a presentation, show a demonstration, play a slideshow, share pictures on a larger screen, whatever you want to do on the iOS device is now in full screen on the TV.

iPhone screen mirrored on an HDMI TV

Note if the device is oriented vertically, large black bars will appear on both sides of the mirrored iOS screen. Because of this, you’ll likely want to turn off orientation lock so that you can rotate the iPhone or iPad screen into horizontal position to better match the wider screen TV display. This is particularly important for watching movies and video from an iOS device connected to a TV:

Watching a movie on TV connected to iPhone

It also helps with apps that support the horizontal / widescreen format too, like Safari.

Safari on iPhone running on an HDMI TV screen through HDMI connection

Without rotating into horizontal mode, the picture will simply display on the TV or projector smaller than it would otherwise if widescreen is possible, like playing a movie.

Connect an iPhone or iPad to a TV screen with HDMI

So while using a wired connection and HDMI cable is less fancy than using wireless like AirPlay, there’s also much less troubleshooting required since you basically just connect the cables and you’re good to go. You can go aboutconnecting a Mac to a TV in a similar cabled fashion, which is equally as useful, though doing that requires a different adapter than what is necessary for connecting an iOS device to a TV screen as we’ve covered here.

Of course, using a cabled solution may not be as fancy as mirroring a display wirelessly with AirPlay, but it works nearly flawlessly and there’s so little setup involved that it can be great solution for those who don’t mind the wired connection. If you have an Apple TV and want to use the AirPlay solution instead, you can read more about that here.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

25 Comments

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  1. Larry says:

    Chromecast is another option that is pretty easy to use (and cheaper than Apple TV).

  2. Joe Ojon says:

    These cables work great, and if you use them often for presentations or at work they are a must-have for iPhone and iPad accessories.

    But for the average person I don’t know because of the cost, when you are close to other options price wise, like Apple TV and Chromecast. I mean, $50 for a adapter cable? You can buy an Apple TV with AirPlay for $99 ($149 for the newer one since they always up the price on new stuff), but for an adapter, you are getting every nickel and dime taken by for an adapter that should cost $10.

  3. Wharf Xanadu says:

    If this cable adapter was $10 nobody would buy an Apple TV or DVD player

  4. shannan bolton says:

    I just want to know how to get more free storage on my ipod touch cause I have 0GB on my ipod and I need more GB please tell me how to get more GB for my ipod

  5. Maggie says:

    Using the lightening cord to hdmi used to work now I get an error message saying it’s not available. Did Apple or xfinity change something? Any way around this without Apple TV?

    • Pablo says:

      Try rebooting the iPhone or iPad, and turning the TV off and on again. You can also try to switch the HDMI port to another one.

      It’s possible the HDMI cable or the adapter itself is failing in terms of hardware too, especially if it has been abused or torn or is fraying, but there has been nothing changed and the ability should work with supported iOS hardware and the HDMI.

  6. brian says:

    hello . i just updated my i-phone 4s to iOS 9.1.2 and now when i connect it to my tv whit the hdmi cable it comes up on my phone (this item is not supported by this phone) when i had iOS 7 it worked fine , any ideas how i can watch stuff from my phone on tv again ?

  7. Joyce says:

    I have the Lightning adaptor, everything connected to my Sony tv via iPhone (iOS updated), the correct HDMI matched to input and no sound. Can you help ?

  8. Flora says:

    I have unlimited data for movie streaming on my iPhone plan but they say it is not licensed for any other screen. If I want to spare my eyesight and connect my phone via HDMI and Lightning Adaptor to my TV, will my phone provider be able to tell and charge me for additional usage? Not Apple TV, just straight manual connection.

  9. Katie says:

    I’ve had the same problem as above, I have connected the cables correctly to my iPad/iPhone and tv and the images work fine but there is no sound? It works fine on my fiends TVs and in the Apple Store so I was wondering could it be my tv that is the problem?

  10. Bill says:

    I want use Netflix through my iPhone to my headrest monitors. Headrest only have a 3.5m AC in. Can it be done?

  11. les gowell says:

    I purchased the apple hdmi adaptor and a new 32 in tv with hdmi ports. Hooked up my iphone 6s with ios 10 and it says there is no device hooked up. I do get iphone screen mirrored on the tv and when i stream directv i get sound but no video. anything im missing?

  12. Terry Grant says:

    When I try using the hdmi with DIRECTV playing on my phone, I can only get sound to come out of the tv while video plays on my phone. Thoughts?

  13. Lon says:

    Iphone 7 & USB cable to Macbook Pro W/Sierra 10.12.1
    Run Quicktime App. Choose record new video, choose Iphone video and audio from the little pull down menu next to Quicktime’s play control on screen. HDMI cable to screen/TV
    Netflix downloads play seamlessly. Headphones or whatever audio output to stereo from the Mac will improve sound quality.
    Wifi downloads from netflix don’t waste your phone’s data.

  14. Lynnebo says:

    All great but No sound as above. Has anyone figured it out? Headphones nope!

  15. Me says:

    Do these still work, if so is there any delay?

  16. Ben says:

    When I connect my iphone se via the hdmi/lightning cable, the screen does not want to work properly. I have to decide on the website I want to view and ‘then’ plug in my cable in. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

  17. Dre says:

    Keeps saying unable to connect after I updated my iPhone

  18. Efrain says:

    “I have the Lightning adaptor, everything connected to my Sony tv via iPhone (iOS updated), the correct HDMI matched to input and no sound. Can you help ?”
    Answer- try and flip the lightning adaptor cable entrance to the phone (has two sides) both sides does enter correctly but one side doesn’t connect the the volume to the tv, once I flip the connector of cable to the other side and connect to the phone it work fine.

  19. AG says:

    Ran into the no sound issue using the iPhone to HDMI adapter. I went into my TV settings (Panasonic), Audio > Advanced Audio > switched the sound setting on my input from HDMI to digital. That fixed it for me.

  20. Awim says:

    omg i use android. just plug in any cable and it works, no use for this kind of explanation. Is this the apple-world?

  21. Tushig Orkhon says:

    Does this also does the opposite thing? (Shows pc on phone)

  22. Heather says:

    We bought one to watch Netflix on our tv. But we can’t get the screen to go side ways. It only stays length ways even though my phone is sideways. Why wo t it change on the tv.

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