Roku produces the most popular streaming devices on the planet. If you have streaming apps or use a cable-alternative service, then you’re probably no stranger to its devices. In fact, Roku offers a wide range of media players, so chances are you’ll find the ideal device to meet your specifications.
Did you know you could also mirror your apps from your computer, iPhone, or iPad directly to your Roku device? This means if you want to listen to Spotify from your TV, you can cast it using Roku AirPlay. AirPlay’s also perfect for sharing your personal photos and videos on the big screen. Mirroring your apps from your device to your Roku with AirPlay is relatively simple, but requires a brief workaround. But first, let’s take a closer look at what AirPlay is and how to use it.
What is AirPlay?
Developed by Apple, AirPlay functions primarily with iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. By comparison, Android and Google products use Google Cast. With AirPlay, you can cast a variety of media like photos, music, and videos to your Apple TV, Roku, and compatible smart TVs.
Similar to Google Chromecast, Roku lets you cast your apps directly from your smartphone or tablet to your TV screen. But Roku takes things a step further by providing an easy-to-use interface, giving you the option to open apps either directly from your Roku or control them from your mobile device.
Traditionally, AirPlay is managed within the Apple infrastructure, meaning from an iOS device to an Apple TV. However, there are ways to open AirPlay up to third-party devices like Roku.
How to mirror your iOS device on Roku
Mirroring your iOS device to your Roku involves a few steps. You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve first downloaded the Roku app to your device. You can find the latest version of the app in the App Store or on Roku’s website. Make sure that you’re also connected to the same Wi-Fi network for both devices.
- Start by powering on your TV and Roku device.
- Navigate to your Settings in the menu.
- Next, select System.
- From there, you’ll need to click on Screen mirroring.
- Select Screen mirroring mode, and you’ll have the option to choose between Prompt or Always allow. Choose your preferred method.
Now, to cast media that’s saved to your iOS device, you’ll need to adhere to the following steps. Available media to mirror includes your music, photos, and videos.
- Open the Roku app on your mobile device.
- Select the media icon, which has the appearance of a box with three arched lines crossing through the bottom left side.
- Begin by opening the app that you’d like to mirror to your Roku.
- Each app may function differently, but supported apps will display a casting icon, which looks identical to the above-described media icon. For example, when you choose a video on YouTube, the casting icon appears on the top right of the screen.
There are third-party apps that also allow you to cast to your Roku using AirPlay. Although anytime you use a third-party service, the best rule of thumb is to check the terms of service.
Devices and apps that support AirPlay
As we touched on above, AirPlay is a product of the Apple Universe and therefore supports all of its devices like Apple TVs and AirPlay 2-enabled smart TVs. Some smart TVs that are compatible with AirPlay 2 are LG, Samsung, Sony, and VIZIO.
In conjunction with HomeKit, you can utilize your personal assistant Siri with voice commands like, “Siri, play On Melancholy Hill in the family room” or “Siri, can you start Once Upon a Time in the West in the game room.” AirPlay also learns where you like to watch certain shows. In addition to media, you can also command Siri to control accessories and appliances like air conditioners and light switches.
Apple’s HomePod wireless speakers also sync up with AirPlay 2. That way, whether you’re listening to your favorite playlist or podcast, it’ll move from your iPhone to your HomePod with a Siri command. There are plenty of other speaker brands out there that also integrate AirPlay 2, like Beats by Dr. Dre, Bluesound, Bose, Definitive Technology, Sonos, and more.
Part of what makes Roku so special is its Roku remote. Each product comes with its own specialized remote. The higher-end Roku products offer better remote features like voice controls. If you’d like to learn more about the Roku remotes and all of their features, check out our review.
There are a few limitations with AirPlay that you should keep in mind. For instance, not every streaming app is compatible with it. The largest of all streaming apps, Netflix, no longer works with AirPlay according to its support page. The entertainment-focused cable alternative service Philo also doesn’t support AirPlay at this time.
The final cut
Roku may not be part of the Apple framework, but luckily there’s still a way to mirror your iOS devices using AirPlay. After a few simple steps, you’ll have the power to switch between your devices with ease. AirPlay also plays well with other compatible third-party devices out there, such as Sony smart TVs and Bose smart speakers. Just be sure to check third-party products and what they support before you make a purchase.
Are you interested in a Roku device? If you’re looking for an easily concealable design that supports 4K streaming, we recommend the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. Or, you may want to consider Roku’s most premium product — the Roku Ultra. The Ultra isn’t only wireless, but it provides you with extra storage space. To learn more about Roku and its many media players, we review all of its products, pricing, and more.