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A laptop wirelessly mirrored to TV

This complete screen mirroring guide will make you an expert on screen sharing in no time. Discover the best screen mirroring solution for your needs. Learn how screen mirroring works. Find the easiest and most reliable way to share your screen in your next class or meeting. Everything you need to know about screen sharing is right here.

If you want an even more in-depth analysis on all the tech mentioned here (and more), check out the Best Screen Mirroring Products of 2023 eBook. It's complete with tech specs, pricing, features, compatibility and management details.

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The Basics

Before you go any further, we should establish the basics of screen mirroring. This section covers what screen mirroring is and popular types of screen mirroring.

What is screen mirroring?

Screen mirroring technology allows you to wirelessly share a device screen to another display in the same space in real time. Screen mirroring requires both a screen-sending device and a screen-receiving device (often called a receiver or media player).

Screen-sending device: This is the device you are mirroring from (the device you want to share to another display). This device can be a phone, tablet or computer. These devices use a proprietary wireless communication protocol like AirPlay, Miracast, Google Cast or other purpose-built screen mirroring software to share content to other devices. You can screen mirror from iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, Chromebooks, Windows PCs, Macs and more.

Screen-receiving device: This is the device you are mirroring to (the device you want to display your shared content on). Common hardware receivers include media players like Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku; TVs with built-in screen sharing capabilities; and numerous hardware receivers built specifically for various screen mirroring solutions.

Selecting the right screen mirroring solution can be a confusing, time-consuming process. Read the 9 Things You Must Know Before Picking a Screen Mirroring Solution to make the best decision.  

A screen sending and screen receiving device

It’s possible to use cables or wired setups like HDMI to share your screen to another display. However, wired screen sharing is an outdated, problematic and costly solution. For the purposes of this guide, screen mirroring is an entirely wireless act.

Read 7 reasons you should look for wireless alternatives to HDMI cables.

Screen mirroring protocols

Many devices have native, built-in screen mirroring protocols that allow data to be wirelessly transmitted from one place to another. A mirroring protocol lets devices screen mirror and stream media to compatible devices or wireless receivers.

AirPlay, Miracast, Google Cast, Smart View and Ditto protocol logosMirroring protocols include:

  • AirPlay — Apple’s proprietary mirroring protocol for Apple products.
  • Google Cast/Chromecast built-in/Cast — Screen mirroring/casting developed by Google for Google/Android products.
  • Smart View — The Samsung mirroring technology that uses Miracast
  • Miracast — Created by the Wi-Fi Alliance, Miracast is compatible with certain Windows and Android operating systems.
  • SSP — The screen mirroring and streaming protocol developed by Squirrels that's used in Ditto. SSP is compatible with a wider range of devices than native protocols included on Apple, Android and Windows devices.
  • Miscellaneous protocols — There are a number of third-party screen mirroring alternatives that use their own mirroring protocols and/or integrate native protocols. 

Discover the 9 best ways to evaluate any screen mirroring tech

The good news: Some of these protocols like AirPlay, Google Cast and Miracast come built-in with most of the devices you already have. This means quick and easy screen mirroring to compatible devices.

The bad news: These protocols are only compatible with devices that use the same protocol. That means you can't, for instance, screen mirror an iPhone to a Windows PC or a Windows Surface Pro to an Apple TV without a third-party screen mirroring solution. They also tend to create a number of problems on your network (detailed in the sections below).

These issues limit screen sharing, especially in collaboration hotspots like schools and businesses. It’s a big reason why more complete, inclusive screen mirroring solutions have become so popular.

Learn more about native streaming protocols and a reliable, all-in-one alternative.

When to Use AirPlay, Google Cast, Smart View, Miracast and SSP (Ditto)

It can be confusing to figure out when to use these protocols or when to search for an alternative. We break down when to use each screen mirroring protocol below:

Bonus: There are 9 things you must know before picking a screen mirroring solution. Find them here.

When to use AirPlay

Most Apple devices come equipped with AirPlay. iPhones, iPads, Macs, HomePods and Apple TV all use AirPlay to wirelessly send and receive content.

AirPlay screen mirroringIf you only own Apple devices, you can probably stick with using AirPlay to screen mirror. Here’s what you can screen mirror and stream with AirPlay:

  • Screen mirror iPhone to Apple TV
  • Screen mirror iPhone to Mac*
  • Stream audio from iPhone to HomePod
  • Screen mirror iPad to Mac*
  • Screen mirror iPad to Apple TV
  • Stream audio from iPad to HomePod
  • Screen mirror Mac to Apple TV
  • Stream audio from Mac to HomePod

*AirPlay mirroring an iPhone/iPad to Mac is limited to certain devices and is only available on macOS Monterey and macOS Ventura.

The problem: Non-Apple devices are not equipped with AirPlay. As mentioned above, people with other device types will not be able to share content wirelessly using AirPlay. Additionally, AirPlay isn’t ideal if you have a complex or secured network like most schools and businesses. AirPlay requires Bonjour and multicast traffic to be allowed on your network.

AirPlay is also limiting when you have separate networks. If you have employees on one network and guests on another, or students and teachers on separate networks, they wont be able to share. The sending and receiving devices must be on the same network. Additionally, AirPlay doesn't provide advanced customization options that allow you to determine how and what you mirror. Other screen mirroring products like Ditto help resolve these issues.

When to use Google Cast

Google Cast, sometimes called "Chromecast built-in" or simply "Cast"  is the native screen mirroring protocol common in Google devices, Android and Chrome operating systems, and some apps. Chromecast built-in is the Google streaming protocol for many smart TVs and media players.

Google Cast screen mirroringGoogle Cast is a good option when you just want to mirror your Android phone or Chromebook to your smart TV. However, your smart TV must have Chromecast built-in for this to work.

Here’s what you can screen mirror and stream with Google Cast. Remember that this only applies when the sender and receiver devices are equipped with Cast capabilities. Not all TVs and Android phones come equipped with Google Cast.

  • Screen mirror Android phones to TVs
  • Stream audio from Android phone to Google smart speaker
  • Screen mirror Android tablet to TVs
  • Stream audio from Android tablet to Google smart speaker
  • Screen mirror Chromebook to TV
  • Screen mirror from Chrome web browser to Chromecast built-in
  • Stream audio from Chrome web browser to Google smart speaker
  • Casting to a Chromecast digital media player plugged into a TV HDMI port

If you require security features, look for an alternative to Google Cast. The built-in protocol doesn’t offer vital security features for schools and businesses, and connections cannot cross VLANS.

When to use Smart View

Smart View is essentially Samsung’s version of Google Cast or AirPlay. Smart View uses the Miracast protocol. It comes equipped as a native setting in Samsung phones, tablets and laptops.

Smart View screen mirroringUse Smart View if you want to mirror your Samsung mobile device or laptop to a Samsung TV or other Samsung display. Do not use Samsung Smart View if you need compatibility with a wider range of devices or if you need a screen mirroring solution that's secure and scalable for heavy usage in places like schools and businesses.

When to use Miracast

Miracast is available on certain Windows and Android devices. Use Miracast when you want to screen mirror an Android or Windows device to a Miracast-enabled TVs or devices.

Miracast screen mirroringWhile this is an acceptable option for home use, Miracast is not suitable for large organizations due to poor security measures and compatibility limitations.

When to use a non-native screen mirroring solution like Ditto

If you want more robust features, need greater screen mirroring compatibility, require a network-friendly alternative or want a scalable solution, there are third-party screen mirroring options for you.

Ditto is a screen mirroring software solution that works on common hardware receivers like Apple TV and Windows devices. The Ditto screen mirroring protocol, called SSP, is compatible with a wide range of device types, offers security features and is centrally managed for administrator convenience. For more information on Ditto and other purpose-built screen mirroring solutions, see Screen Mirroring Products.

Pros of using a third-party solution over native screen mirroring protocols:

  • Reliable security options
  • Accommodates numerous device types in any environment
  • Works with complex networks
  • Centrally managed and scalable
  • Additional robust screen mirroring features and customizations

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Screen Mirroring Products

There are many different options when it comes to picking a screen mirroring solution. Your devices, budget, desired features and intended use will determine what solution is best for you.

Want help deciding the best screen mirroring solution for you needs? See the 9 key things to consider when picking a screen mirroring solution.

Popular screen mirroring solutions

These solutions are more scalable options than native protocols and come with additional capabilities, features and security settings. These options are specifically designed for large-scale environments and are compatible with many device types to maximize collaboration and accommodate different setups.

Compare every screen mirroring solution mentioned in this article and more with the Best Screen Mirroring Products of 2023 eBook.

Ditto: Ditto is an all-in-one screen mirroring solution. It encompasses the capabilities of AirPlay, Google Cast, Miracast and Smart View and is compatible with virtually every widely used operating system. This solution is ideal for schools, businesses and other large organizations that want reliable, scalable and affordable enterprise-level screen mirroring. Ditto also offers the option to display digital signage on your screens. Try Ditto free today.

Reflector: Reflector turns your Mac or Windows device into a screen mirroring receiver. This mirroring and streaming solution has a number of great features, including mirrored device recording, device frames, display options and more. Compare Ditto and Reflector.

AirParrot: AirParrot is a computer app that allows you to screen mirror your Windows and macOS screens to AirPlay and Google Cast receivers, like Apple TV, Chromecast or Reflector. Compare Ditto and AirParrot.

Airtame: Airtame is a hardware-based wireless screen mirroring solution. Airtame wirelessly connects devices to a proprietary HDMI hardware receiver and allows users to share content to it. Compare Ditto and Airtame.

Kramer VIA GO2: Kramer VIA GO2 is a wireless screen mirroring hardware solution. It’s a proprietary hardware box that is connected via cables to an organization’s network and primary displays such as TVs. Compare Ditto and Kramer VIA GO2.

Mersive Solstice Pod: Mersive Solstice Pod uses a combination of hardware and software for screen mirroring. Users share content to the hardware box. Compare Ditto and Mersive Solstice Pod.

Curious about more screen mirroring options? Compare the most popular screen mirroring solutions.

Popular Screen Mirroring Questions

Do you know the 9 things you must consider before deciding on a screen mirroring solution for your school or business? You should. Learn here.

How do you screen mirror to more than one display simultaneously?

Person screen mirroring an Android phone to Apple TVs

If you’re in a large space with multiple displays, sharing your screen to every display simultaneously will allow everyone in the room to see the content you’re sharing. Luckily, there’s an easy way to screen mirror to every display in your space in seconds. Check out these guides to screen mirroring your device to multiple Apple TVs at the same time:

How do you screen mirror multiple devices to one display simultaneously?

Conference room tablet screen mirroring to Apple TV

It’s also possible to screen mirror multiple phones, tablets and computers to one display. This is useful when you want to compare notes or deliverables, collaborate on a project, showcase multiple projects at once and much more.

Learn how to screen mirror multiple devices to one Apple TV.

How do you use screen mirroring to replace your document camera?

Students in a classroom learning about robotics by using screen mirroring tech as a document camera

If you want a cost-effective and wireless document camera setup, consider utilizing screen mirroring. Simply set up your phone or tablet to record your teaching materials, then screen mirror to the display in your space. Need a reliable screen mirroring solution for your classroom? Try Ditto.

Replace your document camera with this complete guide

Is there such a thing as screen mirroring etiquette?

Screen mirroring in conference room

Absolutely. Before you share your screen to a conference room full of your colleagues, make sure you know proper screen mirroring etiquette. That way, you can avoid common screen mirroring faux pas and make your wireless content-sharing experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Follow these seven screen mirroring etiquette tips.

How do you turn off notifications when screen mirroring?

Text message notification interrupting a presentation

Whether you’re giving a presentation or sharing your screen during a live stream, you should turn off notifications to protect your privacy. Hide unexpected messages and block disruptive phone calls so you can share your screen worry-free.

Learn how to turn off notifications for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Chromebook and Android phones and tablets.

You’ve now completed your crash course in screen mirroring! Want to start sharing your screen today? Try Ditto.


Discover the 9 things you must know before picking a screen mirroring solution for your school or business.

Last updated 6/21/2023

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The 9 best ways to evaluate any screen mirroring solution

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