For those with an Apple TV as well as an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, Apple's AirPlay technology can stream your favorite music, podcasts, movies, TV shows, and more to your Apple TV, or mirror the screen of your device onto your Apple TV or Mac.

You can easily access iTunes and iCloud content directly from your Apple TV, but streaming through AirPlay can display any audio or video content stored locally on your device—including any content you didn't buy or download directly from Apple. You can also stream content from third-party apps and services to your Apple TV, while screen mirroring can come in handy for playing games and using other apps from your mobile device on a larger screen.

To stream audio or video, your device must be on the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV. You must also be signed into the same iCloud account across the board. Here's how to set up and use everything AirPlay has to offer.

AirPlay Compatibility

Apple released an updated version of its technology in 2018 called AirPlay 2, which vastly improved its capabilities and introduced additional features. AirPlay 2 works with virtually any iPhone model, from the iPhone 5s and SE to the current iPhone lineup. It also supports all iPads starting with the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2, and it's accessible on the latest iPod touch models.

On the receiving end, AirPlay 2 works with Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD with tvOS 11.4 or later, as well as a number of smart TVs. Second- or third-gen Apple TV devices still work with the original version of AirPlay.

Set Up AirPlay on Your Apple TV

On your Apple TV, go to Settings > AirPlay and HomeKit. Enable AirPlay if it’s not already turned on. You can then set up security measures for accessing AirPlay. Select Allow Access, then choose the type of access you want to allow.

Switch It Up: How to Stream, Mirror Content Between Apple Devices With AirPlay

Choose Everyone to let anyone stream or mirror to your Apple TV. Pick Anyone on the Same Network to require them to be on the same Wi-Fi network first. Select Only People Sharing This Home to limit streaming and mirroring to just those in your Apple Family. Your best bet is to allow access to anyone on the same network.

You can opt to require a password to stream content through AirPlay. But as long as your Wi-Fi network is protected with a strong password, this option may be overkill.

You’ll find other settings here to review and possibly change. Select Also Allow Nearby to AirPlay if you want nearby devices that are not connected to your network to use AirPlay. Choose Conference Room Display to make the Apple TV show instructions on using AirPlay when in screen saver mode. The AirPlay Display Underscan option determines how to handle cropping when you display the screen of your Mac on your Apple TV. You can keep this at Auto.

Choose Room to assign the Apple TV to the Bedroom, Living Room, Game Room, or other area of the house, which will help you identify the correct device if you have multiple Apple TVs in your home.

Set Up AirPlay on Your Mac

Enable AirPlay on your Mac under System Preferences > Sharing. Check the box for AirPlay Receiver. You can then allow AirPlay for the current user, for anyone on the same network, or from everyone. You can also require a password if necessary.

Stream or Mirror From Your iPhone or iPad

To stream content from an iOS/iPadOS device to an Apple TV, you have a couple of options.

Open Control Center and tap the AirPlay icon on the upper right of the playback control. Select the name of the Apple TV through which you want to stream the audio or video. You can now play, pause, go forward, go back, and otherwise control your music from your iOS/iPadOS device. To disconnect your device from the Apple TV, tap the entry for iPhone or iPad.

There is another way to stream if you're in the middle of watching or listening. With the Apple Music app open and playing a song, for example, navigate to the Now Playing screen, tap the AirPlay icon, and select the Apple TV or Mac to push the media to the appropriate destination.

This also works for Apple's Podcasts and Books apps, as well as third-party apps like Amazon Video, Hulu, Spotify, and YouTube. Just look for the AirPlay icon in the app and switch to your Apple TV. For third-party apps, you may first need to grant them permission to access your local network, which you can do in the Settings app on your device.

Instead of pushing audio or video to Apple TV or Mac, you can mirror the screen of your mobile device on your Apple TV or Mac. Set this up by opening Control Center on your device, tapping the Screen Mirroring icon, and selecting your Apple TV or Mac as the destination.

Once mirroring has been enabled, rev up a game, streaming app, or browser window to view and use it on the bigger screen of your Apple TV or Mac. End mirroring by opening Control Center again, tapping the Screen Mirroring icon, and selecting the Stop Mirroring option.

Stream or Mirror From a Mac to an Apple TV

If you want to stream audio from a Mac to an Apple TV, click the sound icon on the Mac's menu bar and change the destination to your Apple TV. Open an audio app, such as iTunes, and the sound should automatically pipe through your Apple TV. If you want to stream video from your Mac to an Apple TV, open an app, such as Apple's TV app, and click the AirPlay icon in the app. Select your Apple TV as the destination.

To mirror content from your Mac to an Apple TV, click the Screen Mirroring icon on the Mac's menu bar and select your Apple TV. The computer's desktop will be visible on the television. You can now open any app on your Mac and see it on the big screen.