AirPlay & apps that connect iPad, iPhone, Mac & Apple TV

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Apple and third-party developers have created multiple ways to connect the screens in your house. Apple has solutions for the four most important screens you own and there are ways to connect just about all of them over your wireless network.

AirPlay Mirroring

AirPlay from an iPad or iPhone to Apple TV or a Mac

AirPlay lets you stream what’s on your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or computer to your TV and speakers via Apple TV. You can even mirror exactly what’s on your display to your TV. To utilize AirPlay Mirroring you will need an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 (and later) with iOS 5 and later
Apple TV (2nd or 3rd generation) with software version 5.0 or later.

You can also use AirPlay Mirroring from your Mac to your Apple TV if you have a 2011 or newer Mac with Mountain Lion installed. For those who have Windows or older Macs, you can use a third-party app called AirParrot. You can install the AirParrot application on your computer, then mirror the display to your Apple TV. You can download and test the app for free. The full version can be purchased for $9.99.

Control your computer from an iPad with a VNC app

VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a desktop sharing system that allows you to remotely control another computer. The iPad is an excellent VNC tool and there are a ton of VNC apps that will not only display your computers screen on your iPad, but you can control the computer as well. VNC apps can be pricey, that’s why I recommend trying a free lite version first. Mocha VNC lite is a good choice and the full version is a reasonable $5.99.

AirPlay Mirror an iPad or iPhone to a computer with Reflection

While AirPlay will send audio and video from iOS devices or a Mac to Apple TV, it won’t send that content to another computer. However, there’s a third-party solution for that. Reflection will let you wirelessly mirror your iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or iPad 3 to your Mac or PC.

I’m not sure how much of a demand there is for mirroring your iOS device to a computer, but it could be useful for demos and recording tutorials. The Reflection app has a free trial and the full version can be purchased for $14.99.

Using your iOS device as a remote

In addition to sending audio and video to other devices, there are some great apps that will let you control your computer or TV with your iPhone or iPad. Apple provides a free Remote app for controlling your Apple TV and computer with your iOS device. You may also want to try the Rowmote app. It will allow you to control your Mac or Apple TV with a ton of options.

iCloud

iCloud is another way Apple is connecting your devices wirelessly. With iCloud you can access music, photos, documents, contacts, calendars and more on your different Apple products. Apple’s integrated approach is a brilliant business strategy because once you buy one Apple product, why not go with Apple on your next gadget.