Most iDevice owners are aware that you need an Apple TV to mirror screen content on your TV; however you can just as easy stream from an iPhone to a PC.
A few years back, Apple defined a wireless communication protocol called AirPlay. It allows users to wirelessly stream audio and video content to a TV or compatible audio system from any Apple Device.
There is however a bold limitation of the protocol. Although any Apple gadgets are able to stream data through AirPlay protocol, when it comes to receiving media, only a second, third and fourth generation Apple TV is able to acquire the signal and process it. There are also a few audio systems that are AirPlay enabled – however it still limits the usage to audio content and no video.
Alternative to AirPlay
Fortunately, there is a viable alternative out there, as you are about to see below. It works both on PC and Mac systems, and it barely requires any configuration.
The system is fairly easy to use: download an app, install then run it whenever you want to mirror your iPhone or iPad screen to your Windows computer. The only prerequisite is that both devices are part of the same wireless network. While the system works in any circumstances, it is best used when you have an HTPC permanently connected to a TV but you occasionally want to slideshow your holiday pics without untangling any wires.
Before anything, download and install LonelyScreen on your computer; you can get the app from LonelyScreen.com. It’s free and takes just a few megabytes of hard drive space. Installation process is as straightforward as it gets – no adware is installed alongside. Click Next, Next, then Finish. Finally wait a few seconds for the installation to finish.
On first run, you might get a confirmation message asking you to allow LonelyScreen go past your firewall. Just check “Private networks, such as my home or work network” and confirm your choice by clicking Allow Access. If by mistake you clicked Cancel instead of Allow Access, you can try again by clicking the “Fix it” button inside the LonelyScreen Airplay receiver. Press Yes in the window that will pop up and you are done.
Obviously, the name of the AirPlay receiver you have just installed is by default LonelyScreen. To change it, double click on the “LonelyScreen” text from the black box of the app (check the screenshot at the beginning of this tutorial); insert a new name and press Save.
After you have successfully installed LonelyScreen on your Pc or Mac and defined a name for the AirPlay receiver, you just need to activate AirPlay protocol on your iPhone or iPad.
Swipe upwards from the frame of the terminal to access Control Center menu. Check the lower right corner and select the AirPlay menu. Tap the name of your previously installed receiver – from this point on, everything your phone displays will be streamed to your PC or Mac.
To disable mirroring, follow the exact same steps and check Phone instead of LonelyScreen at the end.
There is virtually no restriction when it comes to AirPlay compatible content. Various connectivity issues (performance, synchronization) are more likely to be caused by your wireless network rather than the app itself. The app worked flawlessly during my tests.
To better simulate the AppleTV experience, you may want to display LonelyScreen on the entire screen your computer. You can still close the AirPlay receptor at any time by click the X on the top right of the screen, cancelling the mirroring process.