3 Ways to Share an iPad Screen on a Mac

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Ben Jacklin Edited by Ben Jacklin

Wondering how to mirror your iPad to a MacBook? In this article, we will show you three different ways to share an iPad screen on a Mac, from free to paid methods.

Program

Best for

Type of program

AirPlay

Best for quick screen sharing

Built-in feature, a wireless method

Reflector

Best to screen-mirror an iPad to a Mac

Third-party paid app, a wireless method

QuickTime Player

Workaround for older Macs

Built-in feature, a wired method

If you're looking for a reliable and easy-to-use screen recorder for your Mac, we recommend Movavi Screen Recorder. Not only does Movavi Screen Recorder let you capture your screen in HD quality, but you can also choose to record audio from your computer or microphone. This is great for adding narration to your screencasts, tutorials, or other projects. Plus, Movavi Screen Recorder comes with a wide range of output formats so that you can save your recordings in the format that best suits your needs.

Use AirPlay for an iPad-to-Mac screen share

Apple's AirPlay wireless standard allows devices like Apple TV and HomePod to transmit audio and video to one another. Now that macOS Monterey is out, users can simply convert their MacBook Pro or Air into an AirPlay server, allowing you to seamlessly stream your iPhone or iPad screen on your Mac. Keep in mind that not all Macs and iPads support this feature. Check the list below to see the compatible devices:

Mac

  • 2018 MacBook Air/Pro or later

  • 2019 Mac Pro

  • 2020 Mac mini

iPad

  • iPad Air (3rd generation) or later

  • iPad Pro (2nd generation) or later

  • iPad (6th generation) or later

  • iPad mini (5th generation) or later

The first way to screen-share an iPad to a Mac is to use Apple's AirPlay feature. With this method, you'll need an iPad and a Mac that are both connected to the same Wi-Fi network. This method allows Apple users to wirelessly share audio, video, and photos between devices. Think of AirPlay as the Apple counterpart to Google's Chromecast.

While AirPlay is a quick and easy way to display iPad screens on a Mac, it has some limitations. The mirrored screen can be a bit laggy and choppy through AirPlay, as it isn’t set up to stream iPad screens in high quality.

To use AirPlay for an iPad-to-MacBook screen share, follow these simple steps:

  1. On your iPad, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center

  2. Tap the AirPlay button – it looks like a small TV screen. 

  3. Select your Mac from the list of devices. 

  4. The iPad screen will now be mirrored on your Mac.

To stop the AirPlay iPad-to-Mac screen share, simply tap the AirPlay button once again and select Disconnect. The cast will stop, and you will no longer be able to view the iPad screen on your Mac.

How to screen-mirror your iPad to a Mac with Reflector

Reflector is a screen-mirroring and file-sharing program. In order to screen-mirror and broadcast without the use of extra hardware, Reflector connects to your devices via the Google Cast, Miracast, and AirPlay protocols. By following these steps, you can use Reflector to mirror an iPad to a Mac.

  1. First, download and install Reflector from the Squirrels website.
    Go to the Squirrels website

  2. Next, open Reflector and click on the + sign in the bottom left corner of the window.

  3. Under Device Type, select Apple.

  4. Under Model, select your iPad.

  5. Make sure that your iPad and Mac are on the same network.

  6. Select your iPad from the list and click the Connect button.

Finally, click the blue Mirror button in the bottom-right corner of the window.

In order to stop screen-mirroring your iPad to a MacBook, you can either disconnect the devices or click on the Stop Mirroring button in the bottom-right corner of the program window.

How to screen-share an iPad to a Mac using QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a built-in program on Macs that allows users to share an iPad screen to a Mac. To use it, follow these steps: 

1. Connect your iPad to your Mac using a USB cable. 

2. Open QuickTime on your Mac. 

3. Click the File menu and select New Screen Recording

4. Select your iPad from the list of devices. 

5. Click the Record button and start screen sharing your iPad on a Mac.

6. To stop sharing, click the Stop button in the QuickTime toolbar.

Summary

Sharing your iPad to a Mac was once a complicated and frustrating task – but thankfully, technology has come a long way since then. There are plenty of simple methods you can use to view your iPad screen on a Mac.

The easiest way is to use AirPlay; Apple has created a seamless method that takes only a few moments to set up. It has its limitations, however. If you want a more robust solution, you can use Reflector or QuickTime Player. 

Here are the take-home points to keep in mind:

  • Usability: Ensure that a method you choose is easy to use. For example, when using some apps, the mirrored screen can be a bit laggy and choppy.

  • Features: Make sure that a method you select has all necessary features. For example, Reflector allows you to mirror an iPad to a Mac without the use of extra hardware or software.

  • Price: You can choose a free solution, like AirPlay or QuickTime Player, or choose a paid option, like Reflector.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use my iMac as a screen for my iPad?

Target Display Mode is a feature of macOS Mojave that allows you to use your iMac as a second screen for an iPad. To enable it, follow these simple steps:

  1. On your iPad, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center

  2. Tap the Screen Mirroring button that looks like a small TV screen. 

  3. Select your iMac from the list of devices. 

  4. The iPad screen will now be mirrored on your iMac.

Why can't I mirror my iPad to my MacBook Pro?

There are a few possible reasons why you might not be able to mirror your iPad to your MacBook Pro. First, make sure that both devices are on the same network. Next, check that your iPad and MacBook are turned on and near each other.

If you were prompted to enter a password, that means that there's restriction on the sharing of screens. Adjust the settings on your MacBook by going to System Preferences > Sharing.

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