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How to use AirPlay on Roku to stream content

Roku TVs, soundbars, and streaming devices offer some of the most affordable and versatile options for accessing countless hours of movies, TV shows, games, and other Roku exclusives. And when it comes to compatibility, Roku is becoming much more far-reaching than the brand has in the past, especially with the integration of wireless handshaking through interactive tools like Apple's AirPlay 2.

If you're the proud owner of an iOS device or Mac computer, you may be wondering just how well your Roku hardware and mobile device or laptop play together. Whether you're new to the world of AirPlay 2 or want to know everything there is to know about using AirPlay 2 with your Roku gear, we've put together this explainer to walk you through the many ins and outs of Apple's proprietary "casting" system.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • An AirPlay-compatible Roku device or Roku TV

  • Internet connection

  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 12.3 or later

  • Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14.5 or later

Roku Express 4K+.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Make sure your hardware is compatible

While most Roku TVs and players support AirPlay, there are a few straggler models that didn’t make the cut. Fortunately, Roku has broken down exactly which hardware is ready-set for AirPlay 2 handshaking. Ideally, your Roku gear should be running on OS 11 for the best AirPlay 2 support, although a number of devices will perform just fine running on OS 10.

In terms of your Apple hardware, you’ll want to make sure your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch are running iOS 12.3 or later. If you’re doing your casting with a MacBook or iMac, you’ll need to be running MacOS Mojave 10.14.5 or later.

Getting your connections straight

In order for AirPlay 2 casting to work, your Roku and Apple product must be on the same Wi-Fi network. Confirm this by checking the network settings of both devices.

Everything checks out? Next, you’ll want to make sure that your Roku is ready to be cast to.

Step 1: Fire up your Roku. On the home screen, navigate to Settings.

Step 2: Scroll down to Apple AirPlay and HomeKit. If the slider is toggled off, be sure to toggle it on.

Hulu on Roku.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Choose your content to cast

Depending on what source you’ll be using AirPlay 2 through (Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, etc.), the actual button to begin casting will vary based on the content. For example, the iOS Amazon Prime Video app has the AirPlay 2 button at the top-right corner of your chosen film or show.

Step 1: Look for a small rectangle with an up arrow beneath it. Once you tap the Cast button, you’ll be prompted to select the device you want to stream to. Select your compatible Roku and watch as your episode of The Boys gets beamed from your mobile to your TV screen.

Step 2: For Apple Music subscribers, the AirPlay 2 button is located directly below the play/pause command deck of the track you’re listening to. The emblem looks a bit different, too. Instead of the rectangle-arrow combo, look for three small circles with an up arrow perched underneath. Select your Roku when prompted to enjoy AirPlay 2 audio from your TV or soundbar.

iPhone Airplay 2 with arrow pointing to it.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Depending on what app you’re using, an AirPlay 2 button may not be directly available. In these cases, you’ll need to use the app’s built-in casting or share button. For example, after you select YouTube’s casting button, you’ll be prompted to select AirPlay 2 as your casting means. In other cases, you may need to tap the Share icon on your iOS device or Mac to bring up the option for AirPlay casting.

Mirror your device display to your TV

In addition to casting content from audio and video applications, you can also mirror the entire screen of your iOS device or Mac hardware using AirPlay 2.

Step 1: If your hardware of choice is an iPhone or iPad, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen to bring up the device’s Control Center.

Step 2: From the options on-screen, select Screen Mirroring, then choose your compatible Roku device. You may then be prompted to enter an access code, courtesy of your Roku gear. Enter in the number displayed on your TV screen, then watch as your entire mobile display gets cast to your TV.

AirPlay 2 on Mac desktop.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: For desktop hardware, the option to AirPlay is nestled in the MacOS Control Center, located at the top-right corner of the screen (the icon is two toggle bars). Choose the icon, then select Screen mirroring, then select your compatible Roku device. Enter the TV screen code if one pops up. Your desktop screen should then be cast to your TV. That’s all there is to it.

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Michael Bizzaco
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