How to Mirror Android to a PC or Laptop
With so many devices that people use on a daily basis, wanting to connect them with each other seems the most natural thing to do. Depending on the combination of devices you have, this can be a pretty straightforward task. Unfortunately, some device combinations might require more effort.
Such is the case if you want to mirror your Android device to a computer. Although this might seem like an obvious feature, it actually is not. Luckily, there are ways you can do this, and once you install all the necessary apps, the process becomes a piece of cake.
Preparing Your Android Device for Mirroring
Before you start mirroring your Android to a desktop computer or laptop, you need to set a couple of options on your mobile device.
The first step is to enable Android’s Developer Options.
- Open Settings on your Android device.
- Scroll to the bottom and tap About phone.
- Tap Build number five times in a row.
- You might have to confirm this action by entering your preferred security method. That can be a PIN, pattern, or fingerprint scan.
- With that done, you will see the notification that you have successfully enabled the Developer Mode on your device.
Next, it is time to enable USB debugging.
- Again, open Settings on your Android.
- Tap System & updates.
- Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap Developer options.
- Scroll down to the Debugging section. It is the first section after the first few options at the top. Locate the USB debugging option and tap the toggle switch next to it.
- Android will now ask you if you are sure you want to do this. Confirm by tapping OK.
Now you are ready to proceed with setting up the mirroring feature for your computer.
How to Mirror an Android Phone to a Windows PC
Mirroring your Android device to a Windows computer is possible through various dedicated apps. Although Windows 10 does have an option that allows you to do this, this does not work with every Android smartphone or tablet.
By far the best and most simple of the available apps is scrcpy. Although it only allows for a wired connection, it is super simple to use. You can download it on GitHub, one of the most popular online services for developers. To do so, follow the steps below.
- Open a web browser on your computer then go to the scrcpy page on GitHub.
- Scroll down to the Get the App section.
- In the Windows subsection, you will see the download link for the .zip archive. It looks something like this: scrcpy-win64-v1.16.zip. Of course, the last few numbers will depend on the version that is currently available.
- Click the link to download the .zip file.
Once the file downloads, it is time to extract it.
- Open the folder where you have downloaded the scrcpy .zip file.
- Right-click the file then click Extract files…
- The Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders window appears. Click Browse to choose the destination for the extracted files. You can also create a new folder dedicated to the scrcpy app. Once you choose the location, you can also tick the Show extracted files when complete checkbox, simply for convenience.
- Now you can navigate to the location where you want the files to appear.
- Double-click the adb.exe file to install Android ADB tools. This is done in the background, so you will not see any feedback on the screen when the installation completes. It usually takes Windows about a second or two to complete this action.
With your Android device ready for mirroring and having installed scrcpy to your computer, it is time to connect the two.
- Connect your Android device and computer using a USB cable.
- Double-click the csrcpy.exe file from the scrcpy folder to start it.
- Depending on your security settings, Windows might notify you that you are about to run an unrecognized app. To continue, first click More info, and then Run anyway.
- If your mobile device asks you whether you should allow USB debugging, tap Allow. To prevent this pop-up from appearing in the future, you can also tap Always allow from this computer.
- Once that is done, the scrcpy window will appear, showing the screen of your Android device.
That is it. This super-simple app works like a charm. Now you can use your keyboard and mouse to control your Android device. This allows you to start apps, type messages, view your photo gallery, and even play mobile games on the large screen. What is more, by simply dragging and dropping files onto the scrcpy window you can essentially copy anything from your computer to your Android device.
Of course, like any other window, you can also resize, maximize, restore, and close the scrcpy app. If you want to see your Android device in full screen, just press Ctrl+F on your keyboard at the same time.
How to Mirror an Android Phone to a Mac
Luckily, the highly convenient screen mirroring app scrcpy is available for Mac OS X devices as well. Unlike Windows computers where you simply download a .zip file and unpack it, Mac does it differently. To use scrcpy, you will have to install the Homebrew app first.
- Open Finder on your Mac.
- Click Applications from the menu to the left. If this option is not visible, simply press Command+A on your keyboard.
- From the Applications list, open Utilities.
- Finally, start the Terminal app.
- Now select the entire command line below and copy it:
/bin/bash -c “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)”
- Now paste the command line to Terminal and hit Enter on your keyboard. Please allow 10 to 15 minutes for Homebrew to install.
- Once the installation is complete, it’s time to install Android ADB tools. To do so, type in or copy/paste the following command to Terminal and press Enter:
brew cask install android-platform-tools
- Finally, it is time to install the scrcpy app. Again, you do it by typing in a command line to Terminal and pressing Enter.
brew install scrcpy
- Now wait for the installation to complete, and you are ready for the next phase.
To establish the connection between Android and Mac OS X, follow the steps below.
- Connect your Android device to your Mac computer using a USB cable.
- The USB Debugging notification will appear on Android, so tap Allow to continue. You can also tap Always allow from this computer” so this pop-up doesn’t appear the next time you connect your Android device to this computer.
- In Terminal on Mac, type scrcpy (without the hyphens) to start the application.
Finally, you’re now able to mirror your Android’s screen on your Mac OS X computer or laptop.
How to Mirror an Android Phone to a Chromebook
Unfortunately, Chromebook users do not have the benefit of using the scrcpy app to mirror their Androids. Luckily, there are many third-party apps that can help with that. One of the most popular of such apps is Reflector 3. Although this is not a free app, it does the job extremely well.
To start using it, follow the steps below.
- Install the “Reflector 3” app from their website to both your Android device and your Chromebook.
- Connect both devices to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Start the app on both devices.
- On your Android Reflector 3 app, tap the menu button in the top-left corner of the screen.
- Tap “Cast Screen/Audio.”
- Now you should see the list of available devices for mirroring, including your Chromebook. Tap its entry to proceed.
- Finally, you should see your Android device’s screen on your Chromebook.
Do I have to mirror my entire screen or can just part of my screen be mirrored?
The solutions you can find in this article allow you to mirror the entire screen of your Android device. Essentially any mirroring app you can find will do so but without an option to choose which portion of the screen will appear on your computer.
Of course, you can look for apps that allow you to cast content from your Android. This way you do not have to show your phone’s screen on a computer for others to see. Instead, you can start a video, slideshow, or a presentation on your Android device and cast only that content to a computer.
Do I need to have Wi-Fi to mirror Android to another device?
No, you do not need Wi-Fi to start mirroring. Apps similar to scrcpy let you use the mirroring feature by connecting your devices using a USB cable. So you do not need a Wi-Fi connection at all.
Conversely, there are apps that allow you to mirror your Android to a computer over Wi-Fi. Although this seems like a more convenient way to mirror, each app comes with its quirks. For some, you will have to pay if you do not want ads to ruin your experience. Others may have cumbersome interfaces to navigate through. In the end, nothing beats the scrcpy app for its simplicity and base functionality. And it is completely free.
Mirroring Done the Easy Way
Hopefully, now you know how to mirror your Android devices to a Windows 10, Mac, or Chromebook computer. Using the scrcpy app, this process becomes really simple. Although the setup might seem cumbersome, the step-by-step instructions you can find in this article will definitely help a lot. And with the Reflector 3 app, although it is not free, you will only need two installations to set it all up.
Have you managed to mirror your Android to a computer? Which mirroring app you find the most useful? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.