How To Mirror a Mac to a Roku Device
Are you tired of watching movies on your tiny Mac screen? Or maybe you’re taking a break from subscribing to streaming platforms, and your Roku device seems to be collecting dust.
Whatever the reason, mirroring your Mac to a Roku device can help elevate the quality of your media entertainment. You can use it to stream directly from your collection of stored shows and music, watch vacation photos, or even give yourself an advantage when working on complex designs or massive chunks of code.
Here’s what you need to know about mirroring a Mac screen to any Roku device.
Mirroring a Mac to a Roku Device Using AirPlay
AirPlay is a very useful feature of modern Apple devices. Combined with HomeKit, it can be used to mirror whatever you’re watching on your Mac screen to a Roku device.
However, there are some requirements. First, you must ensure that you’re working with a macOS version of at least 10.14.5. Secondly, you should check the compatibility of your Roku device to ensure it can support HomeKit and AirPlay.
Once you figure that out and everything is in order, there are five steps you need to take.
- Connect your Roku device and Mac to the same wireless network.
- Open AirPlay on your Mac.
- Bring up the Control Center.
- Select Screen Mirroring.
- Select your Roku device from the list.
Typically, this process shouldn’t take more than a few seconds if you have a good connection.
Note that you might need to type an AirPlay passcode on your Mac before you can proceed. The passcode is generated and displayed on the Roku device’s screen if the connection is established.
Enable AirPlay on Your Roku Device
Since compatible Roku devices have AirPlay as a built-in feature, enabling it is fairly simple.
- Go to your Roku device’s home screen.
- Go to Settings.
- Select Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.
- Turn AirPlay to On.
You may also want to change the Require Code field to First Time Only to prevent having to type a passcode every time you want to mirror your Mac to that Roku device.
Mirroring a Mac to a Roku Device Without AirPlay
AirPlay is a built-in feature that works wonderfully if you have compatible devices. But that doesn’t mean mirroring a Mac to a Roku device isn’t possible when using older models or macOS versions.
Apple may not have anything for this, but there are third-party solutions.
Mirroring a Mac With AirBeamTV
AirBeamTV is a paid app with mirroring and casting capabilities. It’s fairly easy to set up, and despite having some video delay compared to AirPlay, it doesn’t suffer from audio lag.
This makes it a good choice for streaming, but less impressive for productivity and work-related activities.
Here’s how to use AirBeamTV with Mac and Roku devices.
- Put your Mac and Roku devices on the same network.
- Install the Mirror for Roku channel on your Roku device.
- Launch AirBeamTV on your Mac.
- Select your Roku in the Target device list.
- Select the Mirror Mac Screen option.
- Enable the Enable Sound on TV option if you want audio to come from the TV speakers.
- Check the box next to the Scale Display to Fit the TV Screen option to prevent stretching or shrinking.
- Hit the Start Mirroring button.
- Alternatively, manually launch the Mirror for Roku channel and click the Start Mirroring option.
If the channel is installed on your Roku device and your Mac is on the same network, the “Mirror for Roku” channel should open automatically and begin mirroring your Mac screen in a few seconds.
Mirroring a Mac With JustStream
JustStream is another third-party alternative to mirror your Mac to a Roku device, especially when dealing with macOS incompatibility issues or an older Roku model.
Using the app requires following a few simple steps.
- Install JustStream on your Mac.
- Connect your Roku to the same network as your Mac.
- Launch the app from the “Menu Bar.”
- Select the display you want to mirror from the “Screens” list.
- Hit the streaming device icon.
- Select your Roku device and add the 4-digit code.
JustStream has a free version and a paid version. If you stick with the free one, your mirroring will stop after 20 minutes. You can reconnect and use the app indefinitely for free if you don’t mind interruptions every 20 minutes.
The paid version of the app eliminates the time limitation. Note that JustStream only works with smart TVs and won’t be compatible with all Roku devices.
Mirroring a Mac with an HDMI Cable
If you keep your Mac and Roku devices next to each other, there’s no need to use apps to mirror the screen. Using a cable connection is a great way to eliminate video lag and ensure smooth playback.
You can connect your Mac to your Roku TV with an HDMI cable. On models with Mini DisplayPorts, you might require an additional adapter to support both video and audio streaming.
Setting Up the Fast Start Feature
Roku TVs and Roku Streambars won’t always remain connected to the wireless network if you power them off. This can cause some issues with AirPlay and HomeKit, and potentially force you to go through a longer mirroring setup every time you want to mirror your Mac screen.
Enabling one option will help avoid this.
- Go to your home screen on your Roku TV or Streambar.
- Enter the Settings menu.
- Go to System.
- Select Power.
- Enable the Fast TV start feature for your Roku TV.
- Enable the Fast start feature for your Roku Streambar.
This keeps Roku players powered and connected because it overrides the normal power settings. If you don’t want a constant power draw, disabling these options will make your devices more power-efficient and eco-friendly.
Why is the AirPlay icon missing?
There are two reasons the AirPlay icon might be missing. Perhaps your Mac doesn’t support it, in which case, it won’t appear. The other reason is that the feature could be disabled.
To make the icon appear on compatible devices, you’ll want to go to System Preferences under the Displays section. Enable the option Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available. This should make the AirPlay icon visible and allow you to connect to a compatible Roku device.
Can you play a single media file using AirPlay?
AirPlay is a service that supports mirroring and casting. Thus, it’s possible to stream a single file from your Mac to your Roku device. This is a great alternative to mirroring because it allows you to perform other activities on your Mac at the same time as streaming music, movies, shows, and other content on the big screen.
Streaming Made Easy
Roku devices are a great alternative to the more expensive Apple TVs, especially when you want to cast or mirror the screen of a Mac, iPhone, or iPad. While there are some incompatibility issues regarding older Rokus and macOS versions, you don’t always have to use the in-house mirroring app, AirPlay.
Sure, it’s the best in terms of performance, but plenty of third-party workarounds perform just fine and are compatible with more devices and macOS versions.
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below when using AirPlay versus third-party solutions and any other alternatives you found to be reliable.