With the unstoppable rise of smart TVs, connecting your Android phone or iPhone to your TV is easier than ever. There is no longer a need for external gadgets or clunky cables (though those still work too) – for the most part you can easily beam movies, share photos, and even transfer data between the two.
In fact, there are so many ways to connect your phone to your TV that we’ve decided to list them, giving you the details you need on how best to connect your phone with your TV, depending on what exactly you want to do.
Casting – For Streaming Videos, Movies and Photos
The simplest way to beam YouTube, Netflix, Google Photos and other key media apps from your phone to your TV is by using Chromecast, though for this to work, your smart TV will need to have Chromecast built in, a device with Chromecast built in (such as certain set-top boxes), or a Chromecast dongle plugged in. All modern Android TVs have built-in Chromecast.
To cast using Chromecast, simply look for the Cast icon in the app that you’re using, tap it, then select your TV. You’ll need to be on the same network as the TV for this to work.
iPhone users can also use AirPlay to stream video and audio to their TVs. However, you’ll need to have a TV with AirPlay built in or an Apple TV device connected to your TV. At that point, look for the AirPlay icon in the app you want to stream from, then tap it to stream to your TV.
If you don’t have AirPlay or Chromecast, there are various generic solutions like Wi-Fi Direct, while certain smart TV makers have their own methods – such as Samsung’s SmartThings app.
For a whole bunch of apps designed to stream your in-home media library between devices, see our list of the best DLNA streaming apps for Android.
HDMI Cables – Direct Connection and Top Quality
If you have content on your phone that you want to directly beam or mirror to your TV (Smart or regular HD TV), then using a cable is a slightly more old-school method.
Android users can buy a USB-C-HDMI cable, capable of outputting up to 4K resolution, while iPhone folk can buy the equivalent iPhone-to-HDMI cable. Note that if you want to output 4K video at 60Hz, your TV will need to be HDMI 2.0-compatible, and you’ll need to use an HDMI 2.0 cable.
USB Cables and Third-Party Apps – For Data Transfer
If you’re looking to do more than just beam your phone screen to your TV and actually want to transfer data between your phone/iPhone and TV, there are a few options for you.
The first, and most basic, method is to use a USB cable. (This should work with all smart TVs and more modern “dumb” HD TVs.) Your phone-charging cable should work, but if it doesn’t, then that may be because the cable isn’t a “data” cable and doesn’t have the capability of transferring data. If you’re buying a USB cable, make sure it’s a data cable like this one.
Also use the blue USB 3 port on your TV if it has one. Data transfer will be much faster( that way.
When you connect your Android phone to your TV via USB, pull down the notification menu from the top of the screen and make sure you’ve selected the “Data Transfer” or “MTP” option.
Once you’ve plugged your phone in via USB, it should appear as a source on your TV (possibly labeled “USB”). Go to that, and you should be able to access your phone’s contents.
Again, there are plenty of third-party options that can let you wirelessly send files between your phone and TV. Send Files to TV (Android/Android TV) and File Transfer App (iOS) are just two examples of apps that will do the job.