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Home > How To > Why doesn't Apple support Miracast on Mac and iOS?
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Why doesn't Apple support Miracast on Mac and iOS?

Why doesn't Apple support Miracast on Mac and iOS?

By  Adan Flannigan 2019-08-22 8186 0

Most Mac, iPhone and iPad users were interested in the possibility of projecting, wirelessly, the image of their device on a large external screen. Unfortunately, however, Apple products do not support this technology. What's more, it's highly probable that the company will continue to keep its distance in the future. How come? Is it possible to fix it?

Why doesn't Apple support Miracast on Mac and iOS 

Why doesn't Apple support Miracast?

It is mainly commercial, non-technical reasons that drive the decision not to support Miracast. Apple is pushing its own wireless screen projection solution: AirPlay. It is a complete and proprietary network stack that the Cupertino giant uses to create an ideal ecosystem for use "in the living room": with Mac/iPhone/iPad at the source, Apple TV as the receiver and AirPlay to link them, the user can project on the big screen while remaining within the Apple platform.

AirPlay, however, is also licensed to third-party manufacturers: this means that Bose, Yamaha, Philips, Pioneer, Sony and many others have in their catalog high-end sound systems that can be used to broadcast music without the need for physical connection. AirPlay boasts a rather high quality level and a remarkable simplicity of setup (a Wi-Fi network is required, but not Internet access). If the source is relatively recent, the entire screen can be projected (AirPlay Mirroring) and not only the programs prepared.

In short: Apple is doing an excellent technical/commercial job to encourage users to stay within their ecosystem, and AirPlay is another piece of this strategy: if you already have an iPhone, AirPlay (and, specifically, Apple TV as a receiver) is the only "official" way to bring the contents of the phone on the big screen ... and, while we are there, is also exploitable by Mac or iPad: an extra incentive to complete the "collection".

Indeed, streaming audio/video content to AirPlay receivers is also possible under Windows... but the result is very modest: it is mandatory to use iTunes (or, for audio, unofficial software such as Airfoil for Windows), and, however, full screen replication is reserved for OS X and iOS: software such as AirParrot promises to circumvent the limitation, but it is clear that this is not the optimal user experience. Similar speech to broadcast from Android: AirSync is a satisfactory third-party solution, but the net result remains lower than the native support offered by iOS.

Why doesn't Apple support Miracast on Mac and iOS​ 

Alternatives to AirPlay

Chromecast and the dedicated boxes based on WHDI and the like try to break the golden cage in which Apple wants to imprison its audience. As already argued, however, these are solutions, respectively, very limiting or rather expensive.

Miracast remains the big exception: Apple doesn't support it natively and there are no third party applications suitable for this purpose, probably because of hardware requirements: although recent Macs have Intel Core 4th generation processors ("Haswell", whose integrated GPU is already equipped with Miracast native support) like those of traditional Windows PCs, the wireless card ("AirPort Extreme card") is not compatible... and, anyway, a technically very complex driver level integration would be needed that, as such, would be economically very unattractive for independent developers. In the iOS environment, the issue is similar, but with the added complexity of not even having support on the GPU.

Which one to choose?

Ultimately, those who have chosen iOS and/or OS X and want to project on a wireless external screen do not have many truly functional ways:

● Accepting Chromecast and all its limitations

● Buy a pair of (expensive) WHDI-based boxes (really impractical when combined with a mobile device)

● Get Apple TV and broadcast with AirPlay

Of all, the last is undoubtedly the best choice in terms of price, benefits and comfort. I applaud Apple for having achieved the goal and created a technical / commercial system absolutely brilliant for those who already had chosen one of its products.


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