AirPlay/Apple TV Best Practices

Using AirPlay to mirror your Mac's display to an Apple TV is a convenient, flexible way of displaying content wirelessly. Here are a few best practices in order to get the best experience out of using AirPlay. 

Using AirPlay

How to enable AirPlay

To mirror your Mac's display to an Apple TV, click on the AirPlay icon in the taskbar on the top of your screen.


Select your desired Apple TV from the list. You can find the name of the Apple TV on the TV/projector. Your display will then be mirrored on the Apple TV after entering a passcode.

AirPlay and Audio/Video Playback

Mirroring your MacBook desktop is great for presentations, slideshows, websites, and more. However mirroring your desktop while playing audio or video can be problematic, including issues such as freezing, stuttering, and audio cutting out.

Follow these best practices to show a video on an Apple TV using AirPlay:

Option 1: Use your iPad

When AirPlaying a video using an iPad, especially with YouTube, the Apple TV "takes over" and plays the video directly when the video is playing in fullscreen. Please note that you need to use the iPad's Safari browser or the proper video app (such as YouTube) for this to work.

Option 2: On your Mac, look for the AirPlay icon in your video player

When playing a video from your Mac, some video players have an AirPlay icon that allows the Apple TV to "take over" and play the video independently of your Mac. On a YouTube video, for example, click the AirPlay icon in the video toolbar (screenshot below). Please note this will only work when using the Safari browser. 


  • Closing out unused apps or browser tabs can help free up memory. AirPlay uses a significant amount your computer's memory, and closing up tabs or apps can help.
  • Use Safari. AirPlay within browsers is not available in third-party options such as Chrome and Firefox. 
  • Use an iPad. iPads prioritize video mirroring more than Macs and can uniquely hand off video to the Apple TV.
  • Use a wired connection. Some videos can be too large to effectively stream wirelessly, or your may need to have multiple apps and browser tabs open at the same time, so using an HDMI or VGA cable can sometimes be the most effective option. This can be especially true in high-density areas with many devices in one space.