Want to know all your options to connect phone to projector? Check out this helpful guide!
Projectors are versatile tools that connect devices like laptops, DVD players, game consoles, and other devices to a new world of consuming content. A big screen can make all the difference when watching movies or sharing photos.
You might want to connect your phone to a projector but aren’t quite sure how to do it. So we’ll show you multiple ways how to connect a phone to a projector. We’ve included wired and wireless options so you can pick the most convenient method.
Two Methods to Connect Phone to a Projector
There are two ways to connect a smartphone to a projector. You can wirelessly connect using Wi-Fi connections or you need a wire/adapter.
The wireless option is the easiest method of connecting a smartphone to a projector. As you’re connecting to the projector wirelessly, you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding the right cables to use.
Most modern projectors already have wireless connectivity options. All you need to connect a projector to your phone is a Wi-Fi connection. When connected, the projector will project the phone’s screen, known as screen mirroring.
Projectors can also screencast to easily load videos/content on your projector wirelessly.
You can connect a projector to both Android phones and iPhones. Methods on the Android system may differ as there are many different Android devices. Apple also has a different method which we’ve detailed below.
Some projectors require the use of specific Android apps for casting/screen mirroring.
The downside is that screen mirroring isn’t always reliable.
Depending on your connection, you may see stutters, lags, and other problems. This also depends on your phone’s capabilities. A highly prevalent issue when screen sharing is audio & video signals don’t sync.
The video moves but you hear the audio a few seconds later. If you experience this, try restarting your router, phone, and projector. A fresh start might fix the problem. Otherwise, try one of the wired options for a stable connection.
In reality, wired connections are the best way to connect the two devices. Since there’s a wire directly transmitting data to the projector, it will work faster and more seamlessly than wireless connections.
There are also multiple cable types you can use depending on your smartphone and projector. A wired connection might be easier than you think. You can use a USB-C cable, HDMI cables, or VGA cable on older projectors.
You might already have the right cable stashed away in your cabinet or behind your projector screen.
Before connecting with wireless or wired, you should check if your projector supports wireless.
Check if your Projector has Wi-Fi Connection Options
It’s easy to check if your projector supports wireless connectivity. You can refer to the projector’s Amazon page or the manufacturer’s website. They always detail the projector’s connectivity options here. You can also refer to the projector’s user manual.
You can also check the projector settings to see if there are options like “Connectivity“, “Wi-Fi“, “Network“, etc. If your projector has a Wi-Fi menu, it can connect wirelessly to your Android phone or iPhone.
Some projectors also have a USB dongle that connects via a USB port for wireless capabilities. Check your user manual or the box it came in. All you need to do is connect the dongle to a USB port on the projector to access wireless capability.
If your projector is 10 years or older, you probably don’t have Wi-Fi capability. Older projectors relied solely on connecting wires like HDMI cable to HDMI port or using old school AV cables.
How to Connect Phone to Projector Wirelessly
Most projectors can connect to an Android device with Chromecast. To connect your phone to a projector, you just need both your devices to be on the same Wi-Fi network.
- On your Android device, download the Google Home app.
- Press the “Accounts” menu on the bottom-right-hand corner.
- Scroll through the menu and click on “Mirror Device“.
When you select this option, there may be a prompt saying the device is not optimized for casting. You will still be able to use your projector to cast your Android device but might have audio/video sync issues.
- Tap on “Cast Screen/Audio“.
Your projector should now be showing your mobile device screen. Once you’ve paired the two, you can open Chrome and other supported apps to cast content from your Android devices.
Newer devices in the Android smartphone market also support Wi-Fi Direct. Wi-Fi Direct devices don’t need any additional software on your smartphone. However, your projector has to be a recent model and support Wi-Fi Direct.
You can check the online listing or your user manual and see if it supports the feature.
- Go into the settings menu on your projector. Set the projector to “Mirroring/Screen Sharing” mode.
- On your Android phone, open your settings and click on “Connections“, “Network“, or “Wi-Fi Settings“.
- Enter the “Wi-Fi” settings and tap on “Wi-Fi Preferences” or “Advanced Options“.
- The tap on “Wi-Fi Direct”.
Your phone will close search for nearby Wi-Fi Direct devices. Once you find the projector, select it and your phone is now connected. Samsung devices have their own built-in Smart View instead of Wi-Fi Direct.
You can access Smart View via the control center or within the settings.
Miracast is the older version featured on mobile devices running Android 6.0 or lower. This has been phased out but some projectors still support Miracast. It works the same way as Wi-Fi Direct as it’s based on the same technology.
The difference is that Miracast requires a 3rd party app rather than built-in support. You just need to download a Miracast app on your phone and follow the instructions.
But you can do this if your Android phone is on an older version of Android.
AirPlay works the same way as Chromecast on Android. This also works if you have an Apple TV box at home. Instead of connecting to the projector, you can connect your iPhone to the Apple TV to stream content.
To use AirPlay, your projector needs to support the feature. You’ll need to check the online listing or projector manual.
The steps are similar to Chromecast and require your projector and iPhone to be connected on the same Wi-Fi network.
- Turn your projector to “Mirroring/Screen Sharing” mode.
- Swipe down on the top-right-hand corner to access the Control Center.
- Tap on the Screen Mirroring toggle on the left-hand side of the Control Center.
- Tap on it and search for your projector.
Simply select your projector and it should now be casting your entire screen on your iPhone.
How to Connect Phone to Projector w/ Wired Connection Options
A Chromecast dongle (or alternative wireless streaming device) is an excellent substitute for non-WiFi projectors. You can purchase the dongle for around $30 and plug it into an empty HDMI port.
- Once it’s in the HDMI input, download the Google Home app.
- If you don’t see your Chromecast in the app automatically, tap on the top left-hand corner of the app. There should be a “+” button to add new devices.
- Tap on “Set up Device” and follow the steps to complete your new Chromecast setup.
After this, Chromecast-compatible devices on the same Wi-Fi network can connect for easy screen casting and mirroring.
USB-C to USB-C
In terms of wired connectivity, USB-C port to USB-C port is the easiest to connect smartphones and projectors. Most new Android phones come with a USB-C wire to charge and transfer data.
The caveat here is your projector needs to have a USB-C port. Many modern projectors feature one in their port selection so it’s easy to connect your phone. If it doesn’t, you can try one of the other methods below.
To connect, simply plug in one side of the USB-C wire to your phone, and the other end of the USB-C wire to your projector. A prompt should appear for screen mirroring options.
USB-C to HDMI
If your projector doesn’t have a dedicated USB-C port you can get an HDMI port adapter. Make sure you look for the right adapters because there are many options available. Look for a USB-C to HDMI ports adapter.
You just need to connect the USB-C wire to the HDMI adapter and the HDMI cable to the HDMI connector.
You’ll then see a prompt to start screen sharing. Keep in mind that some Android devices don’t support the Display function.
MHL to HDMI Port
The last option is to connect a mobile high-definition link cable, also known as MHL. These types of cables use Micro-USB which was the standard of older smartphones. However, both your projector and smartphone need to support MHL for this to work.
Refer to your phone’s specifications and projector’s user manual.
If both support the feature, connect the USB to the phone’s Micro-USB slot and to the projector’s MHL port.
Alternatively, you can get an HDMI cable with an MHL adapter for a few extra dollars if your projector doesn’t have an MHL port. We’d recommend getting a new cable that supports MHL for the best results.
Lighting to HDMI Cable
For iPhones, you need to purchase the official Lightning to HDMI adapter for wired connectivity to your iPhone. It’s the same process as the earlier wired methods. Connect the Lighting port to your iPhone, and an HDMI wire to the other end.
Your iPhone should now be casting on the projector after a few prompts.
Can I Connect my Phone to a Projector with a USB Only?
No, you cannot connect a smartphone with just a USB-A wire only. This is because USB ports are used for transferring data and typically don’t allow any type of display functionality. Only USB-C can connect directly to a projector.
Why Does Video Lag When Screen Mirroring with a Phone?
This is because the video is processed and displayed on your phone, but the is transmitting the data as it plays. This can cause distortion and lag as your projector can’t keep up with your phone’s processing.
Are Wired Connections Better than Wireless Connections?
Wired connectivity is better for smooth, fast screen mirroring but is hindered by physical cables. Wireless connectivity is more convenient to use but is slightly lacking due to processing and lag. Both have their pros and cons and depend on what you value more.