AMITIAE - Tuesday 29 April 2014
Mirage from PlumAmazing: View iOS Device Screens on a Mac in Realtime (Amended)
By Graham K. Rogers
It is already possible to display a single device on the Mac screen in a couple of ways. These require a suitable adapter or an Apple TV. I have a selection of adapters I use with my iOS devices. For the iPad (and my previous iPhones) Apple has 30-pin adapters for VGA output, so I can show the screen of the iOS device via a projector in a classroom. There is also an adapter for HDMI output, so I can view content on my large TV screen at home.
The newer iPhone uses a Lightning adapter and I only have the type for VGA output as this is my priority (the TV does have a VGA port too). With this adapter (or the 30-pin one for the iPad), as well as display of content(like images or text files), I can run Keynote and make presentations.
I can also use AirPlay via my AppleTV which is connected via HDMI to my TV. Content is displayed on the larger screen via the Wi-Fi connection. This is useful in a number of ways, especially when viewing photographs: the smaller screen of the MacBook Pro may not always do them justice. Unlike the adapters, the AirPlay connection does not mirror the display of the iSO devices, it just allows access to content in apps.
I downloaded the Mirage application from the PlumAmazing site and the instructions were fairly clear. On the iPhone, I turned on Airplay in the Control Center (swipe the screen up). A panel opened and I saw that there was an entry for the Mirage software. I tapped that to make it active, pressed the Mirroring button that was made available, and the iPhone screen appeared on the Mac. As well as an onscreen introduction, there is a manual available at the PlumAmazing site.
I was able to scroll, open apps and acces content in realtime. What I did on the iPhone (or iPad) was shown on the Mac: instantly in most cases. Once or twice there was a pause. A couple of times the iPhone screen on the Mac went black, but the proper display was refreshed and returned within a second or two.
The display also went black when the screen on the iPad went off (power-saving). If I caught this right away, the screen would reappear on the Mac. On a couple of occasions I had to access the AirPlay panel, turn off mirroring, then turn it back on again. I have seen similar problems with the VGA adapter so this is not a fault with Mirage.
There a number of screen resolutions available including 1920 x 1080. When in use there is a full screen mode, although some images may have a fair sized border if they are not able to make full use of the screen size.
A menubar item allows access to a menu with a number of quick access items, including the ability to use iPv6.
The software can be used not just via a WiFi connection (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), but also using LAN 10/100/1000 or Bluetooth. It will run on Macs that have OS X 10.6.8 or later. I am running version 10.9.2.
Mirage was a pleasant surprise right "out of the box". As soon as I made the AirPlay connection and the iPhone screen appeared on the Mac's display, I was sold. The idea of being able to see an iOS device on the screen, to show it to others and to record the actions gives me a number of ways in which I imagine I could use this in teaching, demonstration and sharing with friends. Highly recommended.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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