Sep 8, 2016

AirPlay on PC

My (slight) struggles with my unholy alliance of iPhone SE and a Win10 laptop continue. This time my issue was AirPlay for Windows. Tomorrow I demo Nintex Mobile App at a customer and, well, since it is a mobile app, it would be quite essential to be able to show my phone screen to them. Since you can hardly have a meeting room full of people all gather around you to gape at the small phone screen, I started looking for the best way to mirror my phone on the laptop screen.

Now AirPlay is simple enough (*cough* not *cough*) when you are in an Apple device wonderland, like you airplay to a MacBook or AppleTV etc. And really it is usually quite straightforward, unless you try to do things like control the AppleTV vie AirPlay etc. But PC? You need an app, of course.

Simple googling reveals that there are plenty of Win apps for this purpose available. Starting with the free and simple LonelyScreen, ending in slightly costly (in my opinion, for my random needs) apps like the Mirroring360 and the Apowersoft Phone Manager, which I tried and found a bit too complicated to my taste. It said something about updating iTunes and connecting the phone with a cable etc. and I lost interest.

Tech iOS World ranks the LonelyScreen best of the PC mirroring apps. From my short experience and trial and error of all of two apps, I'd say I agree. Simple enough, strictly to the point, easy to use, no extra hokum it most definitely seemed to suit my purposes the best. My only problem was that my phone would not show the AirPlay option no matter what I tried.

My phone and laptop were on the same network.
I rebooted my phone AND my laptop.
My phone IS up to date software-wize.
I allowed LonelyScreen access through the firewall. 
I even disconnected the Direct Access (well, actually, the disconnect doesn't work for me, so I stopped the whole service, but anyhow...).

I was getting desperate. How can stuffs just always be so darned difficult?! Finally, as my last straw, I turned on the personal hotspot on my phone and connected my Windows to the Internet using the hotspot. And - TA-DAA! - AirPlay appeared on my phone!

My conclusion? LonelyScreen works like a train's toilet (A Finnish idiom that I just chose to use here, don't ask) and is exactly as good and simple as expected. However, I believe our home network is just too complicated what with all of our own firewalls etc. in between everything. That's what you get in a geeky household. Anyway, I'm actually really glad it works with this hotspot, since that is the way I most probably will be using it tomorrow at the customer's.

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