Whether you are a student, teacher, movie fan, or business professional, there are times when you would have to connect your phone to a projector. There are many ways to do so, and this article outlines them all.
You can connect your phone (Android or iPhone) to a projector via cables and adapters such as USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to HDMI, HDMI to HDMI, MHL, and USB-C to VGA. Wireless methods include Apple Airplay, Miracast, Chromecast, and Wi-Fi Direct.
Check out my top picks for home theater projectors.
There are different types of projectors that we will briefly discuss, but this should not affect your smartphone’s ability to connect to it.
We will cover all wireless connectivity methods and then all wired connectivity methods, which include various ports, cables, and adapters. In addition to that, we will also cover how you will be able to connect to an old projector that does not have modern features.
Also read: How to Connect a Kindle Fire to a Projector
In today’s digital world, projectors are used by many individuals for a variety of applications. They are a part of conference rooms, offices, seminar halls, classrooms, educational institutions, and auditoriums.
The applications they are used for include regulating, managing, and conducting lessons, seminars, meetings, conferences, and more.
There are four different types of projectors that are explicitly built for specific applications. The four types include Laser projectors, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) projectors, LCOS (Liquid Crystal On Silicon) projectors, and DLP (Digital Light Processing) projectors.
The most commonly used projector is an LCD projector, and it should have a variety of features, functions, and ports that allow you to connect your smartphone to it.
Cabling methods to connect an android phone to a projector
The first thing you have to do is check your projector’s model and determine what features it has that will allow you to connect your smartphone to it. The simplest way to do this is to consult your projector model’s user manual.
There will be two main ways that you can connect to it via your smartphone, and the two forms are by cable and then by wireless. Both these methods will have multiple sub-options that will allow you to connect to your projector depending on your smartphone and then what features your projector has.
The easiest way for you to connect to anything in today’s digital world is now typically via a wireless connection. This removes the need for tiresome cables that most individuals would choose to avoid if they have to option to.
However, if for some reason you do not have the option for wireless capability, then cables are your next and only option. Moreover, cables are usually more reliable than wireless connections.
In this section, we will discuss the various types of cabling methods you are able to consider when a wireless option is out the window.
One thing to note is that these methods and the wireless methods are structured for android mobile devices. That means you can connect your android smartphone and tablets, not your Apple mobile products. Those products have their own dedicated section to follow.
USB vs. HDMI
Most people don’t know this, but with USB 3.0 came the ability for it to transmit video and audio, making it very similar to HDMI.
Modern smartphones are now equipped with USB-C ports, and this is even one step up from USB 3.0 because it supports USB 3.1, 3.2, and is backward compatible.
USB-C ports are small and reversible, which means it does not matter which way you plug in the cable, and these connections can send data as quickly as 10 Gbps as well as relaying power (up to 100watts).
As you can imagine, this can greatly benefit us in many different ways, and one way is being able to connect our mobile device (in this case, our smartphone) to a projector.
USB-C to HDMI
Many newer Android smartphones and other devices now come standardly equipped with a USB-C port. One would usually think that these ports are just for charging your phone; however, you can use this port and a widely inexpensive USB-C to HDMI cable to connect your smartphone and projector.
One thing to note is that if using this option, the simultaneous ability to charge your phone while it is connected to the projector will not work.
This is due to the lack of power that is supplied through the cable when using this configuration. If you would like the ability to charge your phone while it is connected to a projector, then the USB-C to USB-C or the MHL option is for you.
Furthermore, not all devices with the USB-C port support the display function. Some of them might only support charging, so this is something you need to bear in mind and recognize before you go shelling out your hard-earned money on cables and adapters.
USB-C to USB-C
If you are lucky enough to have a projector that has a USB-C port, then this would probably be the easiest way to connect your smartphone without the use of wireless technology.
USB-C to USB-C includes the support for charging, so not only will you be able to screen mirror your smartphone, but you can simultaneously charge it.
All you need to do is purchase a USB-C to USB-C cable and slot it into your phone and then projector, and you will be prompted straight away with screen mirroring options.
HDMI to HDMI
Although not very common, you do find mobile devices, including smartphones with mini and micro HDMI ports (these would be found more so on tablets, however).
Projectors usually come standard with a typical Type-A HDMI port and could actually come with multiple HDMI ports. All you need to do if your smartphone has a mini or micro HDMI port is acquire the correct cable.
MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) is a type of connection that is a specially designed HDMI cable. As we discussed, modern smartphones utilize USB-C type ports; however, MHL cables utilize MicroUSB.
The great thing about MHL is that it is also capable of charging your smartphone in addition to it being able to mirror its display on your projector.
One thing to note is that projectors usually will have standard HDMI ports, but your projector will have to support an HDMI connection that also supports MHL (usually, this will be shown via a label next to the port).
If your projector does not have an MHL-enabled HDMI port, it won’t support your smartphone. In addition to this, your smartphone also has to support MHL.
Hence, this option should be considered once all your other options have been exhausted. Even though this option may seem a bit daunting, all you need is the correct cable and adapter, and you will be able to mirror your smartphone easily.
USB-C to VGA (older projectors)
If you have a projector that is a little older and it does not support HDMI or USB-C, it will most likely have a VGA port. This used to be the standard display port that all digital video equipment used to support.
To get this configuration, working is somewhat more straightforward than you think. All you need to do is purchase a USB-C to VGA adapter. Remember that USB-C supports video now, so these devices have been manufactured.
Then, in addition to that, you just need a VGA to VGA cable, which you will most probably have. The only thing you have to do then is to connect the adapter and cable to your smartphone and projector. Then, if applicable, you would need to switch the corresponding VGA display port.
What is also great is that these USB-C to VGA adapters also support Apple products. We will go over the other two main ways on how to connect your iPhone to a projector in the subsequent headings.
Wireless methods to connect a phone to a projector
We have now covered all the ways in which you are able to connect your Android smartphone to a projector. Now let’s cover the wireless ways in which you are able to achieve the same effect.
There are three primary variants to consider for using wireless options and then an additional one for users that have a Samsung smartphone.
Wi-Fi direct is most definitely the primary go-to method if you are using an Android smartphone and can be used within the Android OS directly without downloading and installing any third-party applications.
It is essential to mention that your projector needs to support Wi-Fi direct, so you should consult your projector’s user manual to see if this option is available.
To get started, look on your projector for a setting or switch that says “screen/device mirroring,” then switch to that setting.
Depending on what smartphone you have, the layout and navigation to get Wi-Fi direct to work will be slightly different. Below is a generalized guideline of how you would connect your android smartphone to your projector.
- Swipe down from the top of your smartphone
- Access your Settings menu
- Navigate to Network and Internet or Connections
- Access the Wi-Fi menu
- Ensure that your Wi-Fi is enabled
- Acces Advanced Options or Wi-Fi Preferences
- Tap the Wi-Fi Direct prompt
Your smartphone will then search for available Wi-Fi direct devices, and when your projector appears, tap the option to connect and follow any additional instructions if prompted to.
Miracast is a technology that allows you to wirelessly share content from your smartphone to another display or a projector. It is similar to Wi-Fi direct, and Android even supported it officially. However, it was dropped with the release of Android 6 Marshmellow.
Nevertheless, Miracast still works on some Android smartphones and devices, and it is effortless to integrate and use with your smartphone and third-party apps.
3rd party apps
All you need to do to use the Miracast technology is get an app that supports it like Castto, which is available for free on the Google play store. Any other app that uses this type of technology will also work.
Install the app, open it up, and then follow the prompts to mirror your smartphone screen to your projector. Keep in mind that newer devices may not work with it because it is not officially supported anymore.
If this option does not work, then the best thing to do would be to try the Wi-Fi Direct method or the next method.
Android devices come standard now with the Chromecast function. Although some smart Android TVs come with Chromecast built-in to them, projectors do not. So you will have to purchase a Chromecast adapter.
Chromecast adapters use an HDMI input, which is perfect for newer models of projectors, and if your projector does not support HDMI or HDCP, Then all you need to do is purchase an additional adapter.
The way in which it works is exactly the same as if you were connecting the Chromecast to your TV. You would plug it into the HDMI input on your projector and then set it up via your smartphone.
In addition to purchasing a Chromecast device, you would also be able to connect it to any display device, including monitors and TVs.
Samsung specific (Smart View)
This method is only for individuals that have newer Samsung smartphones and devices. Newer Samsung devices sport a function that is called “Smart View.”
It works on the same premise of Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast, and Chromecast in that once it is enabled, it will search for nearby screen mirroring devices or Chromecast devices.
Ensure that your projector is correctly switched over to the screen mirroring option, and then swipe down on your Samsung smartphone and enable Smart View. Follow the prompts and any additional instructions to connect your smartphone to your projector.
Manufacturer Applications and Software
We have considered all the ways in which you can stream media content to your projector. There is a final way in which you could display content from your smartphone or other devices to your projector, and that is by software that comes with your projector made by the manufacturers.
The software will vary depending on your model and manufacturer, of course, and in addition to that, these types of apps and software may not allow you to stream video content or your entire screen; however, they could be used for presentations and such.
How to connect an iPhone to a projector
We have discussed how to connect your Android smartphone to a projector, but these methods do not work if you are an owner of an iPhone. Apple has two methods via which you can connect a projector to your Apple device, and here they are.
Authorized Apple cables
Apple has a strict policy and guidelines when considering attaching third-party hardware or software to their products, and as such, they go to extreme lengths to make sure every method is tested works correctly.
Lightning to HDMI adapter
Apple recommends purchasing a Lightning to HDMI adapter or cable if you want to connect your iPhone to any device that supports HDMI. The process after that is simple enough. You just connect the adapter to your phone and your HDMI cable to the adapter and the projector.
It is crucial to keep in mind that Apple may not help or fix any problem you may have if you purchase third-party products such as cables or adapter that are not made by Apple.
Apple has its Airplay function that is similar to Samsungs Smart View. This function is built into iOS, so there is no need to download any additional applications.
Ensure your projector is set to screen mirroring; as we discussed previously, if your projector does not support mirroring, you will have to purchase a casting device.
Then on your iPhone or other Apple device, go to Settings and select Wi-Fi. A list of all the available devices will be shown, and your casting device should be one of them.
Tap on the name of your casting device and key in a password if prompted. Then go back to the main screen on your iPhone and swipe up from the bottom. This will enable Apple’s Airplay feature allowing you to select your mirroring device and allowing you to mirror your iPhone onto your projector.
If your projector allows mirroring, then Apple Airplay should pick up the projector as a standalone device, and you should be able to connect to it without the need for a casting device.
We conclude that there are many ways that you are able to connect your smartphone, whether it be Android or an Apple iPhone, to a projector. Some projectors support wireless screening capabilities and have many different inputs for additional devices.
Even if your projector does not support wireless connectivity, if it does not have one or many of the modern connection ports, or even if it is old, we made sure that there is a way you are able to connect your smartphone to your projector.
All you would need is a cable or adapter, your smartphone to support some form of wireless connectivity, and you would be good to go.