How did I record my iPad screen without a camera? Reflection and AirPlay!

BY Tris Hussey

Published 30 Nov 2012

If you watched my little movie playing PongWorld today you might have noticed that while it was a movie showing what was on my iPad—it wasn’t my iPad. It was a window, on my Mac, that was being recorded. So how did I pull this off? A little AirPlay magic via a great app called Reflection

Here’s the essential problem. Although your Mac can send information to an Apple TV (movies and music only) via AirPlay, your Mac isn’t an AirPlay destination to send things to. We all hoped this feature would be added into Mountain Lion (10.8), but it wasn’t (we can only hope for 10.9). So how did is use AirPlay from my iPad (or any other iOS device) to my Mac? Very simple: Reflection.

Reflection is a neat app for Mac or PC that costs a whopping $15 (yes, note sarcasm) which does one thing really well…make my Mac an AirPlay receiver.

Once you download and install Reflection (yes there is a trial that lets you use it for 10 minutes at time) all you need to do is start up Reflection your Machine and then on your iOS device open up the multitasking bar and choose your machine from the list of AirPlay options:

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With Mirroring turned on, then my whole screen is sent to my Mac. If Mirroring is off then only sound comes through for games and music, but movies and videos will play.

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That’s all you need to do on the iOS side, and really on the Reflection side as well. Out of the box Reflection works great, but if you want to change the size of the frame to match your device:

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Or adjust the resolution (via Reflection preferences):

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Recording is simple and only records what’s in the frame and the audio from the iOS device. Here’s another short movie showing how it all works:

As far as game play goes, results depend on your internal network (because this is over WiFi), the iOS device, and the host machine. For the best gaming results, using reflection, I’d shut off everything else. For just recording things like I have here, I kept most things open with no trouble or lags.

So that’s it: how to use your Mac for AirPlay and stream and iOS device to it.