rMBP and Airplay mirroring on to Apple TV


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 11, 2006
To all rMBP users with an Apple TV,

How does the mirroring work on the rMBP? This could be a deal breaker for me if it doesn't work well - I'm worried that the mirroring will force the TV's resolution on the rMBP creating an unworkable environment.

Does anyone have experience with this? Are you pleased?


macrumors 68020
Jun 21, 2011
What type of content are you mirroring? The mirroring will be done to the max resolution of the Apple TV.


macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2007
It works beautifully. The resolution of the rMBP stays the same, whatever you've set it to. The TV scales. If you have your rMBP at very high resolutions the TV will have too much detail and won't be clear. But it'll all work.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2012
RE: ATV3 resolutions...

Hi tillsbury,

I think that my experience differs slightly from what you have stated, although maybe not. So allow me to explain my experiences...they are probably exactly what you also experience.

When the rMBP is plugged into an external Thunderbolt Display with the TB Display my main screen (with the menu bar, in other words) and the rMBP's display is my secondary screen, the rMBP has a resolution of 1440x900 and the TB Display has a resolution of 2560x1440. If I then turn on Airplay Mirroring using an Apple TV3 (Match Desktop Size To: Apple TV) to a Toshiba 1080p TV, the TB Display reverts to 1920x1080, the same as the Toshiba TV, while the rMBP's display stays at 1440x900. I can reset the rMBP's display to 2880x1800, leaving the TB Display and Thoshiba TV at 1920x1080. I can also reset the the TB Display to 2560x1440 (Match Desktop Size To: This Mac), thereby causing a scaling of the resolution on the Toshiba TV (the Best for Display setting).

On the other hand, if I unplug the TB Display, thus causing the rMBP to become my main screen, I find that the rMBP has a resolution of 1440x900 (Best for Retina setting). If I switch on Airplay Mirroring and Match Desktop Size To: This Mac, the rMBP's display remains 1440x900 while the mirroring on the Toshiba TV is scaled, but it is not scaled to precisely 1920x1080, rather it scaled to something that has the same aspect ratio as the rMBP (perhaps 1728x1080), i.e., the horizontal sides are "cut off" while the vertical top and bottom are fully used. If I change the rMBP's display resolution to something else, say 1680x1080, the mirroring is again scaled for the Toshiba TV. If I set the Match Desktop Size To: Apple TV, then both the rMBP's display as well as the Toshiba TV are set to 1920x1080 resolutions. If I set the Match Desktop Size To: This Mac, then the rMBP stays at 1440x900 and the Toshiba TV mirroring is scaled to 1728?x1080. If I reset the rMBP's display to 2880x1800, the mirroring Toshiba TV is scaled to 1728?x1080; if I reset the rMBP's display to 1680x1050, the Toshiba's mirroring is once again scaled to 1728?x1080. (I'm using 1728?x1080 to indicate that I don't actually know what the resolution is on the Toshiba TV, just that it has the proper aspect ratio while being cut-off in the horizontal aspect from 1920x1080.) In my case, when I reset the rMBP's display to 2880x1800, the Toshiba TV still gets a scaled mirroring, i.e., the windows become smaller on the Toshiba just as they do on the rMBP, but they are still at a resolution of 1728?x1080 meaning that they are still readable, albeit small.

These are my observations...are they the same as yours? If they are different, perhaps it is because I employ Terminal commands to change the resolutions of my displays and do not rely on the System Preferences -> Displays pane to do so.


P.S. In general, I think the Airplay Mirroring does precisely what you would want it to do: it mirrors without changing the aspect ratio to the maximum possible viewing "window" on the TV, and it does a pretty good job of the required scalings.

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