AirParrot Remote: Turn your Mac into a media server you control from your iOS devices


Have a lot of movie DVDs that you ripped using Handbrake or something similar? Maybe you have created your own family home videos over the years and have them all stored on your Mac? Squirrels today released AirParrot Remote ($6.99), a new member of the popular AirParrot family that works with AirParrot 2 for OS X  ($12.99) on your Mac to let you use your desktop or laptop as a media server that you can control from your iPhone or iMac

The way it works is actually quite impressive; rather than having to physically walk over to your Mac to start up a video, fire up AirParrot 2, and then select an Apple TV or Chromecast to beam the content to, you use AirParrot Remote to do all the walking for you. Once the app and Air Parrot 2 are paired through a simple one-time process, it's simple to browse your Mac for video media, select a device to beam it to, and then control playback from your iOS device (see image below).

Selecting a source and a target device in AirParrot Remote

Selecting a source and a target device in AirParrot Remote

I tested AirParrot Remote on my iPhone 6s Plus with my 2015 27-inch Retina 5K iMac as the "server", AirParrot 2 on the iMac, and a second-generation Apple TV connected to an HDTV. Not only can you play movies and videos from the Mac, but it's also possible to mirror a Mac app or Mac desktop onto the HDTV from AirParrot Remote. 

The quality of the video depends on the original resolution - I watched a short 1080p video I created a week or so ago for The Weather Channel, and it looked stunning on the HDTV. What's nice about this is that you don't have to worry about storing all that storage-consuming HD video media on an iOS device or wait for a movie to start streaming from an Internet source to your HDTV; just a few taps and the video is playing on your big-screen TV from your Mac. If you have a group of videos you want to watch, it's fast and simple to create a playlist. 

The app provides a way to easily pause and restart the video, although scrubbing back or forward a few minutes or seconds isn't that easy. All of the video media appears in a small window, and it's also possible to make that window fill your iPhone or iPad screen. In that mode (see image below), there are buttons to enable mouse or keyboard control so you can actually control the Mac from AirParrot Remote. I don't find this specific AirParrot Remote use case to be as useful as a dedicated solution like Parallels Access, but it does work in a pinch. One of the other modes that I thought was pretty cool allows you to use the HDTV as an extension of your Mac desktop. 27-inch iMac, meet 55-inch HDTV!

Keyboard and Mouse control for the "desktop" 

Keyboard and Mouse control for the "desktop" 

During the time that I was testing AirParrot Remote, I needed to re-link the app with my Mac once, but that was probably due to some Mac restarts that I had to do in order to clean up some other beta apps. It's quite stable, and I found that I really like how AirParrot Remote makes it a quick and easy decision to spontaneously watch something from my Mac on my big TV. Since AirParrot 2 also works on Windows and Chrome devices, you can use those as AirParrot Remote sources as well if you happen to have them in your home or office.  

Squirrels has really come up with a winner with this app, and it's gained a permanent spot among the video apps on my iPhone. 

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★