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Reflector 4: Easy Screen Mirroring and Streaming

Reflector 4 for Mac

Ohio-based developer Squirrels today released Reflector 4 ($17.99) the latest incarnation of the company’s Mac and Windows screen mirroring and media streaming receiver app. Boasting compatibility with all Macs — including those powered by the M1 SoC — Reflector 4 significantly improves performance over the previous version released in 2017. Here’s our review!

What Is Reflector 4 Useful For?

Running on both Mac and Windows platforms, Reflector 4 provides a way for the desktop or laptop computers to receive streaming content over AirPlay, Google Cast, and Miracast. As an example, let’s say you’re recording a video of an iPhone app and would like it to appear on your Mac or PC surrounded by a lifelike “frame”. Simply launch Reflector 4 on your computer, then start up Screen Mirroring on your iOS or iPadOS device. Your computer appears as a receiver for screen mirroring. Tap the name and wait for Reflector to display a 4-digit code on the computer screen. Next, tap that code into a dialog on the mobile device.

Instantly, your iOS or iPadOS device is mirrored on your Mac. You can display it to others during a Zoom meeting, capture video of the mobile device screen through the Reflector 4 interface, and more. Want to show a video on a “larger screen” than just on your iPhone? Zap it to your laptop with Reflector for crystal-clear video and sound.

Reflector is extremely useful in classroom situations — there’s even a special version for educators. Regardless of the version, multiple mobile devices can connect to one Mac or PC simultaneously.

Using Reflector 4

The app is a cinch to install. After purchasing the app online, you download either a Mac disk image or Windows 32-bit or 64-bit .msi file. On the Mac, double-clicking the disk image file brings up a simple “drag to install” installer.

The easy to use, minimalist UI of Reflector 4
The easy to use, minimalist UI of Reflector 4

Upon installing Reflector 4, launch it and you see only a small menu bar icon. Clicking that icon brings up a compact user interface displaying connected devices, a “record all” button, and buttons for hiding or showing a mirrored device. There’s also a way to add webcam video and microphones; when recorded, the video shows both the mobile device screen and the narrator. That’s perfect for creating tutorial videos!

Reflector 4 makes recording from multiple sources easy. Here I'm recording an iPhone screen and myself.
Reflector 4 makes recording from multiple sources easy. Here I’m recording an iPhone screen and myself.

The app also provides a ways to change the resolution of the mirrored device — I chose iPhone 12 Pro Max 2778 x 1284 and marveled at just how perfect the image was on my 16-inch MacBook Pro. For the device being mirrored, you not only get a high-resolution frame that looks just like the device, but it’s also available in the standard device colors. In other words, my iPhone showed up in “Pacific Blue”.

Performance of Reflector 4

Having used Reflector 3 for many years, I wasn’t expecting much of a speed improvement. I was wrong — the new version seems much smoother, with less latency and lag than the previous version.

Discovery of devices is done through Bluetooth, and there’s still a slight lag between selecting a Mac to mirror to and seeing the on-screen code to use for authentication. The connection over Wi-Fi is rock solid and fast, even when streaming video from your mobile device to the Mac.

I love how Reflector 4 automatically switches the mirrored window to the correct size. For example, while mirroring a YouTube video from the iPhone 12 Pro Max to my M1 MacBook Air, the screen went from a portrait mode view of the iPhone screen to a typical 4:3 YouTube video aspect ratio.

Review overview

Performance9.8
Ease and Speed of Laptop Discovery9.5
Latency9.7
User Interface Design10
Pricing9

The Pros

  • Easy to Install
  • Very Low Latency
  • Automatic Frame Resizing
  • Choice of Device Frames
  • Good Security Through Onscreen Code
  • Excellent UI Design

The Cons

  • Are you kidding? There are no cons!

summary

9.6Not everyone needs to use a screen mirroring app like Reflector 4. If you do, the new version of the app is incredibly fast and simple to use. It took no time at all to get used to the redesigned user interface. It's obvious the developers at Squirrels designed the app to make all actions easy to discover and perform. If you need an app like this, the $17.99 price tag is worth it!

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the publisher and editor of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!