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.
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!
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.