Do you need Wi-fi for Apple TV? No, but kind of yes..

There are a few different ways that you can connect your phone to your TV wirelessly. One of the most common methods that people want to use is Airplay, especially if they have an iPhone already with Apple TV set up at home.

But not everyone has unlimited internet at home to be able to use it at will. And similarly, if you’re often travelling, then you may want to be able to connect your phone or tablet to Apple TV without the necessity for a Wi-fi connection.

So, can you do this without any connection to the internet? Or is a Wi-fi connection a must if you want to connect the two together? That’s what we’re going to look through.

Do you need Wi-fi for Apple TV?

The good news is that you don’t need Wi-fi to connect your phone or your tablet up to Apple TV. You can actually do this via peer-to-peer Airplay. This means that neither your phone or your Apple TV need to be connected to the internet.

However, unfortunately this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to stream anything you want using this method. The problem comes when you’re trying to stream content like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video. This is one of the most common Apple TV streaming problems.

You’ll actually be unable to watch DRM, which stands for Digital Rights Management, protected content through Apple TV without the internet. You need access to the internet for Netflix or YouTube to get authorization that you have permission to watch films, movies and videos.

Unfortunately, this is the case even if you’ve downloaded the content onto your phone through the app. It is going to be the case for pretty much any streaming app that you’re using the you watch within the browser.

Is there any way around this?

One possible way that you can get around this problem is by watching videos within your browser. For this, you’re going to need data or an internet connection on your phone or on your tablet.


If you open up a video within your internet browser that’s embedded into a website, then you can just screen mirror this onto your Apple TV. Sure, it’s probably going to be a lot smoother within the app that you’re using, but it’s still possible to have a decent viewing experience overall.

As you’d expect, most people have tried to find a way around this problem. Without an internet connection to either device, you won’t be able to watch any of your saved movies within their app.

Of course, you can look at using hotspot data with your Apple TV box too – you don’t necessarily need to be connected to a wifi network for this to work. But certain streaming services can run through data very quickly, especially in high resolutions.

And if you can’t get Wi-fi, then you could consider using an ethernet cable if you’re within range of your home router. But this probably isn’t much help, so here’s what you can do if you have no access to your home network.

With no internet access

The only way you can really get around this if neither device has internet access is by downloading the content onto your device itself. If you were to download the movies that you want to watch directly onto your device, then you can simply watch them without having to enter into any of your apps.

With this, you don’t need to worry about DRM blocking your content – there’s literally no way that they can do this. So, the best thing might be to download all of the content you want to watch onto your device beforehand.

Do you need Wi-fi for screen mirroring?

No, the good part about Apple TV is that with the newer generations, you actually don’t need any Wi-fi connection to your home router to screen mirror.

I say you don’t need a Wi-fi connection to your router, because actually, Apple’s Airplay does actually use Wi-fi to connect the two together. However, this is a direct Wi-fi connection between your device and Apple TV, so it’s not reliant on an internet connection or your home wifi network.

Peer to peer Airplay also uses Bluetooth as well to actually find the other device. So, it relies on both of these connections, and it can work with neither device being connected to the internet as well.

This makes it the perfect solution if you’re often having to mirror your device onto a larger television or monitor – think of people giving presentations in an area with limited Wi-fi. It can definitely come in handy to stream between devices without even having an internet connection.

What is peer-to-peer Airplay?


The term peer-to-peer seems to have become something of a buzzword within the technology industry over the last few years. It can be a little confusing to understand exactly what someone means when they refer to this type of Airplay, and how it’s any different to other forms.

Actually, peer-to-peer Airplay just refers to the connection directly from one device to another. So instead of both connection to the Wi-fi, it just means that the connection is made between your two Apple devices on their own. No need for any additional Airplay.

There’s nothing you have to do differently to be able to use this – it will happen automatically when you search for other devices to connect to. Apple have spent a lot of time adding this into their range of devices, and it definitely comes in handy if there’s no Wi-fi and you’ve got no data left.


So overall, you can actually Airplay from your phone or Macbook to Apple TV very easily. It doesn’t rely on your home Wi-fi connection to work together, so you don’t need to worry about that.

However, you do need Wi-fi connectivity to verify that you have legal access to watching videos through most streaming apps. This includes all of your favourites like Netflix and YouTube.

So whilst you can screen mirror and use other applications, this does put a spanner in the works when it comes to what most people will probably want to use it for.

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About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

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