Ever since Apple has allowed access to Airplay on Roku devices in an update last year, it's been one of the most sought-after features of using a Roku device.
Whether to stream music or to watch movies and shows right off the internet, I relied on Airplay connectivity to stream the content right to my Roku Express.
Watching movies and shows on a big screen has never been easier.
But a few days back when one of my friends tried to connect to my Roku Express through his iPhone, he couldn't do it.
This was the first time such a problem did arise.
This prompted me to go on the lookout for probable causes and after a good amount of research, I was able to rectify the problem.
Turns out that both devices should be connected to the same network/internet for seamless streaming and my friend was connected to his own cellular internet.
Airplay issues with Roku express can be most likely solved by having both the devices connected to the same WiFi network. Being close to the router is also necessary.
If this doesn't solve the issue, try these fixes:
Check if Roku Express Supports Mirroring
The absolute first thing to do if you are not able to mirror via Airplay or with any other mirroring software is to check whether your Roku Express supports mirroring.
Roku has been making streaming products since 2008 starting with the original Roku DVP N1000.
Several generations of products have come out over the years with significant updates over the previous models.
Roku introduced the Express model as part of their fifth-generation offerings with Roku Express and Express+ models in 2015.
These models, obviously, did not support mirroring settings.
Only with the seventh generation models(2018), the Roku Express(3900), and Express+(3910), mirroring support became available.
To check whether your device is compatible or not, go to Settings>System>About.
If your Roku Express falls under any of these model numbers(3900, 3910, 3930, 3931, 3940, 3941), your Roku express does support mirroring.
Check Connection Settings of Roku Express
Establishing the right connection settings in your Roku Express is the first thing you have to follow if you are doing it for the first time.
If this isn't your first time and you were able to connect properly, skip this step and read on to the next fix.
Here are the steps with which you can ensure mirroring is enabled in your device:
1. In the Home screen tab, navigate to and open Settings.
2. Now open the System option.
3. Click on the Screen Mirroring.
4. Here, select Screen Mirroring mode.
5. From the available options select your preferred mode.
6. If you selected Allow Always, any device can connect to your Roku Express without any permission.
7. If you select Prompt, a pop-up appears if a device wants to connect with your Roku express.
After you have ensured proper mirroring settings, follow these steps to connect enable and set up Airplay:
1. In the Settings tab, navigate to and open Apple Airplay and Homekit option.
2. Make sure that Airplay is On.
3. Now open the control center on your Apple device.
4. Select the screen mirroring tile and click on your Roku device.
5. Enter the code that appears on the TV/display onto the pop-up prompt on your Apple device.
Now you can stream your preferred content through Airplay onto your Roku Express connected device.
If you are still experiencing the problem, try pairing a different Apple device to your Roku Express.
If you are able to connect and stream content, the problem may be with your previous device.
Update Roku Express and Apple Device
In order to access Airplay in your Roku Express, your Apple device must be of version 9.4 or higher.
Any Apple device with IOS 12.3 or MacOS 10.14.15 or above supports Airplay or Airplay2.
It is recommended to keep your device updated to the latest versions in order to minimize errors and bugs of the previous versions.
To check for updates on your Roku Express, follow these steps:
1. Open the Settings tab.
2. Navigate to the System option and click on it.
3. Select the System update tile.
4. Click on Check now option to scan manually for any updates.
5. Click on the Download/Install tile to install the new update(if any).
6. Wait for the update to complete and for the system to reboot.
Try to access Airplay after both the devices have been updated to the most current version. If you are unable to solve the issue with this tip, try the next one.
Resetting the Paired Device.
In this step, you will have to reset your Apple device connection from the Airplay mode on your Roku Express.
To reset your connection, follow these steps:
1. In the Apple Airplay and Homekit tab, turn OFF the airplay option.
2. Next open the Require code box.
3. Select Reset Paired Devices tile at the bottom.
4. Follow the prompts.
5. Restart your Roku Express.
6. Go back and turn back Airplay On.
This fix has been proven to solve the problem for those who had been able to use Airplay previously but had an abrupt stop.
Resetting your Roku Express.
This step must only be used as a last resort sort of option, only if all other options have failed you.
This is because once you reset your device, all your preferences will get erased and the device will be restored to factory condition.
No device is perfect. An occasional hiccup like a bug that came bundled with the last update may cause your device to behave uncontrollably.
A quick and easy way to solve such inexplicable errors is to do a factory reset.
This option is also suggested by the device manufacturer to restore the device back to its optimal condition.
Follow these steps to successfully reset your Roku Express:
1. Open the Settings option.
2. Navigate to the System option.
3. Click on Advanced system settings.
4. Then select Factory reset.
5. Click on Factory reset everything to reset your device to factory settings.
6. Wait for the procedure to be completed.
After the reset is complete, remember to connect to the same network as your Apple device.
Then check for the system updates and install them if any.
You'll have to set up your Airplay again on your Roku Express which can be done through the steps which I've mentioned above.
Other Possible Fixes
Try refreshing your WiFi/internet connection
Sometimes your internet connection can be the culprit for a failed session.
This can easily be resolved by giving your router a quick refresh.
Turn off your router, and then turn it on again.
Connect to your WiFi by clicking on Setting>Network>Set up connection>Wired or Wireless> if wireless, select from the list.
Stuck on the Loading Page
This fix is for those who happen to fall into the deep pit of waiting for the connection to establish.
When you try to mirror your device to your Roku express, an accept prompt has to pop up for enabling connection.
Sometimes this pop-up fails to appear.
This can occur most of the time due to the devices not being in closer proximity to each other.
Other times, it can be resolved by turning on the Allow Always option from the Screen Mirroring Mode option which I had mentioned earlier.
Limited Casting time
While not a widespread concern, some of the users have reported that they cannot play movies on their Roku express through casting.
Even if they can play other shows and music through mirroring(Airplay), movies cannot be cast.
This issue may be because of recent updates from Roku.
With these updates, Roku has laid some restrictions on content streaming where shows and movies exceeding an hour of playback time can no longer be cast.
These limitations have made content for some websites and apps inaccessible.
Being able to mirror your Apple device to your Roku express via Airplay has opened doors to many possibilities of watching great content without paying through the nose.
From apps like ESPN+ and HBO MAX to many online websites like The Criterion Channel, you can now watch them on your TV.
If none of the tips that I have mentioned here have been helpful to you, your best bet is to contact the customer services of Roku.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why can't I screen mirror to Roku Express?
Make sure that you have set your Roku Express to the right screen mirroring settings. You can do that by going to Settings>Screen Mirroring>Screen Mirroring Mode>select the appropriate option.