A High Schooler Made iPhone Mirroring Work on macOS 15 Sequoia (Sort Of)

MacBook Pro running macOS 15 Sequoia showing the iPhone Mirroring feature

One of the first features that Apple detailed in the macOS segment of WWDC 24 was iPhone Mirroring. The company’s executives seemed pretty excited about the functionality, so it’s weird that it missed the first Developer Beta.

This is more so because all the pieces required to enable iPhone Mirroring are apparently available. All it took to make it work was a teenager with as much free time as willpower.

Hacking a Way Into macOS Features

The high schooler James, who goes by the username JJTech, shared his progress on a Mastodon instance. He started working just a few hours after Apple released the iOS 18 and macOS 15 Sequoia Developer Betas. The task, however, took a few days to be accomplished.

JJTech started by enabling the iPhone Mirroring on macOS. He needed a debugger tool to find and unlock the app, which wasn’t readily available.

An hour and a half after first opening the setup wizard, he was able to reach the pairing screen. A couple more hours later, in the early hours of June 11th, he realized he had done everything that could be done on macOS.

James shared another update on June 13. He was able to bypass a “hidden blockage” on the iOS 18 Developer Beta, unlocking the iPhone Mirroring settings.

JJTech was only able to completely overcome Apple’s limitations over 12 hours later, with some more unspecified tinkering on the iPhone side. He shared a screenshot of his accomplishment, showing the Notes app mirrored from the iPhone to his Mac’s screen.

iPhone Mirroring Still Isn’t Accessible to Most People

iPhone with a locked screen and its display being mirrored to a MacBook Air runnning macOS 15 Sequoia

JJTech didn’t share, however, which exact tools and steps are required to enable iPhone Mirroring on macOS Sequoia. For now, all it’s clear is that unlocking this feature requires a lot of elbow grease and technical knowledge.

Therefore, don’t expect to have the feature available anytime soon. As James himself has put it, “It’s very clear that Apple doesn’t think this is ready.” For now, we can only marvel at how it was possible to enable iPhone Mirroring. And, obviously, wonder what has held Apple from releasing it in the first Developer Beta.

Teenager Who Cracked iPhone Mirroring Has Reverse Engineered iMessage

JJTech is, apparently, a fan of opening cracks in Apple’s walled garden. Before he unlocked iPhone Mirroring on macOS, contrary to the company’s intentions, James had reverse-engineered Messages — which some still call iMessage.

The teenager developed a proof-of-concept called PyPush, which allows people to use Messages without an Apple device. The project was acquired by Beeper, a software company that rose to fame with an app that… Allows people to use Messages without an Apple device. James presently works for Beeper.

There’s a Way To Mirror an iPhone’s Screen to a Mac — With a Catch

airplay on iphone airplay lagging

If you don’t want to wait for Apple to release iPhone Mirroring but also lack JJTech’s skills, don’t worry. There’s still a way to use your iPhone’s screen on your Mac, though it’s quite limited.

Since macOS 12 Monterey, you can use a Mac as an AirPlay screen. In the Settings app, go to General > AirDrop & Handoff, and toggle the “AirPlay Receiver” option. On this screen, you can also tweak some privacy settings.

There are two significant limitations to this, though. Firstly, you won’t be able to use your Mac while streaming your phone’s screen. This is possible with iPhone Mirroring on macOS 15 Sequoia. You also can’t interact with the iPhone using your Mac, which is again something that is possible in the most recent version. Using AirPlay, you’re limited to using the phone’s screen.

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