iPhone Mirroring is my favorite WWDC 2024 announcement — here’s why

macOS Sequoia iPhone Mirroring drag and drop
(Image credit: Apple)

As WWDC 2024 week is behind us, and we all continue to digest Apple's raft of announcements, it's macOS Sequoia's iPhone Mirroring feature that I keep thinking about. Even in an event that brought us things like huge new customization options to iOS 18 and impressive handwritten math equation solving in iPadOS 18, it's the iPhone/Mac collaboration that stands out to me.

I already enjoy using SideCar to turn my iPad into a small second monitor when I'm set up to work in a hotel room or my parents' house, so having a similar ability on my iPhone is appealing too. While iPhone Mirroring doesn't expand my workspace directly as an extra display, it would expand it in other ways.

Apps I normally use on my phone would be far easier to navigate and interact with via a Mac’s keyboard and mouse, especially ones with local files or strict security that can’t be easily accessed off of the phone. And it won't be all productivity, since you can mirror the iPhone horizontally for games or video. I have been meaning to get back into Slay the Spire, and perhaps the option to drag my cards around with a mouse will help do that. 

macOS Sequoia iPhone Mirroring feature

(Image credit: Apple)

I wouldn’t even have to commit to iPhone Mirroring taking up space on my desktop all the time since it’s accessible via iPhone pop-up notifications on the Mac as well as the traditional app icon. On that note, I'm so glad that these notifications are optional, since I have a lot of duplicate apps across my devices and would be driven mad by two sets of every ping going off.

iPhone Mirroring would also give me another reason to use StandBy Mode, one of my favorite parts of last year's iOS 17 update. The iPhone automatically pops into StandBy when mirroring is in progress, which would give you the time, weather and other useful info via widgets, or just a photo gallery to provide a little decoration to your desk.

Lastly, as someone who regularly sends files back and forth between my laptop and my phone, having simpler access to my iPhone’s storage right on-screen sounds very useful. It's a shame that this element may not be available at launch, though. It isn't unusual for features announced at WWDC to appear in future updates, but spotting this did pose a few other reservations I have despite my general enthusiasm for iPhone Mirroring.

iPhone Mirroring: Some potential hurdles

The elephant in the room for me is the fact that companies like Samsung, Honor and Huawei have already offered these features on their phones and laptops for some time. I have tested these features at various points during my career, and though it's impressed me each time, it's not actually led to a productivity overhaul. Granted, I am a Mac user primarily, but I ain't afraid of no Windows, and having easy access to phones and laptops through my work means I could have started using one of these rival smartphone/laptop combo whenever I liked. But I haven't found it attractive enough to move my files and apps over.

An image of a Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 and a Galaxy Z Fold 3, showing the Fold 3's display mirrored on the laptop.

A Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 and a Galaxy Z Fold 3, showing the Fold 3's app library mirrored in a window on the laptop. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Speaking of apps, a lot of the most important ones I use, as I mentioned above, already have a Mac version. And those that don't I can access via a browser version. So perhaps the only thing iPhone Mirroring will help with in this situation is acting as a convenient way to approve 2FA requests, which is pretty low potential for a big new macOS feature.

I also have technical concerns, specifically about streaming content from the iPhone to the Mac. The feature in theory lets you watch stuff from the iPhone, including audio, by streaming the video and sound through the Mac's display and speakers. While we've not tried this yet, I can't help but wonder how enjoyable content streamed from iPhone to Mac like this would be. Maybe the bandwidth of the iPhone Mirroring connection is greater than I'm imagining, but I am not optimistic.

Only macOS Sequoia developer beta users are currently able to try iPhone Mirroring at the time of writing, with the rest of us having to wait until the public beta drops (likely in a couple of weeks). I can't wait to give it a go myself, even if I'm preparing myself for potential disappointment once again.

But whatever happens, iPhone Mirroring seems to be shaping up as at worst an occasionally handy new addition to my MacBook's app dock, and at best a huge improvement to the way I work. Not bad for a free software update containing many other additional upgrades.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • blubludd
    admin said:
    macOS Sequoia's new iPhone Mirroring feature seems like a practical and entertaining addition to my MacBook, but I have a few questions about how exactly it'll work.

    iPhone Mirroring is my favorite WWDC announcement — here’s why : Read more
    FYI iPhone Mirroring is not currently enabled on the Sequoia beta, aside from being able to find the icon.