Lextech News

How to give awesome remote app demos using AirPlay

April 19, 2012

  • Alex Bratton

Demonstrating apps under development can be a challenge locally and becomes even more so when you need to loop in people who are all over the place.  Forget those USB cameras or video digitizers we’ve all been stuck using for the past couple years! We’ve found a very simple method for demoing live apps from live devices with remote users by sending your iOS device screen to a Mac using AirPlay.

Step 1 — Load the app to be shown onto the iPhone/iPad.

Step 2 — Fire up Reflection on a Mac that is on the same network as the iPhone/iPad (usually means they’re both connected to the same WiFi network).

Step 3A — Double tap the home button on the iPhone/iPad and then swipe left to right to bring up the audio controls.

Step 3B — Swipe left to right on the bottom bar again to bring up the volume and AirPlay control.

Step 4 — Tap the AirPlay icon on the right to bring up the selection list.

If everything is running correctly with Reflection, you’ll see the Mac’s name show up on the list. Select it and use the on/off slider to send your iOS device’s screen to the mac. It’ll pop up in a great looking window.

Step 5 — Next, fire up your favorite web screen sharing software (we use a few for different purposes but find that Join.Me works great for quick on the fly demos without needing to pre-schedule everything (just read your remote users the session ID number over the phone after they hit the join.me web site and they’re good to go).

A great way to demo apps that have different UIs on iPhone and iPad is to fire them up on 2 separate devices and send both of their screens to the Mac at the same time. This can also work if you have an app that communicates with other mobile users — you can see both ends of the conversation on the screen at the same time.

This setup is so much easier than methods we’ve tried in the past, and we have had very positive feedback after using it to demo apps in progress to our enterprise clients. If you have questions about the process I outlined above, feel free to leave them in the comments and someone from our team will get back to you.

Bonus – you can use the same steps 1-4 to get that iOS screen onto your Mac so you can record it with ScreenFlow or your favorite capture tool to create demo and training videos as well.

What remote app demo methods do you use? What other use cases make sense?