The Breakroom

xScope on the Big Screen

September 15, 2015

By Craig Hockenberry

As every iPhone developer knows, you don’t really understand an app’s design until you see it on the device. We’ve all been fooled by text or controls that looked just fine on your Mac’s simulator, but elicited “What the heck were we thinking?” when run on the phone.

With the release of tvOS, there’s going to be a new version of this phenomenon, just bigger. Our tool xScope can help.

In the 4.0 release, we added a new AirPlay Mirroring feature. Like many developers, we had our fingers crossed that native app development would be coming to the Apple TV and were hopeful that this feature would come in handy some day. We were thrilled to be proven right on September 9th!

Any file or document you’re working with on the Mac can automatically be transferred to any Apple TV and projected onto a full-size 1080p screen using AirPlay. Here’s what it looks like while I’m working in my living room:

xScope Mirror running on a TV screen

This means you can work directly in Photoshop, or any other editor, and changes to your 1920 × 1080 layers will be presented in real-time to the big screen. All you have to do in xScope is check a box in preferences and select the name of the Apple TV you want to use:

xScope preferences for AirPlay Mirroring

After enabling the feature, just drop a file on the xScope Dock icon or connect to Photoshop using the Mirror tool and your pixels will immediately start getting bigger!

Even if you’re not working on a tvOS app, this trick is a great way to review designs in a conference room: it’s much easier than everyone hovering around a laptop and it keeps dirty fingers off of your beautiful screen :-)