What is Magic Mirror?

If you’re thinking about building your own smart mirror, you might have seen mentions of ‘Magic Mirror’. Let’s have a look at what Magic Mirror is and how it’s used for your smart mirror.

Magic Mirror (known as MagicMirror²) is open source software used to run a smart mirror.

Think of MagicMirror² as the brains that run your smart mirror. While there are other software options, MagicMirror² is the most popular option thanks to the third party modules people have developed for it.

MagicMirror² is free to use and there’s a large community of smart mirror builders supporting it.

What Can Magic Mirror Do?

MagicMirror² is modular, which means you can pick and choose the features you want to use for your smart mirror.

While there are hundreds of different modules you can easily install into your smart mirror, here are some examples of popular modules:

  • Weather report: see weather forecasts of your local weather
  • Local news: see news bulletins and headlines based on topics you’re interested in
  • Alexa: add voice commands and integrate Amazon’s Alexa into your smart mirror
  • Facial Recognition: customize your smart mirror based on who walks into the room
  • Calendar: view your calendar and see upcoming appointments
  • Lists: see your shopping list or your day’s To-do list

There are plenty of other modules and if you know a bit of coding, you can try creating your own custom modules. As you will see throughout this website, it’s very easy to add modules to your smart mirror without knowing how to code.

Here is a close-up of my smart mirror running Magic Mirror:

Smart mirror layout

While I only display a few basic modules on my smart mirror, you can fully customize your smart mirror to display as much or as little as you want.

Running Magic Mirror on a Raspberry Pi

Most smart mirror builds (including the one I built as documented on this site) use Raspberry Pi to run the software. If you’ve never used a Raspberry Pi before, think of it as a credit card sized computer.

While a PC uses Windows, Raspberry Pi has their own operating system. This is covered in more detail in my other articles.

The key point to remember is that MagicMirror² is software you install and run on a Raspberry Pi. MagicMirror² is incredibly easy to install, and once it’s on your Raspberry Pi, you’ll be able to start customizing your smart mirror’s features.

Small wood frame smart mirror

Alternatives to Magic Mirror

While MagicMirror² is the most popular option for smart mirrors, it’s not the only choice. If you plan on building a smart mirror using an old tablet, you may prefer to run your smart mirror on Android instead of a Raspberry Pi.

Search the Google Play store for ‘Magic Mirror’ or ‘Smart Mirror’ and you’ll see plenty of different apps to use for your smart mirror.

While they may not have as many features as MagicMirror² does, if you’re looking for a simple smart mirror, it might be the right choice for you.