How to Use AirPlay

Minimum requirements and basic information

AirPlay settings on Apple TV

Apple Inc.

AirPlay lets you stream all kinds of content from your computer or iOS device to other computers, speakers, and TVs. It's a powerful technology that's only going to get more useful as more products support it.

To start using AirPlay, here are some tips on how to use it with existing devices and apps.

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 4.2 or later, iTunes 10.2 and newer, iPhone 3GS and up, 3rd-generation iPod Touch and higher, and all iPad and Apple TV models.

Get the Free Remote App

If you have an iOS device, you'll probably want to download Apple's free Remote app from the App Store. Remote allows you to use your iOS device to control your computer's iTunes library and the devices it streams content to, which saves running back and forth to your computer each time you want to change something.

How to Use AirPlay with iTunes

When you have a version of iTunes that supports AirPlay and at least one other compatible device, you'll see the AirPlay icon.

Depending on the version of iTunes you have, the AirPlay icon will appear in different locations. In iTunes 11+, the AirPlay icon is in the top left, next to the play/forward/backward buttons. In iTunes 10, you'll find it in the bottom right-hand corner of the iTunes window.

The AirPlay video button looks like a triangle beneath a square. AirPlay has another button for audio, which looks like a triangle beneath three concentric circles.

iTunes on a Mac with the AirPlay icon highlighted

Clicking this button lets you select a device to stream audio or video to via AirPlay. While earlier versions of AirTunes required you to set iTunes to seek out these devices, that's no longer necessary; iTunes now automatically detects them.

As long as your computer and the device you want to connect to are on the same Wi-Fi network, you'll see the names you've given the devices in the menu that appears when you click the AirPlay icon.

iTunes on a Mac with the AirPlay menu highlighted

Use this menu to select the AirPlay device you want the music or video to play through, and then begin playing music or video and you'll hear it playing through the device you selected.

You can select more than one output device at the same time.

Using AirPlay and HomePod

Apple's HomePod is a wireless speaker that connects to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to let you stream audio content from iOS devices and computers. It also works with digital assistant Siri so you can cue up playlists and select play podcasts by asking for them.

HomePod is compatible with iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, 7th-generation or newer iPod Touch, iPad Pro, 5th-generation or later iPad, iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad Mini 4 or newer.

Using AirPlay With Third-Party Speakers

Other than the HomePod, third-party manufacturers make speakers that offer built-in AirPlay support.

Some come with built-in compatibility, and others require aftermarket upgrades. Either way, with these components, you won't need a HomePod or Apple TV to send content to; you'll be able to send it directly to your stereo from iTunes or compatible apps.

Set up your speakers (and consult the included manual for directions on using AirPlay) and then select them from the AirPlay menu in iTunes or your apps to stream audio to them.

Having problems using AirPlay because the icon's gone missing from your iOS device or Mac? Learn how to fix it in How to Find a Missing AirPlay Icon.

Using AirPlay and Apple TV

Another simple way to use AirPlay in the home is via the Apple TV, the tiny set-top box that connects your HDTV to your iTunes library and the iTunes Store. It supports music, video, photos, and content you stream from apps.

With the tap of a button, you can take the video you're watching on your iPad and send it to your HDTV via the Apple TV.

If you're sending content from your computer to the Apple TV, use the method already described. If you're using an app that displays the AirPlay icon (most common in web browsers and audio and video apps), use the AirPlay icon to select the Apple TV as the device to stream that content to.

If the Apple TV doesn't show up in the AirPlay menu, make sure AirPlay is enabled by going to the Apple TV's Settings menu and then enabling it from the AirPlay menu.

With Apple TV, you can also mirror an iOS device to your TV. Use this option to play mobile games on the larger screen or share videos with a whole room

You can access the Screen Mirroring setting through an iOS device's Control Center.

Airplay on iPad

AirPlay and Apps

A growing number of iOS apps support AirPlay, too. Since iOS 4.3, third-party apps have been able to take advantage of AirPlay. Look for the icon in the app. Support is most common in audio or video apps, but you may also find it in videos embedded in web pages.

Tap the AirPlay icon to select the destination you want to stream content to from your iOS device.

Want to use AirPlay on a non-Mac or iOS device? Learn how in Where to Get AirPlay for Windows.