What is AirPlay: An Explanation of Apple Technology for Wireless Mirroring and Streaming

AirPlay lets you stream content from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your Apple TV, HomePod, or other compatible devices, like speakers or smart TVs. AirPlay is part of Apple’s proprietary wireless streaming technology that lets you stream audio, video, and other media from one device to another on a network.

AirPlay requires a compatible device, such as an Apple TV, or a speaker with AirPlay support. You’ll also need a device that can act as an AirPlay source, such as an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. You can then use AirPlay on the source device to select an AirPlay-compatible device to cast to. The content is sent wirelessly from the source to that device.

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For example, if you have an Apple TV connected to your TV and want to watch movies from your iPhone, you can use AirPlay to stream movies from your iPhone to your Apple TV and watch them on your TV. Likewise, if you have an AirPlay-enabled speaker system and want to listen to music from your Mac, you can use AirPlay to send music from your Mac to your speakers.

AirPlay on Mac is one of the easiest ways for users to stream or mirror content from their Apple devices to a TV, speaker, or Apple TV. This article explains all AirPlay features and how to use them.

What is AirPlay?

What is AirPlay: An Explanation of Apple Technology for Wireless Mirroring and Streaming

AirPlay is Apple’s technology that enables screen mirroring and streaming between devices. Like Chromecast, it works with video and audio, available locally on devices and online. Add photos, videos, presentations, music, and podcasts from your iPhone, Mac, iPod touch or iPad.

Although AirPlay is hardcoded into Apple devices and everything else says “Works with Apple AirPlay,” the experience is completely seamless and requires no special software.

While the first AirPlay For Windows 10 Free Download was one-to-one, allowing you to stream from a phone to a speaker or from an iPad to a TV, AirPlay 2, released in 2018, expanded its capabilities. Now you can use your Apple device to stream audio to multiple speakers simultaneously. Unfortunately, though, you can’t stream videos to multiple devices at the same time.

AirPlay For Window Download requires that both the source and receiver are on the same Wi-Fi network or connected to the same router via Ethernet. Apple introduced a feature in 2014 called Air-to-Peer AirPlay that works even when two devices aren’t on the same network, but it doesn’t seem to work with all AirPlay features.

How is AirPlay Different from Bluetooth?

There are a couple of key differences that make AirPlay a better alternative to Bluetooth.

  • AirPlay works with Wi-Fi.
  • AirPlay can send both video and audio.
  • Usually, the system does not owe much to the Internet.
  • AirPlay can be more advanced than Bluetooth because it relies on Internet protocols rather than the limitations of Bluetooth.

Which Devices Support AirPlay?

All iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac models manufactured after late 2012 or after they have run the most recent version of their operating system are compatible with AirPlay. The breadth of its Windows compatibility is limited to the ability to use AirPlay on iTunes for Windows. Since they can all start a stream or mirror from them to a receiver device, all of them are effectively sender devices.

In contrast to the sender devices—which are mostly made by Apple—the AirPlay receivers consist of:

  • a selection of Vizio, LG, Samsung, and Sony smart TVs.
  • Certain Roku televisions and streaming gadgets
  • A few Fire TV models
  • Arcam, B&O, Bluesound, Bose, B&W, Denon, Integra, JBL, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Yamaha, and other brands are among those offering AV receivers that may be chosen.
  • Choose speakers from B&O, Bluesound, Bose, Denon, Harman Kardon, JBL, Philips, Sonos, Yamaha, and other brands, as well as HomePod variants.
  • Mac models from 2017 or later that run macOS Monterey

The Apple website has a comprehensive list of devices that are compatible with AirPlay. Additionally, the “Works with Apple AirPlay” mark may be used to identify a device that is AirPlay compatible.

How to Mirror and Stream Media Using AirPlay

What is AirPlay: An Explanation of Apple Technology for Wireless Mirroring and Streaming

As previously indicated, AirPlay may be used to broadcast music, movies, videos, podcasts, and more. It may also be used to mirror or expand the screen on your Mac computer as well as the screen on your iPad or iPhone.

How to use AirPlay to Stream Media

  • Look for the AirPlay symbol on apps if you want to stream media from them on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone. It is usually located directly beside the playback controls. To acquire it, though, you might occasionally need to go to the share menu or settings.
  • When you tap the AirPlay button, an Apple device will appear with a list of nearby compatible devices. You may now proceed by selecting the device to AirPlay the content on.
  • To end AirPlay, simply press the symbol once again and choose the device you’re using.

If you wish to use iTunes on a Windows computer to AirPlay material, the same methods apply. Additionally, you may use Control Centre to launch AirPlay on compatible speakers if you’re attempting to stream audio but can’t see an AirPlay button in the app. You can broadcast audio on several speakers at once if your speakers are AirPlay 2 compliant.

How to Use AirPlay to Mirror Content

What is AirPlay: An Explanation of Apple Technology for Wireless Mirroring and Streaming

  • To mirror your iPhone, iPad, or Mac screen to an AirPlay 2-compatible Apple TV or Smart TV, open Control Center on your device and click the Screen Mirroring icon. If you’re using an older version of macOS, instead of using the Screen Mirroring icon in the Control Center, you’ll need to click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar. If you don’t see the AirPlay
  • icon, go to System Preferences > Display, and enable the “Show mirror in the menu bar when available” option.
  • When you click the Screen Mirroring or AirPlay icon, your device will show a list of compatible screens and let you choose which screens you want to mirror.
    If your AirPlay-enabled display shows a password, enter it on your primary device.
  • Once mirroring has started, you can click the Screen Mirroring icon to reveal more options, including using your TV to magnify your Mac’s screen.


While AirPlay does what it’s supposed to do beautifully, it also has some limitations. For example, you can only use AirPlay from one app at a time on your Apple device. So you cannot simultaneously play a movie from the Apple TV app via AirPlay to your TV and a song from Apple Music via AirPlay to the speaker.

Furthermore, as mentioned, AirPlay is limited to Apple devices. While some solutions and hacks are available on other platforms, they are time-consuming and often invaluable.

AirPlay For Windows is a great option for Apple users who want to stream or mirror content wirelessly. It’s especially useful if you use a lot of Apple products because it’s integrated into the Apple ecosystem. Additionally, Apple is constantly updating and expanding AirPlay’s features, ensuring it remains an important tool that meets the changing needs of users.

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