Many users buy the Apple TV set-top box (you can buy it here) exclusively for wirelessly transferring content from Mac and iOS devices via AirPlay to the TV. This is a very handy feature that usually works great.
On macOS and iOS, AirPlay functions differently. AirPlay is a powerful tool that offers a lot of opportunities, for example, to share photos with family and friends, hold a presentation or move the Mac desktop outside of the laptop (for example, on a TV).
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What is Apple AirPlay?
AirPlay is Apple’s proprietary protocol for wireless broadcasting, which allows you to send video and audio from a Mac or iOS device to an AirPlay-enabled receiver such as Apple TV (wireless speaker, headphones, transmitter, etc.). This technology was first introduced as AirTunes for iTunes in 2004.
At that time, AirPlay’s capabilities were limited only to wireless audio transmission, but in 2010 Apple added iOS support for AirPlay with the ability to broadcast video. A year later, the company implemented “mirroring” (mirroring) in AirPlay, and in May 2018 introduced a new version of the protocol – AirPlay 2.
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What is mirroring (screen repeat, screen mirroring, mirroring) AirPlay
AirPlay mirroring – the ability to duplicate the screen display of a Mac or iOS gadget on the receiver (Apple TV + TV) with AirPlay support. This functionality is supported by both iPhone and iPad, and Mac. Although mirroring can be used to frame video and audio files, some content may be subject to restrictions due to the risk of copyright infringement. If you try to “mirror” the Mac screen while playing protected iTunes content, such as video from Apple Music, you will see a gray window instead of video. But to bring any video from movie sites to TV – no problem.
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What is AirPlay 2?
Apple introduced a new version of the AirPlay protocol at the conference for WWDC 2017 developers. The manufacturer planned to add support for AirPlay 2 in the 11th edition of iOS 11, but the technology became available only in May 2018 with the release of the iOS 11.4 update. AirPlay 2 first introduced support for the multiroom mode, thanks to which owners of apple devices can use several gadgets to play music.
AirPlay 2 also supports Apple TV devices based on tvOS 11.4 or later. Apple HomePod speakers are updated automatically. Outdated devices from third-party manufacturers may not be compatible with AirPlay 2, the possibility of support should be clarified by the vendor.
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How to use AirPlay to transfer content or mirror
You can use the AirPlay function to either broadcast content to the receiver (audio or video), or display the screen of the current device (including audio) on it. Before you start working with the function, make sure that the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are active and the airplane mode is turned off on the device. The easiest way to work with AirPlay: click on the AirPlay icon and select the desired receiver from the list that appears.
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How to output video, photos, audio from iPhone / iPad to Apple TV (TV) using AirPlay
1. Swipe up on the screen to call “Control Center”. Owners of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, XS, XR and X need to swipe down from the upper right corner.
2. Press and hold your finger on the widget “Performed” on the right of the display until it opens
3. Click on the wireless icon (the icon with three circles and a triangle) next to the play items.
4. Wait until the list of receivers is displayed on the screen.
5. Click on the desired receiver and start playing media content.
To stop broadcasting, repeat the process, but in step 5, select iPhone or iPad.
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To mirror (repeat) the screen of an iPhone or iPad
1. Open “Command centre”.
2. Click Screen Repeat on the left side of the screen.
3. Wait until the nearest AirPlay appears on the display.
4. Select the receiver on which you want to display the image.
To stop the broadcast, repeat the process, in step 4, select Stop screen replay.
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How to output video, photos, audio from Mac to Apple TV (TV) using AirPlay
To connect your Mac to Apple TV, select the AirPlay icon in the menu bar, in iTunes or QuickTime, or open “System Settings” → “Monitors” to identify the AirPlay screen (it will work as a wireless display connected to the Mac). In this article, we talked about how to broadcast (transfer) video from a Mac to a TV screen.
The easiest way to organize the mirroring of your Mac is through the icon on the menu bar. Click the AirPlay icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and then select the desired receiver.
Once the connection is established, you can mirror the built-in display, “mirror” the Apple TV or turn off the monitor and use the Apple TV as an external screen.
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How to output video, photos, audio from iPhone / iPad to Mac or Windows using AirPlay
Despite the popularity of AirPlay among users, Apple does not allow the use of a Mac or Windows-based computers as receivers. Fortunately, you can get around Apple’s ban with third-party emulators, such as AirServer or Reflector. The first will cost $ 20. The application is available in versions for Mac and Windows and can work with Google Cast and Miracast. Users can try the program for free for 14 days. Reflector ($ 15) is a cheaper alternative to AirServer and also supports Google Cast and Miracast. A trial period of 7 days is available.
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Troubleshoot and configure AirPlay
At times, AirPlay may experience problems. Most often they are associated with external factors, but before resorting to radical measures, it is worth trying to reboot the equipment (iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, etc.).
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Broadcast, quality and other problems with AirPlay
In most cases, poor-quality video or audio broadcasts are associated with Wi-Fi network congestion. Too many Wi-Fi connections on the same channels that the receiver uses reduce the quality of the signal sent to the Apple TV. A similar situation can be observed when using obsolete devices that do not support high-speed connection. In this case, you need to either get as close as possible to the Apple TV or replace the iOS device with a more modern model.
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How to change the name of Apple TV
If you have several of your neighbor’s Apple TV or Apple TV set top boxes constantly appearing in the device list, you can give the receivers unique names. To do this, open “Settings” → “Basic” → “About this device” → “Name”.
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How to enable / disable AirPlay function on Apple TV
It is possible to completely disable the Apple TV function or restrict its use in the section “Settings” → “AirPlay”. Then you can select options as you wish: allow all users to broadcast via AirPlay; restrict the use of AirPlay only for devices on the same network; completely disable the function; Set password.
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Apple TV not displayed (not recognized) on Mac or iOS
If you don’t see your Apple TV on Mac, check if Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections are active. Make sure the set-top box is turned on and connected to the power outlet and to the TV via HDMI.
With a new connection via AirPlay, the Apple TV should automatically wake up from sleep mode, but in some cases you may need to use the remote control and wake the device manually. If the Apple TV still does not appear on the Mac or iPhone, try restarting the set-top box. To do this, open “Settings” → “System” → “Restart”. The whole process will take about 30 seconds, to complete it, you need to press the button on the remote control. In the event that Apple TV crashes, just unplug the power cord, wait 10 seconds, and turn it back on.
If none of the above methods solve the problem, reboot the original device (Mac, iPhone or iPad), and then try rebooting the network equipment. If this doesn’t help, use a different Mac or iOS device.
As a last resort, you can roll back Apple TV to factory settings: menu “Settings” → “System” → “Reset”. Follow the instructions below.
The advent of the AirPlay protocol indicates that Apple is determined to abandon the wired connection. As Wi-Fi standards improve, the speed, reliability and quality of AirPlay technology will increase.