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[2023 Updated] How to Turn on and Use AirPlay on Mac?

Elsa Updated on Jul 21, 2023 Filed to: Screen Mirroring

Apple AirPlay is a proprietary wireless streaming technology that allows the transmission of audio and video content from devices to other compatible devices such as iOS, MacOS, Apple TV, and other Apple hardware, etc.

It can stream anything from any Apple device to a big screen. With AirPlay on Mac, users can broadcast music, photos, and videos. It can even mirror the whole screen to make big presentations or just share content onto a larger display.

To know more about how to turn on and use AirPlay on Mac, stay with us till the end of the article.

airplay on mac

Part 1. What Is AirPlay & How Does It Work?

AirPlay is Apple’s exclusive built-in wireless media streaming and mirroring technology. AirPlay can stream audio, video, images, and whatever is on your screen between Apple devices, AirPlay-enabled speakers, and similar compatible devices. AirPlay creates a wireless connection between two or more compatible devices to communicate with Apple’s streaming protocol. However, AirPlay is not universally supported by all devices, hence both devices need to support AirPlay for media casting.

Some people may ask: does AirPlay require WiFi? Or does AirPlay use Bluetooth? On one hand, this direct peer-to-peer connection does not require a Wi-Fi network with internet access to cast media between supported devices. On the other hand, AirPlay uses Bluetooth to establish a pairing connection between the casting and receiving devices, however, it does not use Bluetooth to transmit data between them.

Part 2. What Devices Can Support AirPlay?

Because AirPlay is restricted to Apple devices, let us determine which devices are supported by AirPlay.

1List of Apple Devices

There are a variety of different Apple devices, but not every Apple device is AirPlay compatible.

Apple devices that support AirPlay 2:

  • iPhone 7 or later
  • iPad Pro 2nd generation or later
  • iPad 6th generation or later
  • iPad Air 3rd generation or later
  • iPad Mini 5th generation or later
  • MacBook 2018 or later
  • MacBook Pro 2018 or later
  • MacBook Air 2018 or later
  • Mac Mini 2020 or later
  • iMac 2019 or later
  • iMac Pro

2Smart TVs Compatible with AirPlay

AirPlay is supported on a variety of Smart TVs. Most TV brands have started to support AirPlay (Apple TV is no exception), such as Samsung, Sony, Roku TV, and VIZIO. If you are not sure whether your smart TV supports AirPlay, you can check your TV brand and model in AirPlay-Enabled TVs and Video Accessories. Another approach is to confirm this with the TV manufacturer.

If your Smart TV is not compatible with Apple’s AirPlay, you must use a 3rd-party screen mirroring software such as AirDroid Cast.

Part 3. How to AirPlay from Mac?

After verifying that your devices are supported by AirPlay, now you can stream media from your Mac to other compatible devices.

1How to Turn On AirPlay on Mac

So where is AirPlay on Macbook? Turning on AirPlay allows you to duplicate or extend your Mac’s workspace to a compatible receiver display. The exact step-by-step process varies depending on your macOS version.

To know how to turn on AirPlay on Mac, you should go to System Preferences > Displays > and check the box next to Show Mirroring Options in the Menu Bar When Available. By doing so, you can enable AirPlay on Mac easily.

How to use AirPlay on Mac

Then you can follow these steps to use AirPlay on Mac (or set up your Mac to be AirPlay Receiver).

If you are using macOS 11 (Big Sur) and Later:

  1. Step 1.From the menu bar, click the Control Center icon and Screen Mirroring.
  2. Control Center in macOS 11

  3. Step 2.Choose how you want to use your receiving display by clicking the TV you want to mirror to, or Use As Separate Display.
  4. AirPlay Mac to TV in macOS 11

To know how to turn off AirPlay, click the Control Center icon > Screen Mirroring again. Click on your receiving display name to turn off AirPlay.

If you are using macOS 10.5 (Catalina) and Below:

  1. Step 1.From the menu bar, click the AirPlay icon and select your receiving display.
  2. AirPlay icon on macOS 10.6

  3. Step 2.Choose how you want to use your receiving display by clicking Mirror or Use As Separate Display.
  4. AirPlay Mac to TV in macOS 10.5

Note: To turn off AirPlay, click the AirPlay icon > Stop AirPlay. This will disable the AirPlay feature in Macbook.

2How to AirPlay from Mac to iPhone/iPad

It's possible to AirPlay from Mac to another AirPlay-compatible device, like iPhone or iPad. Expanding or mirroring your screen is optimal for the sharing of files, presenting and entertainment, etc. In this section, we will also go over how to mirror your Mac to your iPad or iPhone.

To connect your Mac to your iPhone or iPad, both devices must be using the same Wi-Fi and Apple ID. For easy connection, follow the steps:

  1. Step 1.Click the AirPlay icon from the menu bar on the Mac screen.
  2. AirPlay Mac to iPhone iPad

  3. Step 2.Choose your iPhone or iPad from the available list of devices.
  4. Step 3.Enter the passcode on your Mac if it appears on your device's screen.
  5. Step 4.Mac screen will begin mirroring on your selected device.

3How to AirPlay from Mac to TV

Using Apple AirPlay, you can use your TV as an extra screen or mirror the entire display of your Mac. Here is how to AirPlay from a Mac to a TV. Ensure that your Smart TV is compatible with AirPlay by reviewing AirPlay-Enabled TVs and Video Accessories.

  1. Step 1.If the Screen Mirroring icon does not appear in the top menu, click the Apple icon and System Preferences.
  2. Step 2.From the left menu, click Control Center and select Always Show in Menu Bar next to Screen Mirroring.
  3. turn on AirPlay on Mac

  4. Step 3.Click the Screen Mirroring icon in the menu bar and click on your Smart TV.
  5. AirPlay Mac to TV from menu bar

  6. Step 4.Enter the 4-digit AirPlay code that appears on your Smart TV to cast your Mac to your TV.
  7. enter AirPlay code to mirror Mac to TV

To end your AirPlay cast from your Mac to TV, click the Screen Mirroring icon and your TV display name again. Now your Mac screen is no longer cast to your TV.

However, how to mirror Macbook to tv that is not compatible with AirPlay? Don't worry. Try to use third-party screen mirroring software such as AirDroid Cast.

4How to AirPlay from Mac to Windows - AirDroid Cast

AirPlay requires that both devices be AirPlay compatible. But unfortunately, AirPlay falls short when it comes to casting or screen sharing to a majority of devices. That means you cannot mirror a Mac to a Windows PC using AirPlay, or you may fail when you try to screen mirror Android to Mac, because Windows PC and Android device doesn’t support AirPlay. But don’t sweat it, because AirDroid Cast’s cross-platform casting app makes screen mirroring effortless.

AirDroid Cast

AirDroid Cast is a powerful screen share and mirroring app supported by iOS, Mac, Windows, Android, and web browsers. Now that compatibility is no longer a concern, simply follow these steps to use AirDroid Cast.

Note: These steps also apply when you try to mirror Android to Mac. On your Android device, simply enter the 9-digit code you find on your Mac and start connecting.

Steps to follow:

  1. Step 1.Download and install AirDroid Cast on the device that you want to share the screen. If you want to mirror from Mac to Windows, then you should download the app in your Mac; If you want to mirror Android to Mac, then you should download it in your Android device.
  2. Step 2.On the device that you want to mirror your screen to, open the web browser and navigate to to use the web version.
  3. AirDroid Cast Web

  4. Step 3.Back on your Mac in the AirDroid Cast app, click Cast to.
  5. Cast to on AirDroid Cast

  6. Step 4.Enter the 9-digit code that appears on your Windows computer. And allow the casting requests.
  7. allow permissions to cast Mac to Windows

Part 4. How to AirPlay to Mac

Assuming your receiver and display devices are both compatible with Apple’s AirPlay, then let us discuss how to use AirPlay on your Mac. For example, how to AirPlay iPhone/iPad to Mac or how to mirror Android to Mac.

1How to AirPlay to Mac from iPhone/iPad

Some of you may be wondering: how to AirPlay from iPhone to Mac? All Apple devices support AirPlay so it is easy to connect your iOS devices to your Mac. However, Android needs special arrangements for AirPlay with Mac as it does not support the AirPlay feature.

Once you have installed macOS Monterey on a supported Mac, there’s not much you need to AirPlay from an iOS device to your computer. Here is how to AirPlay from iPhone or iPad.

  1. Step 1.On your iPhone or iPad, search the AirPlay button in the Control Center or within supported apps.
  2. Step 2.To share the screen of your device, tap the “Screen Mirroring” toggle in the Control Center.
  3. AirPlay iPhone to Mac

  4. Step 3.Select your Mac from the AirPlay list.
  5. Step 4.After a few seconds, your iPhone or iPad content will be wirelessly streamed to your computer.

2How to AirPlay to Mac from Android

AirPlay uses Apple’s proprietary protocol to stream your media between compatible devices. The greatest limitation of AirPlay is that it requires both the sending and receiving devices to be compatible with Apple technology. Therefore, Android devices are not capable of using AirPlay. If you are an Android user, you may be feeling a bit excluded.

Fortunately, multi-platform cast-screen sharing apps like AirDroid Cast can assist. AirDroid Cast is a great alternative to stream music, videos, and photos from your Android device to your Mac. AirDroid Cast also has a convenient mobile app available for download in the Google Play Store.

You can check this part to know how to use AirDroid Cast.

Part 5. Improve AirPlay Quality for Better Streaming Experience

There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing constant buffering and choppy video on AirPlay. Poor video and sound quality can put a damper on your favorite show or movie. Luckily, with just a few simple tweaks, you can drastically improve your AirPlay streaming experience.

Your Wi-Fi network is important. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is strong and stable enough to support AirPlay streaming. Move your devices closer to your router or access point.

Don’t overload your network with other traffic. Close any unused apps that may be using your Wi-Fi network to reduce congestion and improve the AirPlay streaming quality.

Lastly, most AirPlay streaming issues are resolved by disabling Bluetooth on your Mac. Bluetooth has been known to interfere with the AirPlay streaming quality.

  1. Step 1.Go to System Settings on Mac.
  2. Step 2.On the left menu, click Bluetooth. Click the toggle button to disable Bluetooth on your Mac.
  3. turn off Bluetooth on Mac

Part 6. A Set of Circumstances Using AirPlay on Mac

Whether you are casting to or from your Mac, you can enhance your experience while sharing presentations, watching videos, playing music, gaming, and photo sharing.

AirPlay Photos on Mac

AirPlay is a convenient way to share a collection of photos with friends and family on a larger screen. You can relive special moments with friends and loved ones by sharing family vacations, weddings, or other event photos.

AirPlay Audio & Music on Mac

Listening to your favorite tunes or watching movies on your Mac does not always give you the best audio experience. AirPlay allows you to stream audio and music to your compatible speakers or similar devices wirelessly so you can feel like you’re at a concert or in a theater.

AirPlay Video Content on Mac

Online videos and movies are always better on a big screen. AirPlay quickly lets you experience better resolution and audio on your TV or projector, so the whole family can watch videos or movies from your Mac on the living room TV.

Part 7. What To Do If AirPlay Not Working on Mac?

AirPlay is a handy way to wirelessly stream media from one device to another. However, what happens when you experience issues with AirPlay not working on your Mac? Don’t worry, we have several troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve the most common AirPlay problems.

1Common Problems When AirPlay Not Working

If you’re struggling with AirPlay not working, you’re not alone. We compiled a few simple troubleshooting steps to help resolve common AirPlay issues.

AirPlay Icon Not Showing on Mac: where is the AirPlay icon on Mac? You may be asking this question when you find AirPlay not showing up on Mac. This problem happens when you try to AirPlay Mac to TV or other devices, but you don't see the AirPlay icon on the menu bar of your screen. So you can't find AirPlay on Mac.

Can't Turn on AirPlay on Mac: Why can't I turn on AirPlay on Mac even if you have already selected to turn on AirPlay?

AirPlay Not Connecting: Some people may find AirPlay not connecting to the mirroring devices, even if the AirPlay is showing on the menu and AirPlay is turned on.

Don't worry. These AirPlay not working issues can be fixed with the troubleshooting solutions below.

2Troubleshooting Solutions for AirPlay Not Working

Still experiencing AirPlay issues? Follow these useful steps to get back to streaming media with AirPlay.

Fix 1: Make Sure to Connect to the Same WiFi Network

AirPlay requires that both your Mac and receiving device are on the same network. To view your Mac’s Wi-Fi network, click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.

check WiFi connection for AirPlay

The network on your receiving device should match.

Fix 2: Make Sure it's AirPlay-Compatible Device

AirPlay is only supported for Mac computers with macOS 12 or later. Verify that your Mac is compatible with AirPlay by reviewing AirPlay-Enabled TVs and Video Accessories.

Fix 3: Check Firewall Settings on your Mac

To be certain that your Mac’s firewall is not blocking your AirPlay connections, you may need to turn off your firewall temporarily.

To disable your Mac firewall, navigate to System Settings. Click on Network > Firewall.

disable Firewall on Mac

Click the slider to disable your Mac’s firewall.

Fix 4: Enable AirPlay Again

Try toggling AirPlay on and off on your Mac. This would work like a magic sometimes. Simply go to System Preferences > Displays > AirPlay.

Fix 5: Restart Both Devices

Reboot your Mac and the receiving device to reset your connection. To reboot your Mac, click the Apple logo and select Restart in the drop-down.

restart Mac

Fix 6: Update Latest OS Software

If you still can’t turn on AirPlay, check that your Mac is updated with the latest software.

To update your Mac, navigate to System Settings > Software Update. If your Mac needs to update, the update appears under Updates Available.

update Mac OS

Click Restart Now to apply the update.

Part 8. AirPlay vs Miracast vs Chromecast vs Screen Mirroring What Are Differences?

AirPlay, Miracast, Chromecast, and screen mirroring are popular stream or content mirroring applications used to share photos, videos, and similar content from one device to another. However, these applications differ in their features, compatibility, and supported devices.

AirPlay is an Apple's exclusive content streaming protocol that uses Wi-Fi to connect your devices. The biggest limitation of AirPlay is that each device must be compatible with AirPlay.

Miracast is a standard technology developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and supported by a wide range of Android and Windows devices. Similar to AirPlay, Miracast uses Wi-Fi to directly establish a connection between compatible media devices. Miracast allows you to duplicate or extend an entire workspace to another device.

Chromecast is a physical device developed by Google that uses your internet connection through Wi-Fi to stream content from phones, tablets, or computers to other displays. Modern Chromecast devices are pre-installed with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Screen mirroring is a technology used to display content from one device to another with a larger screen in real-time, such as screen mirroring iPhone to Samsung TV, or screen mirroring Android to Windows PC. Unlike AirPlay. Miracast, and Chromecast, screen mirroring technology have a wide range of device support. It usually works as normal no matter what device you are trying to mirror. Therefore, people think the screen mirroring feature is more acceptable as it brings a much better mirroring experience.

Part 9. Conclusion and FAQs About AirPlay

AirPlay is an Apple-built protocol that allows streaming, extending, or mirroring screens between devices on the same local area network. Through the AirPlay feature, you can stream the entire screen of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac or you can stream just an application’s display to a TV screen wirelessly. But if you want to mirror an Android phone to other devices, you can use AirDroid Cast, that's a wonderful software for screen sharing and mirroring.

FAQs About AirPlay

How do I Turn AirPlay on my Mac?
Navigate to the AirDrop & Handle settings from your System Settings to find the AirPlay Receiver slider. Toggling on and off the slider allows you full control of when AirPlay is enabled or disabled on your Mac.
What is AirPlay mode on Mac?
AirPlay mode on your Mac is when you are using another display to extend or duplicate your Mac’s screen. AirPlay mode comes in handy when you need a little extra workspace or want to share photos, videos, or music with others nearby.
How do I AirPlay from my Mac to my LG TV?
First, make sure your LG TV is compatible with AirPlay. Next, make sure your LG TV is on the same network as your Mac. It does not need internet access but should be on the same Wi-Fi. Then, you can simply click the AirPlay button on your Mac, enter the AirPlay code, and you are connected!
Can you AirPlay anything on Mac?
Not all content can be streamed from your Mac using AirPlay. AirPlay is used to stream media such as presentations, videos, photos, music, web browsers, and some games. But, some applications are not supported by AirPlay.
Does AirPlay lose quality?
It depends. AirPlay can lose quality depending on the compatibility and quality of your AirPlay receiver, the media content you are streaming, and the quality of the Wi-Fi network between your devices. It is also possible that quality can be reduced due to compression issues during streaming.
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Elsa has worked on a number of iOS & Android solutions, she can always find her way around almost any application. She is an accomplished, skilled and versatile writer with more than 7 years of technical article writing experience.
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