What is AirPlay? All Basic Info

If you ever need to mirror your iOS device’s screen, you can use AirPlay. If you are new to it and you have no clue what it is, the following guide should tell you what AirPlay is and how you can use it on your devices.

Roger Smith Last Updated: Mar. 17, 2020

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If you have been in the Apple ecosystem for some time, you may have noticed the term AirPlay is thrown around many times. AirPlay is one of the useful features you get on an iOS device and it makes your life easier in many ways.

What is AirPlay

What is AirPlay

Not only does AirPlay work on iOS devices but it can be used on desktop computers as well. So as long as you have a modern device and a bit of know-how of tech things, you can get started with this amazing feature offered by Apple.

What is AirPlay

So far you only know the name of the feature but you do not know exactly what it does on your devices. That is exactly what we are going to reveal in this section of the guide.

AirPlay is a feature built into the iOS operating system to mirror the contents of your device to an AirPlay receiver. Most Apple devices including the Apple TV are AirPlay enabled by default so you can start mirroring your iOS device’s screen to those devices without installing any third-party apps.

However, if your device does not support AirPlay, you will need to install an app on your device to add the AirPlay compatibility. All the Windows machines do not have AirPlay on them and you need to use a third-party app to use the feature on those machines.

How to Turn On/Off AirPlay

Now that it is clear to you what the feature is and briefly what it does on your devices, the next thing you may want to learn is how to use AirPlay. Of course after knowing what amazing things it does, you will definitely be interested in trying it out on your compatible devices.

Since AirPlay is built into the operating system of your Apple devices, you can open a panel on your devices to toggle the feature on and off. Apple has given users an extremely easy way to enable and disable AirPlay and that is what we are going to show you in the following subsections.

1. How to Turn On/Off AirPlay on iPhone

If there is one device where AirPlay is used the most, it is the iPhone. iPhone gives you a pretty easy method to enable the feature and use it with your other devices.

Step 1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and turn on Bluetooth if it is not already.

Step 2. Open Wi-Fi in the Settings app and connect your iPhone to the WiFi network where your AirPlay receiver is connected.

Step 3. Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone to reveal Control Center. When it is revealed, tap on the option that says AirPlay to enable the feature.

How to Turn On AirPlay

How to Turn On AirPlay

Your iPhone will start casting your screen to your chosen AirPlay receiver and that is how you turn on AirPlay on an iPhone. To turn AirPlay off, simply tap on it in Control Center and it will be disabled. The steps should work on almost all iPhone models.

2. How to Turn On/Off AirPlay on Mac

Turning the AirPlay option on and off on a Mac is also fairly easy. The option to enable and disable the feature is located right in your Mac’s menu bar so locating it should not take too long.

Step 1. On your Mac, head into System Preferences > Displays and checkmark the option that says Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available.

Step 2. You will find a new icon in your menu bar. Click on it and select Turn Mirroring On to turn AirPlay on your Mac.

Turn On AirPlay on Mac

Turn On AirPlay on Mac

Your Mac should now be able to receive contents from any AirPlay sender device. To turn the feature off, simply click on the feature icon in the menu bar and select Turn Mirroring Off. It will disable the feature on your machine.

3. How to Turn On/Off AirPlay on Apple TV

Toggling the AirPlay option on an Apple TV also only takes a few taps. The following should teach you how you can do it on the Apple TV you have.

Step 1. From the main screen of your Apple TV, choose Settings and open it.

Step 2. When you see the settings options on your screen, select and open AirPlay.

Step 3. Select the AirPlay option and you will be able to enable and disable it depending on its current status.

Turn On AirPlay on Apple TV

Turn On AirPlay on Apple TV

How Does AirPlay Work

AirPlay uses wireless technologies on compatible devices to connect one device to another. Then it allows you to stream content from one device to the other. The device that sends content is called sender and the one that receives content is called receiver.

Most Apple devices have built-in support for AirPlay so that you can stream your content and screens without the need for any third-party tools. For the devices that do not have AirPlay support, you can fill the gap using third-party apps.

Bonus Tip: An Alternative of AirPlay to Mirror Screen

AirPlay is used to mirror screens of iOS devices on large TVs and monitors. While the feature does let you do the task without any issues, there are times when it simply does not work. Also, the feature will not work with a Windows computer.

Enter AnyTrans, an app that solves the compatibility issue for you. It adds the AirPlay support to both Windows and Mac machines and allows you to mirror your screen without a single issue. If screen mirroring is what you are looking to do, AnyTrans is the way to do it. To get more: Mirror, Record and Capture Screen, One Solution for All >

An Alternative of AirPlay to Mirror Screen

An Alternative of AirPlay to Mirror Screen

The Bottom Line

AirPlay is a useful feature on your Apple devices and it is important that you learn how to use it for various purposes on your devices. We hope the above guide tells you what the feature is and how you can begin using it on your compatible phones and computers.

Roger Smith

Work for iMobie team for 5 years as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS or Android related issues.