How to: Use AirPlay

Minimum Requirements and Basic Information

 

by Sam Costello of Lifewire

For many years, the music, videos, and photos stored in our iTunes libraries and on our computers were stuck on those devices (barring complex file-sharing arrangements). For Apple products, that has all changed with the advent of AirPlay (formerly known as AirTunes).

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

You don’t have to wait for that day to come, though. If you want to start using AirPlay today, read on for tips on how to use it with many existing devices and apps.

AirPlay Requirements

You’ll need compatible devices in order to use AirPlay.

  • A Mac or PC
  • An iOS device running iOS 4.2 or later
  • iTunes 10.2 or later (some earlier versions support AirTunes or more limited AirPlay implementations)
  • Any iPad model
  • iPhone 3GS or higher
  • 3rd generation iPod touch or newer
  • Any Apple TV model
  • AirPort Express
  • Compatible third-party apps
  • Compatible third-party hardware like speakers or stereo receivers

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 as a remote (are you surprised?) to control your computer’s iTunes library and what devices it streams content to, which saves running back and forth to your computer each time you want to change something. Pretty handy!
Basic AirPlay Use

When you have a version of iTunes that supports AirPlay and at least one other compatible device, you’ll see the AirPlay icon, a rectangle with a triangle pushing into it from the bottom.

Depending on what 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.

This allows you to 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.

Use this menu to select the AirPlay device you want the music or video to play through (you can select more than one device at the same time), and then begin playing music or video and you’ll hear it playing through the device you selected.
See how to enable AirPlay for iPhone for a walkthrough.

AirPlay With AirPort Express

One of the easiest ways to take advantage of AirPlay is with the AirPort Express. This is around $100 USD and plugs directly into a wall socket.

AirPort Express connects to your Wi-Fi or Ethernet network and lets you connect speakers, stereos, and printers to it. With it serving as the AirPlay receiver, you can then stream content to any device attached to it.

Simply set up the AirPort Express and then choose it from the AirPlay menu in iTunes to stream content to it.
Supported Content

The AirPort Express supports streaming audio only, no video or photos. It also allows wireless printer sharing, so your printer no longer needs a cable attached to your computer to work.

Requirements

  • iTunes 10.2 or later
  • At least one AirPort Express running firmware 7.4.2 or newer (you can use multiple AirPort Expresses in the house)
  • Speakers (or printer) to plug into the AirPort Express

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.

The Apple TV and AirPlay is a powerful combination indeed: it supports music, video, photos, and content streamed from apps.

This means that 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.

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

Supported Content

  • Audio streamed from iTunes or iOS devices
  • Video streamed from iTunes or iOS devices
  • Video from iOS apps (e.g. YouTube app or video embedded in web pages)
  • Photos from computers or iOS devices
  • Mirroring a device’s screen on the TV

Requirements

  • Apple TV: 2nd generation Apple TV and newer for video and photos, or 1st generation Apple TV for audio only
  • iTunes 10.2 or higher
  • iOS device running iOS 4.3 or higher to stream content from third-party apps, or iOS 4.2 or higher to stream from built-in iOS apps
  • An HDTV

AirPlay and Apps

 

A growing number of iOS apps support AirPlay, too. While the apps that supported AirPlay were initially limited to those built by Apple and included in iOS, since iOS 4.3, third-party apps have been able to take advantage of AirPlay.

Just look for the AirPlay icon in the app. Support is most often found in audio or video apps, but it may also be found on videos embedded in web pages.

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

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Photos

Built-in iOS Apps That Support AirPlay

  • Music
  • iPod
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • YouTube
  • Safari

Requirements

  • AirPort Express, Apple TV, or compatible speakers
  • iOS device running iOS 4.3 or higher to stream content from third-party apps, or iOS 4.2 or higher to stream from built-in iOS apps
  • App that supports AirPlay
  • AirPlay With Speakers

AirPlay With Speakers

There are stereo receivers and speakers from third-party manufacturers that offer built-in AirPlay support.

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

Like with the AirPort Express or Apple TV, 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.

Supported Content

  • Audio

Requirements

  • iTunes 10.2 or later
  • Compatible speakers
  • iOS device running iOS 4.3 or higher to stream content from third-party apps, or iOS 4.2 or higher to stream from built-in iOS apps
  • App that supports AirPlay

 

Do you have a favorite AirPlay Hack? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: 20 + Must-Know Home Pod Tips

 

By Jeff Benjamin of 9to5Mac

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber who’s all in on the Apple ecosystem, then the HomePod is a compelling smart speaker. Not only does it sound excellent, but it has Siri built in, which can do things like control your music and control smart home accessories.

HomePod isn’t yet as “smart” as Google Home products with Google Assistant, or Amazon products with Alexa, but it has loads of potential, and already features many built in conveniences. Did you recently purchase a HomePod? In this hands-on video, we’ll walk through some of our top must-know tips for new HomePod users.

How to access HomePod settings

 

To access HomePod settings, open the Home app, tap the Home tab, long press on the HomePod tile, and tap the Details button in the bottom right-hand corner.

How to access and rename HomePod

Although each HomePod takes on the identity of the room its in, if you have multiple HomePods in the same room, giving them a unique name may be a good idea. To rename your HomePod, open its settings, and tap the name field at the top of the screen.

How to talk to Siri

There are two ways to invoke Siri. You can simply say ‘Hey Siri’ or you can long press anywhere on the HomePod touch panel and Siri will respond.

Keep in mind that when talking to Siri via Hey Siri, you don’t have to wait for Siri to respond before issuing your command.

If you make your command a part of the initial Hey Siri command, you will have more success controlling HomePod.

So instead of saying:

Hey Siri…. <wait for response> what’s the weather today?

Say:

Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?

How to disable ‘Hey Siri’

 

Disabling Hey Siri is easy, and can be done directly via the HomePod settings using the Hey Siri toggle. You can also disable Hey Siri by asking HomePod to do so via Siri.

Simply say:

Hey Siri, disable Hey Siri.

Siri will ask you to confirm with a yes before disabling Hey Siri. If you wish to enable Hey Siri again, you’ll need to do so directly from the HomePod Settings, or by manually invoking Siri using the HomePod’s touch controls.

How to control HomeKit accessories

HomePod can be used as a hub to control most HomeKit accessories like smart lights and thermostats. Simply say something like:
Hey Siri, turn on my string lights.

You can also use Siri to control HomeKit scenes. For example, say:

Hey Siri, goodnight.

How to set alarms on HomePod

 

 

Keep in mind that HomePod alarms are separate from the alarms you set on your iOS device. There are two ways to set an alarm with HomePod. The first way is to use Siri:

Hey Siri, Set an alarm for 8:00 AM.

You can also venture directly into the Home App, tap the HomePod tile, and tap the Alarms button in the bottom left hand corner.

How to play music with HomePod

 

The easiest way to play music on HomePod is to simply ask Siri. Just say:

Hey Siri, play <name of song, album or playlist>

Keep in mind that you can only play music Apple Music, iTunes Match, iCloud Music Library and iTunes Purchases via your voice.

How to adjust HomePod volume

 

There are several ways to go about adjusting volume with HomePod. For starters, you can use the touch controls to incrementally adjust volume up or down. You can also long press on the + or – buttons to quickly adjust volume in either direction.

Of course, you can also ask Siri to adjust volume as well. Some valid commands include, Hey Siri…
Set volume to max.
• Mute volume.
• Increase volume by 50%.
• Set volume to 10.
• Set volume to 85.

How to control music playback

 

You can use Siri to control music playback on HomePod. Simply say:

Hey Siri, <play/pause, skip, go back>.

The HomePod’s touch controls can also be used to control music playback, much like the EarPods inline remote controls.

• A single press of the touch panel will play/pause.
• A double press will skip to the next song.
• A triple press will go back to the previous song.

You can also pause and play music directly from the Home app. Simply open the Home app, and tap on the HomePod tile to pause or play music playback.

How to play similar music on HomePod

 

If you’re enjoying the currently playing song, simply say:
Hey Siri, play more songs like this.

Or you can say something like:

Hey Siri, make play the whole album.
Or:
Hey Siri, make a station from this song.

How to add a song to your library using Siri

If you’d like to save a now playing song to your music library, say:

Hey Siri, add this song to my library.

How to play Podcasts on HomePod

You can playback your favorite podcasts on HomePod by saying something like:

Hey Siri, play the latest episode of 9to5Mac’s Happy Hour.

Request the latest news from Siri

Hey Siri, what’s the latest news?

You can change your news source by saying:

Hey Siri, switch to (CNN, NPR, Fox News, or Washington Post)

How to add a song to Up Next using Siri

To keep the music playing, use the Up Next feature to queue up songs to play next. Say Hey Siri…
Add ‘Hotel California’ to Up Next.

If you’d like to check which song is queued to play next, say:
Hey Siri, what song is up next?

Access HomePod Now Playing from Control Center

Although it’s not very discoverable, it’s possible to control and view details about the currently playing song directly from an eligible device, like an iPhone, on the same network.

To do so, invoke Control Center, and long press on the Music widget. Scroll to your HomePod, and you should see the currently playing song. Tap on the HomePod to expand the Now Playing controls, which will allow you to play/pause, skip, and go back to the previous song.

You can also use the HomePod Now Playing controls to adjust playback volume directly.

How to fully control Apple Music on HomePod from an iOS device

It’s possible to fully control Apple Music, including selecting additional songs, and queueing up music, directly from an iOS device on the same Wi-Fi network as HomePod.

There are two ways to do so:

The first way is to invoke the HomePod Now Playing interface as described in the previous step, and tap on the album artwork to open the Music app. From there it’s possible to control your music just like you would when playing music directly on an iOS device.

The second way to access full HomePod music controls is to open the Music app, and tap the AirPlay button at the bottom of the Now Playing interface. Once you do, you will be able to access the HomePod, and control music playback directly.

Share the Up Next queue

 

One cool thing about controlling HomePod from an iOS device using the music app is that you, or anyone else on the same Wi-Fi network with Apple Music can contribute to the Up Next queue.

Simply access the HomePod controls as described in the previous steps, long press/3D Touch on a song, album or playlist, and select Play Next. This allows multiple people to contribute to the Up Next queue, which is great for parties.

How to transfer a phone call to HomePod

Although you can’t initiate a phone call from HomePod, it is possible to transfer a call to HomePod to continue a conversation. While on a phone call, tap the audio destination button in the Phone app interface, and select HomePod.

You’ll know when HomePod is hosting a phone call by the green Siri indicator on top of the Touch Panel.

How to output sound via Apple TV

There are several ways to go about connecting the Apple TV to HomePod for audio output. The easiest way is to simply press and hold the Play button on the Siri Remote while on the Apple TV Home screen. Doing so will invoke an interface, shown in the photo above, that allows you to quickly select audio output.

You can also go to Settings → Video and Audio → Audio Output and select the HomePod as output. Other apps, like the Music app, allow you to select audio output options directly as well.

How to control Apple TV playback features

One of the major benefits of outputting sound from Apple TV to HomePod is that it surfaces a limited amount of voice controls. While watching content, you can control playback via HomePod using the following Hey Siri commands:
Hey Siri, play/pause.
• Hey Siri, skip ahead <amount of time>.
• Hey Siri, go back <amount of time>.

In the future I imagine that Apple will work on fleshing out Apple TV voice control via HomePod to be more closely aligned to what’s possible via the Siri Remote. But even now, in this limited state, using HomePod to control the Apple TV playback experience is pretty awesome.

How to AirPlay to HomePod from Mac

To AirPlay all sounds coming from your Mac, you should enable the Show volume in menu bar option located in System Preferences → Sound. Once you do, you’ll be able to easily select your Mac’s sound output destination, which includes the HomePod, by clicking on the Volume button in the menu bar.

How to AirPlay to multiple HomePods using AirFoil

Users will be able to facilitate stereo pairing with two HomePods once AirPlay 2 launches in a future iOS/HomePod software update. For now, it’s possible to enable “stereo” playback via AirFoil, a paid Mac utility. It’s not exactly what Apple had in mind with AirPlay 2, but it’s an interesting workaround until stereo pairing launches alongside iOS 11.3 in the near future.

How to reset the HomePod

 

There are two ways to go about resetting the HomePod. The easy way is to venture into HomePod settings via the Home app. Once there, you’ll find a Remove Accessory option at the bottom of the screen.

The second way to reset the HomePod, and the method that you’ll need to use if resetting via the Home app fails, is to do so directly from the HomePod itself.

Step 1: Unplug the HomePod power cable.
Step 2: Plug in the HomePod, and after three seconds elapse, tap and hold the touch surface.
Step 3: Continue to hold the touch surface, and you should see the touch control status indicator turn red. Continue holding the touch surface until you hear three beeps.

The HomePod will then reset, allow it to be reconfigured from scratch.

Conclusion

There are many more Siri commands that you can utilize to control HomePod. What are some of your favorite commands?

What other HomePod-related tips do you have to share? Sound off in the comments below with your feedback.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: