Apple’s AirPlay technology makes it easy to stream music, podcasts, and even video from one device to another, turning your home or office into a wireless entertainment system. Using AirPlay is usually a simple matter of a few taps on the iPhone or iPod touch or a few clicks in iTunes.
But what do you do when you find your AirPlay icon missing?
On iPhone and iPod touch
AirPlay is a default feature of the iOS (the operating system that runs on the iPhone and iPod touch), so you don’t need to install anything to use it, and it can’t be uninstalled.
It can, however, be turned on and off, depending on whether you want to use it and whether there is access to AirPlay on iOS 7 and up.
The first is to open Control Center. AirPlay can also be used from within apps that support it. In those apps, the AirPlay icon will appear when it’s available. The following causes and solutions apply to both AirPlay in Control Center and in apps.
You may notice that the AirPlay icon is visible at some times and not others. Follow these steps to solve this:
- Turn on Wi-Fi – AirPlay only works over Wi-Fi, not cellular networks, so you have to be connected to Wi-Fi in order to use it. Learn how to connect the iPhone to a Wi-Fi network.
- Use AirPlay-compatible devices — Not all multimedia devices are compatible with AirPlay. You have to make sure you’re trying to connect to devices that support AirPlay.
- Make sure iPhone and AirPlay device are on the same Wi-Fi network — Your iPhone or iPod touch can only communicate with the AirPlay device you want to use if both are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If your iPhone is on one network, but the AirPlay device on another, the AirPlay icon won’t appear.
- Update to the latest version of the iOS — If you’ve tried all the earlier tips, it never hurts to make sure that you’re running the latest version of the iOS. Learn how to upgrade here.
- Ensure AirPlay is enabled on Apple TV – If you’re trying to use an Apple TV to receive AirPlay streams but aren’t seeing the icon on your phone or computer, you need to ensure that AirPlay is enabled on the Apple TV. To do that, on the Apple TV go to Settings -> AirPlay and make sure it’s turned on.
- AirPlay Mirroring only works with Apple TV — If you’re wondering why AirPlay mirroring isn’t available, even though AirPlay is, make sure you’re trying to connect to an Apple TV. Those are the only devices that support AirPlay mirroring.
- Wi-Fi interference or router issues — In some rarer cases, it’s possible that your iOS device does not communicate with an AirPlay device due to interference on your Wi-Fi network by other devices or due to configuration problems on your Wi-Fi router. In those cases, try removing other Wi-Fi devices from the network to reduce interference or consult your router’s technical support information. (Believe it or not, non-Wi-Fi devices like microwave ovens can also cause interference, so you may need to check those out, too.)
AirPlay is also available from within iTunes to allow you to stream audio and video from your iTunes library to AirPlay-compatible devices. If you’re not seeing the AirPlay icon there, try steps 1-3 above. You can also try step 7. If those don’t work:
- Upgrade to the latest version of iTunes — As with iOS devices, make sure you’ve got the latest version of iTunes if you’re having problems. Learn how to upgrade iTunes.