The Complete Guide to Fixing AirPlay Not Showing

February 12, 2024

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As an Apple user, you know the convenience of using AirPlay to effortlessly stream content between your devices. But when AirPlay stops working and that familiar icon doesn’t show up, it can ruin your experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to troubleshoot AirPlay not showing and get it back up and running.

Why AirPlay Not Showing Happens

There are several potential causes behind the AirPlay icon disappearing from your iOS or MacOS devices:

  • Outdated Software – Having an old version of iOS, MacOS, tvOS, or audioOS can make AirPlay unavailable. Software updates often include AirPlay fixes.
  • Network Connectivity Issues – For AirPlay to work, devices must be on the same WiFi network. Connection problems will block AirPlay.
  • Disabled AirPlay – Check Control Center and ensure AirPlay is enabled on your streaming iOS device or in System Preferences on a Mac.
  • Device Compatibility – Very old iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and AirPlay speakers may not support AirPlay or have limited compatibility.
  • VPN/Proxy Interference – Virtual private networks and proxies can disrupt connections, so disable them if AirPlay isn’t working.
  • Firewall Blocking – Network firewalls could be blocking AirPlay signals. Check settings to allow AirPlay connections.
  • Router Firmware – An outdated router firmware version could affect network performance and cause AirPlay problems.

Now let’s walk through the steps to get AirPlay showing again.

Troubleshooting AirPlay Not Showing

1. Update Device Software

First, check for pending software updates on all devices involved in AirPlay streaming:

  • iOS devices – Go to Settings > General > Software Update
  • Macs – Go to System Preferences > Software Update
  • Apple TV – Go to Settings > System > Software Updates
  • AirPlay speakers – Check manufacturer’s app for firmware updates
Update Apple TV

Install any available updates, including minor point releases which contain bug fixes.

2. Verify Network Connectivity

AirPlay requires WiFi or a wired Ethernet connection. For WiFi:

  • Confirm all devices are connected to the same WiFi network.
  • Position devices closer to the router to improve signal strength.
  • Temporarily disable VPNs, proxies, and firewalls to rule out interference.
Apple TV Network Settings

If possible, connect streaming device and receiving device using an Ethernet cable instead of WiFi to isolate any wireless issues.

3. Check AirPlay Settings

On your iOS device, open Control Center and make sure AirPlay is enabled. Tap the AirPlay icon while streaming content to select compatible receivers.

On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Displays and check the “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available” box. This adds AirPlay controls.

For 3rd party AirPlay receivers like smart TVs, power cycle the device then re-check for available AirPlay sources.

4. Reset Network Settings

On an iOS device, resetting network settings can clear up any problematic configurations:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset
  2. Tap Reset Network Settings
  3. Enter passcode if prompted
  4. Confirm reset

This will erase all WiFi networks and passwords, so you’ll need to rejoin your network.

5. Update Router Firmware

Check your WiFi router manufacturer’s website for the latest firmware version. Updating the firmware (router’s internal software) can resolve AirPlay compatibility issues.

Follow router manufacturer’s instructions to download and install firmware updates. This process varies by make and model.

6. Factory Reset AirPlay Receiver

For persistent AirPlay problems with a particular receiver like an Apple TV or AirPlay 2 speaker, factory reset the device:

  • Apple TV – Go to Settings > System > Reset, then choose Reset
  • AirPlay Speakers – Consult manual for recovery mode to reset device

This erases all data and resets settings to factory defaults. You’ll have to set up the device again afterward.

7. Contact Apple Support

If you still cannot get AirPlay working after trying these troubleshooting steps, reach out to Apple Support.

Provide details on the devices involved, troubleshooting already attempted, and the specific AirPlay issues encountered. Their technicians can provide specialized assistance.

Tips for Improving AirPlay Performance

Beyond basic troubleshooting, try these tips for faster, higher-quality AirPlay streaming:

  • Reduce interference – Position WiFi devices away from electronics like baby monitors, cordless phones, microwaves, and other wireless devices. This minimizes signal congestion.
  • Prioritize devices – In your router settings, prioritize AirPlay streaming devices over other WiFi gadgets to allocate more bandwidth. Refer to your router’s admin interface.
  • Cut down clutter – Eliminate unnecessary apps and browser tabs running in the background on AirPlay streaming devices and computers. This frees up processing power and network capacity.
  • Direct connection – Use Ethernet whenever possible for faster, more stable AirPlay performance compared to WiFi.
  • Upgrade router – Investing in a robust, high-bandwidth router like 802.11ac or WiFi 6 can provide ample speed for smooth streaming.
  • Extenders – For large homes, add mesh WiFi extenders to strengthen network coverage in dead zones where AirPlay may cut out.

Key Takeaways

Fixing AirPlay not showing boils down to these key troubleshooting steps:

  • Update old device software causing incompatibility
  • Ensure devices are on the same WiFi network
  • Turn on AirPlay in Control Center on iOS or System Preferences on Mac
  • Reset network settings on iOS devices
  • Update router firmware
  • Factory reset AirPlay receivers like Apple TV and speakers
  • Contact Apple support for specialized assistance

Optimizing your network and minimizing interference also helps AirPlay work seamlessly. With this guide’s tips, you can resolve AirPlay issues and enjoy wireless streaming.

Also, if you are bothered by Vizio SmartCast not working, here are the best solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does AirPlay work for a while then disconnect?

A: Frequent AirPlay disconnects are often due to network fluctuations or interference. Try repositioning devices closer to the WiFi router and away from other electronics to improve signal strength and stability.

Q: Can I use AirPlay from iPhone to Samsung Smart TV?

A: Yes, with an app like AirScreen installed on your Samsung Smart TV, you can casting your iPhone screen using AirPlay. Ensure both devices are on the same WiFi network.

Q: Does AirPlay work offline without internet?

A: No, AirPlay requires an active internet connection as it streams over WiFi or Ethernet networks. It does not work offline over a direct device-to-device connection.

Q: Can I use AirPlay from Mac to Apple TV?

A: Definitely! Open System Preferences on your Mac, click Displays, and check the AirPlay box. You can then select your Apple TV from the menu bar to stream to your TV screen.

Q: Why is AirPlay so slow or laggy?

A: Low WiFi signal strength, competing devices on the same network, and outdated hardware are common causes of AirPlay latency. Try the performance optimization tips provided earlier in this guide.

Q: How do I AirPlay from iPhone to Mac?

A: Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone to open Control Center. Long press the screen mirroring icon, then select your Mac as the destination. Your iPhone screen will appear on the Mac.

Q: Does AirPlay work on iPhone 6?

A: Yes, AirPlay is supported on the iPhone 6 and later running at least iOS 12. You may have some issues on extremely old models but 6+ should be fine.

Q: Can I play iTunes movies using AirPlay?

A: Correct, AirPlay mirrors iTunes movies, TV shows, and other content from an iOS device or Mac to an Apple TV or compatible smart TV. DRM-protected content requires authorization.

Q: Why does my AirPlay receiver not show up as an option?

A: If your Apple TV or AirPlay 2 speaker isn’t appearing, reboot the device, ensure it’s on the same WiFi network, and check for firmware updates. Reset it to factory settings if still not appearing.

And there you have it – a comprehensive look at troubleshooting AirPlay not showing and optimizing streaming performance. With these fixes, you can sit back and enjoy smooth audio and video beamed wirelessly between your Apple devices.