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Apple AirPlay & AirPlay Mirroring Explained


Apple AirPlay logo

Apple AirPlay logo

image copyright Apple Inc.

AirPlay - AirPlay is a technology invented by and used by Apple to let users broadcast audio, video, and photos to compatible WiFi-connected devices.

AirPlay for Music, Video, & Photos

AirPlay allows users to stream music, video, and photos from their iTunes library or iOS device to computers, speakers and stereo components, AirPort Express, and the second-generation Apple TV. Speakers, video devices like the Apple TV, and apps must be AirPlay compatible in order for the streaming to work. They must also be on the same WiFi network.

Learn how to stream content via AirPlay.

AirPlay Requirements

AirPlay was introduced in iTunes 10. It was added to the iOS with version 4 on the iPhone and 4.2 on the iPad.

AirPlay requires:

  • iOS 4.2 or newer
  • iPhone 3GS or newer
  • All iPad models
  • 2nd generation iPod touch or newer.

It doesn't work on the iPhone 3G, original iPhone, or original iPod touch.

AirPlay Mirroring

AirPlay Mirroring enables users of certain AirPlay-compatible devices to display whatever is on their device's screen on AirPlay-compatible Apple TVs. This allows users to show the website, game, video, or other content on their device's screen on the bigscreen HDTV that the Apple TV is attached to. This is achieved via Wi-Fi (wired mirroring, using a cable, doesn't require the Apple TV). Devices that support Airplay Mirroring are:

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPad 2
  • 2nd generation Apple TV

AirPlay for Printing

AirPlay also enables wireless printing from iOS devices to WiFi-connected printers that support the technology. The name for this feature is AirPrint. A full list AirPlay compatible printers is available here.

AirPlay on Windows

While Mac users can stream content from their iOS devices to their computers via AirPlay, there is no official AirPlay feature for Windows. There are, however, third-party software tools that bring AirPlay support to Windows.

Former Name: AirTunes

AirPlay replaced a previous Apple technology called AirTunes, which only allowed the streaming of music, not the other kinds of data that AirPlay supports.

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