AirPlay Not Working? Here's the Quick Fix

Are you experiencing lags or audio problems, or is your Apple TV not showing in the Home app? Learn how to use AirPlay seamlessly!

What is AirPlay? It is Apple’s screen mirroring and wireless streaming solution. How does it work? It uses Wi-Fi to share audio, video, photos, and device screens. Usually it works very well. But when it doesn't, common issues include devices failing to connect, AirPlay dropping out, and streaming lags. Here’s what to do if you experience AirPlay and screen mirroring not working.

Related to: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi & AirPlay: Streaming Methods Compared

Troubleshooting Steps

How Does AirPlay Work

For AirPlay to work, your devices need to be near each other and turned on. If you are trying to AirPlay to your Apple TV, make sure it is awake and not in Sleep mode. It is impossible to enjoy AirPlay and Apple TV mirroring without the internet unless you use peer-to-peer AirPlay.

AirPlay does not support all media types, which may result in an error message that says "video format not supported." It isn't entirely clear what the AirPlay unsupported video formats are, and sometimes a quick device restart can fix it.

Do keep in mind that some streaming services such as Netflix have discontinued the ability to use AirPlay for video quality reasons. Attempting to do it anyway may result in this error message.

The great thing about AirPlay is that you can stream various forms of media on different devices simultaneously. To learn how to use AirPlay, check out these tips. To learn more about ways to enjoy Apple TV, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter

Step 1: Check for AirPlay Devices Compatibility 

There seems to be some confusion about which devices are compatible with AirPlay. The first step to troubleshoot is to find out if you have an AirPlay-compatible TV, speaker, or other devices. You can learn which devices support AirPlay 2 and AirPlay on Apple’s website. AirPlay might not be working simply because the device isn’t compatible.

To quickly check that you have AirPlay on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Control Center by swiping down from the right corner on your Home screen. Older iPhone models with Home buttons may need you to swipe up from the bottom.

    Open the Control Center by swiping down from the right corner on your home screen.
  2. If you see an option for Screen Mirroring, your iPhone is AirPlay compatible.

    If you see an option for Screen Mirroring, your iPhone is AirPlay compatible.

Pro Tip: You can easily enable quick iPhone-to-HomePod audio handoff. Go to General in your iPhone Settings, open AirPlay & Handoff, and toggle on Transfer to HomePod.

Step 2: Check for Software Updates on All Devices

It is essential to keep your devices updated to help fix commonly known bugs or introduce valuable features to your device. If you experience sudden issues with AirPlay, make sure that the software on both devices is up to date.

Step 3: Restart Your Devices

If your devices are on and updated, the next step is to do a quick restart. Performing a restart seems simplistic, but since it clears the RAM and closes any apps running on your device, it can help fix technological glitches. For step-by-step instructions on restarting your devices:

Pro tip: To restart your HomePod, just unplug it, wait for 10 seconds, and then plug it back in again.

Step 4: Check Your Wi-Fi Networks

Although Apple says that you should make sure that your Bluetooth is on, AirPlay works over Wi-Fi. To AirPlay between devices, connect both to the same Wi-Fi network. If you notice that one of them is signed into a different network, sign out and connect to the correct one.

Pro tip: If you are at a friend's house and want to AirPlay from your iPhone to their TV, they can share their Wi-Fi password with you with a quick tap!

Step 5: Check Your AirPlay Settings

Your settings may be preventing you from AirPlaying to your Apple TV or HomePod.

How to Enable Everyone to Use AirPlay on Your Apple TV

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Open AirPlay and HomeKit.
  3. Under Allow Access, select Everyone.

    Photo From Apple Support - Apple TV AirPlay settings

Now anyone can use your Apple TV, AirPlaying on it from their iPhone or iPad! If you need a refresher on how to use AirPlay or AirPlay 2, check out these articles.

You should now understand how to AirPlay to your TV and HomePod. Now that you know how to check your AirPlay TV settings and take the basic troubleshooting steps to fix any issues. If you've followed all these steps and are still experiencing problems, consider reaching out to Apple
directly. Next, learn how to play Spotify on HomePod using AirPlay!
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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.