How to troubleshoot when AirPlay is not working between your devices and fails to cast content
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  • Post published:18/05/2021
  • Post last modified:18/05/2021
  • If your AirPlay is not working, you may need to troubleshoot the involved Apple or AirPlay-compatible devices or your Wi-Fi router. 
  • When everything is working properly, you can use AirPlay to send video from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to an Apple TV or another AirPlay-supported device.
  • Here is a list of things to check on each device when AirPlay is not working.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

AirPlay is one of the features that makes the Apple ecosystem feel interconnected; with just a tap or two, you can stream audio or video from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to another compatible device, like a television, Apple TV, or smart speaker. 

Most of the time, AirPlay appears effortlessly in the Share menu of your media app, and you don’t need to think much about it. Occasionally, though, it doesn’t work, and it’s not clear why. Here’s what to do if AirPlay is not working. 

What to do when AirPlay is not working 

Most of the time, if AirPlay isn’t working, it simply fails to work at all — your device, like an Apple TV or your television doesn’t appear in the AirPlay device list. But AirPlay can also suffer from other glitches, like if the audio or video stutters or is otherwise low quality. 

Here’s a short checklist of things to investigate, organized by the various parts of the AirPlay equation: your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the screen or speaker you want to AirPlay to, and your Wi-Fi router. As always when running down a troubleshooting list, try AirPlay after each step to see if that fixed the problem; if it didn’t, keep going until you solve the issue. 

iPhone and iPad troubleshooting

  • Toggle your Wi-Fi. The easiest way to do this is to put your iPhone or iPad in airplane mode for a few seconds, then turn off airplane mode (see our guide to airplane mode for details). This forces the device to reconnect to Wi-Fi, which solves all sorts of connectivity issues. 
Turning airplane mode on and off again resets the Wi-Fi and can often instantly fix AirPlay glitches.
Dave Johnson/Insider
  • Make sure your device is up to date. Is your device running the latest version of iOS or iPadOS? Update it if necessary by following the steps in our guides to updating your iPhone or iPad. 
  • Restart your iPhone or iPad. A software glitch might be preventing AirPlay from working properly, so restarting the device can wipe the slate clean and let it work normally again. See our guides to restarting your iPhone or iPad.

Mac troubleshooting

  • Check for AirPlay compatibility. If you’ve never used AirPlay on your Mac before, make sure it supports AirPlay. To check, click the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences,” then “Displays.” If your Mac works with AirPlay, you should see an AirPlay Display menu and an option to “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available.”
To be sure your Mac is AirPlay-compatible, check the Display tab in System Preferences.
Dave Johnson/Insider
  • Toggle your Wi-Fi. Restart your Wi-Fi connection and make sure that it’s working properly. Test your Wi-Fi by opening a webpage in a browser. 
  • Restart your Mac. A restart can clear out any potential temporary glitches from memory.
  • Check for a MacOS update. Make sure you’re running the latest MacOS version. 

Apple TV, smart TV, or speaker troubleshooting 

  • Power on your device. Make sure the device you want to play to is powered on and awake. 
  • Connect to the same Wi-Fi network. Make sure the second device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. If not, switch networks to sync your devices. 
  • Make sure the device is successfully using Wi-Fi. Try to use the device to stream content from the internet. If that’s not working, AirPlay won’t work either, and you might have a more serious issue with your device, or the router might need to be restarted. 
  • Update your Apple TV. If you’re using an Apple TV, make sure the device is up to date. Check for software updates and install it if available. 
  • Restart the device. A restart can clear its memory and star the connection fresh.  
  • Check the device’s audio. If AirPlay is only partially working — you see video but don’t hear audio, for instance — make sure the device’s audio isn’t muted. Also, make sure your iPhone or iPad isn’t set to mute. 

Wi-Fi router troubleshooting

  • Restart your router. If the source of your trouble appears to be your Wi-Fi or internet connection, restart the router. Unplug it, wait two minutes, and then plug it back in. 
  • You may need to update your router. Check your router to see if it needs a firmware update. Many modern routers are easy to update via a mobile app; if your router is older, you might need to log into its web console (see the router’s user guide for details). 

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