Your complete guide to Apple AirPlay

This guide will answer all of your questions about AirPlay and get you started with wireless streaming.

Sharon Profis Vice President of Content
Sharon Profis is a vice president of content.
Sharon Profis
3 min read

AirPlay, the wireless tech that lets you stream content from one Apple device to another, is certainly one of the cooler perks of owning a suite of iDevices.

At the tap of a button, AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream movies, music, and photos from any iDevice (iPad, iPod, iPhone, or computer) to your television with Apple TV ($99). The feature also works with any AirPlay-compatible speakers and AV receivers for streaming music.

To use AirPlay, you'll need:

  • iPad, iPhone (3GS or later) iPod Touch, or a computer with iTunes 10.2 or later. The iDevices must be running iOS 4.2 or later.
  • AND
  • Apple TV, AirPort Express, or any other AirPlay-enabled speakers or consoles (like Boxee Box).

If you have these devices or simply want to know more about how AirPlay works, follow this guide:

Getting started

  • 10 things you need to know first. Before you start using AirPlay or purchase an Apple TV, read this primer to find out which devices are AirPlay-compatible, how exactly it works, and everything else you need to know before using the feature.

  • Setting up AirPlay. If you already got your hands on an Apple TV, this tutorial will guide you through the process of streaming media from your iDevices to your home theater.

Watch this: Get started with Apple AirPlay

Using AirPlay with iOS devices

Using AirPlay with your computer

AirPlay is compatible with Windows and Mac computers running iTunes. To stream content from your computer to your Apple TV, launch the media you want to stream, and click the button in the lower-right of the iTunes window.

Apple AirPlay products roundup (photos)

See all photos

Tips, tricks and hacks

  • While your media is being streamed, you can use the source device (iPhone, iPod, or iPad) to control the output volume of the movie or music.

  • Make sure you have a solid Wi-Fi connection. Since AirPlay is completely dependent on Wi-Fi, it's important to optimize your home's wireless network, especially if you'll be streaming HD content.

  • If you have an iOS device, don't miss out on the Remote app. The app lets you control the iTunes library on your computer and stream videos and music to your TV.

  • Android users can use AirPlay with their Apple TV, too. DoubleTwist's AirSync gets you access to AirTwist, a feature that lets you stream anything from your Android device to your Apple TV using AirPlay. Find out how to set it up here. (Most Android phones and tablets can also use AirPlay-like Bluetooth speakers, too--see below.)

  • Don't like the current selection of AirPlay speakers? Opt for a Bluetooth-compatible speaker instead. Bluetooth streaming works nearly identically on iOS devices (once you turn Bluetooth on) and Bluetooth speakers are typically a better value.