XDA Basics: How to use AirPlay on Mac

XDA Basics: How to use AirPlay on Mac

Macs, the personal computers loved by students and office workers alike, are finally getting a feature that has been requested by many — AirPlay support. While there’s always been third-party app workarounds, macOS 12 Monterey will bring native AirPlay support to the Mac later this fall. Apple’s implementation is a seamless, transparent one, making it accessible to non-tech-savvy people.

What’s AirPlay?

AirPlay is Apple’s native media casting solution. Think Google Chromecast, but built into Apple devices, third party speakers, and smart TVs. By default, iPhone, iPad, and iPod users could cast their screens to an Apple TV — or any other AirPlay-equipped device.

As long as both devices are connected to the same WiFi network, the feature should work as expected. Users can share what they’re doing on their iDevices or cast a video they’re watching to the big screen. They could also AirPlay their audio-only stream, making it a very convenient utility for house parties.

AirPlay on Macs

Pre-macOS 12

Prior to macOS 12, there have been third-party apps that could turn your Mac into an AirPlay server. However, most — if not all — are paid software, making them an obstacle or a dealbreaker to a significant portion of users. Additionally, they require setting up once downloaded, and the steps aren’t as straightforward as an average user would expect them to be. Not to mention they sometimes break or lag behind.

The bottom line is they’re inconvenient to most people, even though they’re a valid option. So if you have an old Mac that won’t support macOS 12 this fall, and you really need to turn your device into an AirPlay server, you can settle for this. Just type “turn Mac into AirPlay server” into your favorite search engine. You’ll find plenty of different apps for this particular purpose.

On macOS 12

macOS 12 — currently in beta testing — will be released this fall. A feature I and many others have been anticipating for a while is finally being baked into the operating system — AirPlay. If you’re already running macOS 12 (beta) and would like to try it out, follow the steps below:

  • Make sure your iDevice (iPhone, iPad, or iPod) and Mac are connected to the same WiFi network.
  • Ensure both devices are signed into the same Apple ID — I couldn’t get the feature to work using a friend’s iPhone connected to the same WiFi as my Mac.

screenshot of iOS control center highlighting screen mirroring button

  • Open Control Center on your iDevice.
  • Click on Screen Mirroring.

screenshot of iOS screen mirroring in control center

    • Your Mac should show up as an available device to cast to.

screenshot of iPhone screen cast to Mac displaying a safari webpage

  • Click on your Mac’s name and your iDevice’s screen will automatically start casting there. If it’s a screen share or a video playback, your iDevice’s screen will take over your Mac’s. If it’s an audio-only stream, your Mac will turn into a wireless speaker for your iDevice — without taking over your screen.

screenshot of iOS screen mirroring in control center highlighting stop mirroring

  • Once you’re done, return to Screen Mirroring in Control Center and click on Stop Mirroring. Alternatively, you can click on the (x) button in the top left corner of your Mac.

So now whether you want to turn your Mac into a wireless speaker or a screen for your iDevice, you’re only a few clicks away. Cast from your favorite TV app, stream endless hours of music, or watch Apple Fitness+ videos on the bigger screen to close your Apple Watch activity rings!

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. His personal pieces are available on his website, MahmoudItani.com, and he can be reached via [email protected] or the provided social links.