Developers claim to have decoded AirPlay 2

Two white homepods sitting on a television stand
Two white homepods sitting on a television stand (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Developers claim to have cracked Apple's AirPlay 2 system.
  • Three developers say they have reverse-engineered Airplay 2's audio receiving and decoding protocol.
  • It could pave the way for multi-room playback to a speaker system using something like a Rasberry Pi computer.

A report suggests that three developers have successfully reverse-engineered the receiving and decoding protocol of Apple's AirPlay 2 software.

As reported by 9to5Mac, an announcement on GitHub seems to suggest that Apple's streaming system may have been cracked. The post read:

Guys… ready? I can finally confirm I got airplay2 working, including multi-room! Audio streaming data correctly recovered, decrypted and decoded!

As the report notes:

Apple uses a proprietary streaming protocol which means only speakers that have licensed the tech from Apple can receive and decode the audio. But that protocol has now been reverse-engineered.What this means is that multi-room playback from iOS devices will be possible to any speaker system when connected to something like a Raspberry Pi running an app designed to receive and decode AirPlay 2 audio streams.

Now, much like the Checkm8 bootrom exploit, there isn't any kind of available service for people to download. This news simply marks the first step in the process, if this was to gain widespread usage an app would need to be developed around the exploit in order to make it available.

It could mean that one day, using a Rasberry Pi (or something similar), you might be able to use AirPlay 2 to stream audio to multiple devices at the same time, even if they aren't licensed by Apple to use AirPlay 2. AirPlay 1 has been cracked for a long time and using some Terminal commands in Raspberry Pi, you can turn it into an AirPlay receiver. This latest exploit might mean we see something similar for AirPlay 2 one day.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9