AirPlay not working? Here's the fix!

iPhone using AirPlay with a TV
(Image credit: iMore)

AirPlay is one of the most useful Apple ecosystem features — in fact, it's so good that in recent years Apple has opened up the technology to allow third-party devices to use it. It lets you wirelessly beam audio and video to different devices. Watching a video on your MacBook? You can AirPlay it to your Apple TV and watch on the big screen. Listening to some sweet tunes on your iPhone? AirPlay that audio to your favorite AirPlay speaker.

Unfortunately, even iOS 15 (opens in new tab) and Apple's other latest software can sometimes mess up, and AirPlay might not work. If you're having trouble with AirPlay, there are some steps you can try to correct the behavior on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac and get you back to streaming your audio and video. Here are some steps you can try to troubleshoot problems with AirPlay.

Make sure you're on the same Wi-Fi network

AirPlay requires both the devices you're streaming from and the device you're streaming to to be on the same Wi-Fi network to work. If you're trying to beam some content from your iPhone to your AirPlay-compatible TV, you need to make sure both devices (your phone and your TV) are on the same network.

So, before you try any other troubleshooting tips, make sure you've checked that everything is connected to the same network. 

Try toggling Wi-Fi

Sometimes the best solution is to turn it off and then on again. You can toggle the Wi-Fi off and on with just a few taps or clicks on the logo on your best iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Doing this can sometimes fix an errant connection, which may be why AirPlay isn't working for you.  

Note: Control Center no longer turns Wi-Fi completely off. It simply stops the current connection but leaves things like AirPods, Apple Pencil, and Apple Watch available. To fully turn it off, head to Settings.

How to toggle Wi-fi on iPhone and iPad

1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
2. Tap Wi-Fi.
3. Tap the Wi-Fi On/Off Switch twice. Once to turn it off and another time to turn it back on. 

(Image credit: iMore )

How to toggle Wi-Fi on Mac

1. Click the Wi-Fi symbol in the Menubar.
2. Click the Wi-Fi On/Off Switch twice. Once to turn it off and then once to turn it back on again.

(Image credit: iMore)

Don't forget to toggle the Wi-Fi on your other devices. If you're trying to AirPlay something to your TV, for example, go into the TV settings and try disconnecting and reconnecting to the Wi-Fi network.

Reset your devices

Taking it up a notch, you can always try to do a hard reset on your devices. Rebooting the software is often a great way to right the ship when things are going a little sideways. Here's how you can reboot your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. 

How to reset an iPhone or iPad

If you are resetting an iPhone or iPad that has Face ID, follow these steps:

1. Quickly click and release the Volume Up button.
2. Quickly click and release the Volume Down button.
3. Press and hold the sleep/wake button.
4. Keep holding down the sleep/wake button, even after the Shut Down screen shows up. Once the screen goes black, you can stop holding the button.

(Image credit: iMore)

If you're using an iPhone or iPad without Face ID, follow these steps:

1. Press and hold down the On/Off button on the right side.
2. While continuing to hold the On/Off button, press and hold the volume down button on the left side of your iPhone.
3. Hold both buttons as the screen turns off, and keep holding them until the screen turns back on and displays the Apple logo.

(Image credit: iMore)

How to reset a Mac

If you have a Mac that you want to reset, follow these steps:

1. Click the Apple icon at the far left of the Menubar.
2. Click Restart. 

(Image credit: iMore)

Now that you've reset your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, trying using AirPlay again to see if that fixes the problem. Remember you may want to reset your third-party devices as well, to see if that helps. 

Check for updates

Keeping your device like your best Mac up to date is always a good idea. Sometimes, new versions of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS introduce compatibility problems; other times, they fix them. So, if AirPlay is giving you a problem, check to ensure you're on the latest software. 

How to check for software updates on iPhone and iPad

1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
2. Tap General
3. Tap Software Update

(Image credit: iMore)

From here, you'll be able to see if there is a software update. If there is an update, you can download and install it and see if that solves your AirPlay troubles once it's booted back up and ready to go. 

How to check for software updates on Mac

1. Click the Apple icon at the far left of the Menubar.
2. Click System Preferences.
3. Click Software Update.

(Image credit: iMore)

Hopefully, you're back up and running!

When AirPlay isn't working correctly, it can be a real nuisance. Still, hopefully, the steps listed above helped you out, and now you're using AirPlay to beam your favorite video and audio wherever you want. 

If you've followed all the steps above and AirPlay still isn't working for you, we would suggest contacting Apple support directly and seeing if they can help you out. 

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.