AirPlay not working on Mac?

Top 7 AirPlay problems and fixes 

In this article, we'll look at the top 7 most common problems and fixes you can encounter when AirPlay is not working. 

AirPlay is designed to work between any iOS device and an Apple TV or any popular AirPlay 2–enabled smart TV. It also works, or should work, when sharing music with popular AirPlay 2–enabled smart speakers so that you can play music on more than one device. AirPlay also lets you set up multiple screens, which can make for an epic gaming experience. 

It can be frustrating when it doesn't work as it should. So here are some of the most common problems encountered and fixes we would recommend. 

1. Wi-Fi connectivity 

Firstly, you want to make sure both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. AirPlay really won’t work if one is not connected, or they're both connected to different networks. Whether you want to share a TV show or movie from an iPhone or a Mac to an AirPlay-enabled TV or Apple TV, or another device, the two devices need to be connected to the same network. 

  1. Check which Wi-Fi network your Mac or iOS device is using.
  2. Check the same for the TV or other device. 
  3. Make sure they're the same. If not, switch the macOS or iOS device to the same one as the TV.

If you are having a Wi-Fi router or other connectivity issues, try switching your router on and back off. Or conduct further Wi-Fi troubleshooting until the problem is resolved and both are connected through Wi-Fi that is working. 

2. AirPlay-enabled device not switched on 

When you want to share content through AirPlay, the icon on your iOS or macOS device should show up in Sharing settings. 

However, AirPlay won’t connect if the other device isn’t enabled and switched on. So check that the TV or other device you are going to share the content with is switched on, awake, and connected to the right Wi-Fi network. 

It is also worth making sure that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on both devices. On a macOS or iOS device, you can check both of these in Settings. On Macs, both also show up in the top toolbar and can be easily enabled within Applications > System Preferences. 

3. Outdated software 

Out-of-date software can prevent AirPlay from working. To check you’ve got the latest software, check the following: 

  1. iOS devices: Settings > General > Software Update.
  2. macOS device: Apple icon (top toolbar) > About This Mac > Software Update. 

On every Apple device, they clearly show when new software is needed. 

If this is the case, make sure to back everything up beforehand, and then download the latest version of the iOS or macOS before attempting to connect again using AirPlay. 

4.  Third-party apps 

If you have third-party apps that are also used for streaming content, such as videos, movies, TV series, and music, these could interfere with the smooth running of AirPlay. Some of the most problematic include Duet and AirParrot, although there are several others, and they can prevent AirPlay from working as they should. 

To avoid this problem, it’s recommended that these third-party apps are switched off (whichever iOS or macOS device they're on), then restart the device before trying to use AirPlay again. 

5. Firewall problems 

macOS devices can accidentally prevent an AirPlay connection through a firewall. This means that your devices' security is so sensitive that it temporarily prevents you from enjoying your favorite shows or movies on a larger screen. But don't worry, this problem can also be solved. 

  1. Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy. 
  2. Find Firewall > Firewall Options. 
  3. Uncheck the box that says: Block all incoming connections.
  4. Check the box that says: Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections

Now you should be up and running without any firewall blocking the connection.

6: Wi-Fi networks not working properly

Another problem is that browser data, cache, cookies, or pre-set security preferences could be preventing this connection from working as it should. 

On a macOS device, here is one way you can make your Mac "forget" your Wi-Fi connections and start over: 

The quickest way is to download the free version of the Mac maintenance app, CleanMyMac.

  1. Launch CleanMyMac and click on the Privacy tab.
  2. Click Scan

Now, the app will collect the unnecessary browser data and build a list of your old Wi-Fi networks.

CleanMyMac X - open wi-fi networks

3. Check the Wi-Fi networks icon and click Remove.

Now your Mac will forget the old settings so that you can reconnect from scratch:

    1. Reconnect your macOS device to Wi-Fi. 
    2. Access the content you want to share and share with another device using AirPlay.

    CleanMyMac X could be helpful in fixing various Mac performance issues, such as AirPlay not working. Its latest version is notarized by Apple, so you are safe using it.

    7. Restart your TV 

    And finally, if all of the above doesn't work, try restarting and resetting — if needed — your TV or Apple TV. Almost everything else can be solved on iOS and macOS devices, but if those solutions don't work, take a different approach. 

    Another route you may try is deleting system junk with the mentioned app, CleanMyMac X. By system junk, we mean old cache files, user logs, old iOS updates — everything that may interfere with AirPlay. To delete system junk, grab a free edition of CleanMyMac X and click on the System Junk tab.

    CleanMyMac X - User cache files in System Junk module

    With these top tips and a little extra help, if you need it, we are sure that your AirPlay will start working again. Stay tuned for more MacBook tips.

    Laptop with CleanMyMac
    CleanMyMac X

    Your Mac. As good as new.