Wondering why does my AirPlay not show up? Some readers report issues where the AirPlay icon missing for streaming music and video to AirPort Express base stations and Apple TVs. All of a sudden, AirPlay is missing from various apps on iPod touch, iPad or iPhone.
Remember that AirPlay is only available within apps that support it. So, with your app open, swipe up the control center and check for AirPlay. In those apps, the AirPlay icon appears when it’s available.
- AirPlay not working? How to Fix Your AirPlay Problems
- AirPlay not working, how to fix AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring problems
- AirPlay Issues on MacBooks
- Apple TV and AirPlay Issues
- Connect Apple TV Without WiFi
Before attempting any of the troubleshooting tips below, try a restart or forced restart. This is often enough to get things working again. Alternatively, try rebooting your router. For many readers, their AirPlay icon appeared instantly following a router reboot!
Try a Restart or Forced Restart!
How to restart iPhone 8 and earlier models
- Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the red slider appears
- Drag the slider to turn your device completely off
- After the device turns off, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until you see the Apple logo
Restart your iPhone X and above and iPad without home buttons
- Press and hold the Side button and either volume button until the slider appears
- Drag the slider to turn your iPhone completely off
- After your iPhone turns off, press and hold the Side button again until you see the Apple logo
Alternative Way to Restart on iOS 11 or later
- Turn off your device by going to Settings > General> Shut Down
Restart Apple TV
- Restart the Apple TV by going to Settings > General > Restart
How to Restart Your Router and Modem
- Reset your router by unplugging, waiting at least 20 seconds, and then plugging back in. See if the Airplay icon comes back
How to force restart iPhones, iPad, and other iDevices
- On. iPhone 8+ and iPads with no home button: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo
- On an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus and iPod touch 7th generation: Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo
- On an iPhone 6s and earlier, iPad with home buttons, or iPod touch 6th generation and below: Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo
Check for AirPlay Support
Not all apps support AirPlay. When an app supports it, the AirPlay icon appears. That’s why the AirPlay icon is visible at some times and not others.
With your app open, swipe on Control Center and tap the Music (or for older iOS, the AirPlay tile) to check for AirPlay compatibility.
You can AirPlay content only to an Apple TV or AirPlay-enabled speaker or receiver. You can’t AirPlay content from your iOS device to another iOS device or to a Mac.
Turn on Bluetooth
- Go to Settings > Bluetooth and toggle it ON
- If already on, toggle it off, wait 20 seconds, and toggle back on
Check Your WiFi Connections
- Go to Settings>Wi-Fi
- Toggle WiFi OFF
- Wait 20-30 seconds
- Turn WiFi back ON
- Now, check that both devices are on the same network (for Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Network)
- If your iDevice is on one WiFi network, but the AirPlay device on another, the AirPlay icon won’t appear
Change Language Preferences
- On your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, navigate to Settings > General > Language & Region (if you don’t see this option, look for International > Language)
- Change to a different language (e.g. if you are using English, switch to French)
- Your iDevice goes through a language switch/reset process and your AirPlay icon should restore
- Next, navigate back to Settings > General > Language & Region (translated into the new language, of course) and switch back to your original language
Change WiFi Router GHz Setting
- Switched your WiFi from the 5GHz signal to the 2.4GHz signal
- Check if Airplay icon returns
- Switch back to the 5GHz and see if it’s still available
AirPlay and Apple TV
- Turn AirPlay On your Apple TV
- Go to Settings > AirPlay and make sure it’s turned on
- Set Allow Access to Everyone. Anyone can see and AirPlay to your Apple TV.
- Cycle Your Apple TV Off and On
- Try power cycling your Apple TV. Disconnect it from power for at least 30 seconds, then reconnect
- If your Apple TV supports Ethernet, plug your Apple TV into the router with an ethernet cord
- AirPlay Mirroring only works with Apple TV, not other devices!
Airplay doesn’t show up in your control center?
- Make sure AirPlay is turned on for all your devices
- For Apple TV, go to Settings > AirPlay
If you notice that AirPlay is visible only some times
- Update to the latest version of the iOS — check that you’re running the latest version of the iOS
- Turn on WiFi – AirPlay only works over WiFi, not cellular and mobile networks, so connect to WiFi
- Use AirPlay-compatible devices — Not all devices are compatible with AirPlay. Make sure you’re connecting to devices that support AirPlay
- Use the SAME WiFi network for BOTH iDevice and AirPlay device — Communication with AirPlay depends on both being connected to the same WiFi network. If your iDevice is on one network but the AirPlay device on another, the AirPlay icon won’t show up
- Check that AirPlay is enabled on Apple TV – When connecting to an Apple TV, verify that AirPlay is enabled on the Apple TV by going to Settings > AirPlay and make sure it’s on
- AirPlay Mirroring officially only works with Apple TV — If AirPlay mirroring isn’t available, even when AirPlay is available, chances are you’re trying to connect to non-supported device. Officially, the only device that supports AirPlay mirroring is Apple TV
For Apple TVs, if your Apple TV is in Sleep mode and uses Ethernet, you need to wake your Apple TV with your remote or the remote app before you AirPlay content
WiFi problems and router issues for AirPlay icon missing
Sometimes your iDevice doesn’t communicate with your AirPlay device when there’s interference on your WiFi network. Things like baby monitors, microwaves, direct satellite services, cordless phones, wireless speakers, and other wireless devices that operate in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths cause interference with WiFi. Even your neighbor’s WiFi device might cause issues!
Reduce the effects of interference from other wireless devices
- Change channels on your wireless network. For AirPort Base Stations or AirPort Time Capsule, reset the base station and it will attempt to use the 2.4 and 5 GHz channels with the least interference when it starts up
- Connect to a 5 GHz wireless network (if possible)
- Move your computer and WiFi router (like your AirPort Base Station) closer to each other
- Minimize the number of active Bluetooth wireless devices you have connected to your iDevice or computer or those nearby
- Use macOS’s Wireless Diagnostics to help evaluate your WiFi environment
- Quit any apps that are open, and connect to your Wi-Fi network
- Hold down the Option key and choose Open Wireless Diagnostics from the WiFi status menu icon
- Enter your administrator name and password when prompted
- Follow on-screen instructions
AirPlay icon missing on Apple TV or “Looking for Apple TV” message
- Restart your iDevice and Apple TV (or another AirPlay-enabled device)
- If your Apple TV uses Ethernet, check that the cable is plugged into the router that you use for WiFi
- On your iDevice, go to Settings > WiFi and check that you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV or other AirPlay-enabled device
- Then check the WiFi network on your Apple TV (or another AirPlay-enabled device)
- For Apple TV (4th generation), go to Settings > Network and check that you’re on the same Wi-Fi network
- For Apple TV (2nd or 3rd generation), go to Settings > General > Network
- On your Apple TV, make sure that AirPlay is turned on in Settings > AirPlay
AirPlay and Music or iTunes
When an AirPlay-enabled device is available, the AirPlay icon shows up below the volume slider in Music or to the right in your computer’s iTunes. Tap the AirPlay icon to see a list of available devices.
AirPlay icon missing in iTunes or the Music app
- Some AirPlay devices include an on/off option for AirPlay. Look for the option in Settings and make sure the feature is on. For more information, check the device’s user guide
- Check that you have the latest version of iTunes, macOS, and Apple TV software
- Connect your iDevice or computer and your other device to the same WiFi network
- Restart your iDevice, computer, AirPlay device, and your network router
- For computers
- If you’re using Ethernet, connect both devices to the same router or hub
- If you’re using both WiFi and Ethernet, connect your AirPlay device to the same router that your computer uses for WiFi
- Make sure that your Mac or PC can communicate using port 3689, which AirPlay uses to communicate with other devices on your network
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.