If you use an iPhone or iPad as a music player, you can use Apple's AirPlay technology to stream your tunes wirelessly. Here is what you need to know to use this feature to its fullest potential.
What is AirPlay?
This is a proprietary protocol developed by Apple that allows wireless streaming of audio, video and photos from your iOS devices to supported output peripherals.
For example, if you have an Apple TV media player connected to a high-definition TV, you can stream video directly and wirelessly from your iPhone to the TV.
AirPlay has its roots in audio. Then, it was known as AirTunes. It lets you play music wirelessly from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to AirPlay-enabled speakers.
While Bluetooth music streaming is undeniably more readily available in most devices, its range is limited to about 10m.
AirPlay's range is about 20m or more, depending on how good and stable the Wi-Fi network is.
Plus, AirPlay can be used to control the volume of the speakers, so you do not have to adjust the volume on your iOS device. You can control multiple AirPlay speakers using one iOS device.
AirPlay's biggest advantage over Bluetooth is its lossless compression streaming. While Bluetooth 4.0 minimises quality loss better than previous iterations, it still does not do as well as AirPlay. To audiophiles, lossless Wi-Fi streaming is probably worth dying for.
On the downside, AirPlay is available only on selected Apple devices and the speakers need to be connected to a network.
How to use the feature
Installation may differ between speakers but, in general, AirPlay is easy and simple to use.
The most difficult part is getting the AirPlay speakers to connect to your home wireless or wired network. But once that network connection is achieved, the other steps are really simple.
Turn on AirPlay on your iOS device by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center. Then tap the AirPlay panel to take you to another window.
Here, you will be able to see all your AirPlay-enabled devices listed. On the list, tap the AirPlay speaker of your choice and start playing your music through the speaker.
If the actual speaker happens to have a display, it will also stream information such as artist, song title, album title, album artwork and elapsed and remaining time.
Here are several AirPlay speakers you may want to consider.