Apple brings AirPlay 2 to Mac with the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.6

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple completed an update of its four major platforms -- iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS -- on Monday with the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.6, delivering AirPlay 2 and various performance improvements to the Mac operating system.




The latest macOS revision introduces long-awaited compatibility with Apple's AirPlay 2 protocol, enabling multi-room audio streaming on Mac to compatible speakers. For now, it appears support is limited to iTunes, though future versions of the operating system could expand access to all system audio.

Unveiled at WWDC 2017, AirPlay 2 launched with iOS 11.4 in May, allowing users to stream music, movies and other audio to multiple speakers or Apple TV hardware running tvOS 11.4.

Currently, Apple's HomePod is the only speaker to benefit from AirPlay 2's simultaneous streaming capabilities, though major manufacturers like Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Marantz, and Sonos have promised support for existing hardware.

In addition to AirPlay 2, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 incorporates unspecified stability and security improvements to Mac.

Bug fixes include an issue that prevented Photos from recognizing AVCHD media from certain cameras, as well as a problem that prevented Mail from moving Gmail messages to another account.

Today's release arrives one week after the last developer beta went out earlier this month. The update spent little over a month in testing and evaluation before release.

Users can download the 1.88GB macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 update from the Mac App Store for free.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,088member
    Where's the frickin' Combo!? :disappointed: 

    Since you asked...

    https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1970?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
    edited July 9
  • Reply 2 of 14
    k129051k129051 Posts: 5member
    AirPlay 2 can't really come to the system audio, at least the extended buffering enhancements because it's impossible for the system to buffer audio it doesn't know about. In contrast, iTunes which has the whole song file already can buffer ahead with AirPlay 2 long form audio.

    You guys seem to be slipping with the quality of your articles lately!
  • Reply 3 of 14
    kddpopkddpop Posts: 12member
    Im confused. 
    I have been sending audio from iTunes to multiple targets for a long time. 
    Am misunderstanding what’s been added?
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,874administrator
    k129051 said:
    AirPlay 2 can't really come to the system audio, at least the extended buffering enhancements because it's impossible for the system to buffer audio it doesn't know about. In contrast, iTunes which has the whole song file already can buffer ahead with AirPlay 2 long form audio.

    You guys seem to be slipping with the quality of your articles lately!
    AirPlay 2 isn't just a dumb stream. Before the file even starts, the receiving device knows exactly how long it is, how the file is encoded, and how much data to expect. System audio beeps are very, very small.

    So, yes. System audio is playable through AirPlay 2.

    Feel free to review the commenting guidelines.
    edited July 9
  • Reply 5 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,874administrator

    kddpop said:
    Im confused. 
    I have been sending audio from iTunes to multiple targets for a long time. 
    Am misunderstanding what’s been added?
    AirPlay 2 is different from iTunes multiple speaker playback.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/02/26/reminder----the-itunes-ability-to-play-to-multiple-speakers-is-not-airplay-2-but-is-pretty-close
    spheric
  • Reply 6 of 14
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,113member
    kddpop said:
    Im confused. 
    I have been sending audio from iTunes to multiple targets for a long time. 
    Am misunderstanding what’s been added?
    My Bluetooth Wonderboom SE pair are now recognized by macOS and can be used as my new speakers. That's just an obvious benefit of Airplay 2. No Airport device necessary, just a Bluetooth signal strong enough to connect and hold the connection.
    edited July 9 libertyforall
  • Reply 7 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 312member
    For what it’s worth, from a MBP in iTunes running 10.13.6, I was able to simultaneously link up an ATV, a HomePod and a 1st generation AirPort Express. That option doesn’t work in iOS 12.4.1., however.
    libertyforall
  • Reply 8 of 14
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 831member
    Back in the day I used and airport express optical output through a couple splitters to feed a few stereo receivers to build a poor msn’s multi-room audio system. It’s was pretty nice (though the rat’s nest of cables was something only a nerd could live). I could play music right from iTunes. And there was a remote app for earlier iPhones (maybe there still is?) so I could control it while sipping a cocktail on my patio. 

    Then I cleaned up my house, bought into Sonos gear and resigned myself to streaming everything through the Sonos App. Which isn’t as bad as many around here say it is. I love that I can make a queue or playlist consisting of local iTunes tracks, Spotify, bandcamp, Amazon & Apple Music tracks. Sonos is completely agnostic about the source of your content. Still, I missed iTunes. And Sonos could never be driven by the iTunes UI. Content had to be streamed through the Sonos App’s UI. 

    I have a Sonos Beam and a few Sonos One speakers with Airplay 2 on order for launch day.

    I’m looking forward to DJing the music around the house using iTunes again. I loved how quickly I could traverse my music collection on the big screen with iTunes library windows and a mouse. 

    I guess I’ll find out how terrible iTunes is (or isn’t) since it’s quite a different animal than it was 6 years ago. 
    libertyforall
  • Reply 9 of 14
    k129051k129051 Posts: 5member
    k129051 said:
    AirPlay 2 can't really come to the system audio, at least the extended buffering enhancements because it's impossible for the system to buffer audio it doesn't know about. In contrast, iTunes which has the whole song file already can buffer ahead with AirPlay 2 long form audio.

    You guys seem to be slipping with the quality of your articles lately!
    AirPlay 2 isn't just a dumb stream. Before the file even starts, the receiving device knows exactly how long it is, how the file is encoded, and how much data to expect. System audio beeps are very, very small.

    So, yes. System audio is playable through AirPlay 2.

    Feel free to review the commenting guidelines.
    My understanding is that system audio is effectively a low latency live stream— as different apps may be passing audio to the system there's no guarantee of what that audio might be (format, length, etc); it's not just the system beeps.

    AirPlay of system audio is redirecting that low latency stream to an AirPlay speaker (re-encoding it for and delivering to the AirPlay speaker).

    You may have multiple audio sources playing to system audio, for example one might be playing a game. If you think about the context of the game, much of the audio is in response to player actions, so it's not possible to predict minutes worth of the stream. System audio is not "long form" audio.

    Apple's Developer documentation talks about long form audio for AirPlay 2: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/avfoundation/airplay_2/getting_airplay_2_into_your_app

    Mike, thank you for directing me to the commenting guidelines, I'll refrain from breaking rule 3 and 18 in the future.
    edited July 10
  • Reply 10 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,874administrator
    k129051 said:
    k129051 said:
    AirPlay 2 can't really come to the system audio, at least the extended buffering enhancements because it's impossible for the system to buffer audio it doesn't know about. In contrast, iTunes which has the whole song file already can buffer ahead with AirPlay 2 long form audio.

    You guys seem to be slipping with the quality of your articles lately!
    AirPlay 2 isn't just a dumb stream. Before the file even starts, the receiving device knows exactly how long it is, how the file is encoded, and how much data to expect. System audio beeps are very, very small.

    So, yes. System audio is playable through AirPlay 2.

    Feel free to review the commenting guidelines.
    My understanding is that system audio is effectively a low latency live stream— as different apps may be passing audio to the system there's no guarantee of what that audio might be (format, length, etc); it's not just the system beeps.

    AirPlay of system audio is redirecting that low latency stream to an AirPlay speaker (re-encoding it for and delivering to the AirPlay speaker).

    You may have multiple audio sources playing to system audio, for example one might be playing a game. If you think about the context of the game, much of the audio is in response to player actions, so it's not possible to predict minutes worth of the stream. System audio is not "long form" audio.

    Apple's Developer documentation talks about long form audio for AirPlay 2: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/avfoundation/airplay_2/getting_airplay_2_into_your_app

    Mike, thank you for directing me to the commenting guidelines, I'll refrain from breaking rule 3 and 18 in the future.
    In practice, the biggest difference between AP1 and AP2 is the track info that's passed to the device. If something is, say 24K like a system beep, AP2 will identify it as not needing a buffer and play it as soon as it starts getting the file. Or, for something like game audio where timing is important, it will do the same.

    AirPlay 2 is bi-directional. The device will communicate BACK to the sender, giving it sync info, so something longer like a video will start only when the receiving audio device gets a sufficient buffer to essentially guarantee no breakdown in the bitstream. 

    AP1 didn't have such niceties. 

    I appreciate your perusal of the guidelines. I wish everybody did.
    edited July 10
  • Reply 11 of 14
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,543member
    Airplay 1 just had a fixed 2-second buffer, which made things much, much simpler, but made low-latency audio impossible, obviously.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    So why is AP2 ONLY for iTunes?!  Why not for say QuickTime Player?!
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Airplay 2 is supposed to allow you to send a different song to each speaker. Just tried this from my Mac and while I can send music to any of my devices, if I select a specific device and try to send a song to it, it says I have to sign into Apple Music for it to work!

    What gives? Am I doing something wrong?
  • Reply 14 of 14
    I’m curious, can I ask my HomePod to play music from my Mac which is currently capable of streaming to my AirPlay 1 compatible AirPort Express and have that work?  If we don’t ever get AirPort Express to be AirPlay 2 compatible that may be a decent workaround.
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