Reminder: AirPlay devices can stream to AirPlay 2 speakers like the HomePod

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 11
AirPlay 2, Apple's latest evolution of their wireless streaming protocol, was recently released, bringing with it an array of new features and changes. This had many wondering, will original AirPlay devices stream to AirPlay 2 speakers?

AirPlay 2


As you may expect, here at AppleInsider, we get lots of questions. A frequent one has been concern that older devices may not be able to select an AirPlay 2 speaker, like the HomePod, as a playback target.

Luckily, the answer to this is question is yes -- older devices that are still limited to the original AirPlay can stream audio to any AirPlay 2 device. That means if you have an older iPad lying around, it can still play music to the HomePod and other AirPlay 2 targets.

We've tested this out on an original iPad running iOS 5, as well as a first generation iPad mini running iOS 9. In the case of the HomePod, it is identified similarly to the AirPort Express, with a generic speaker icon.

Obviously, the AirPlay iOS device can't stream to multiple AirPlay 2 speakers, though.






iOS and tvOS 11.4 finally brought AirPlay 2 to the masses, though it was expected to launch as part of iOS 11 last fall. The biggest headline feature of AirPlay 2 would be multi-room streaming, though HomeKit support, Siri control, and much improved buffers also make the list.

Even though older gear can still stream to AirPlay 2 speakers, they don't get to take advantage of all the new features. Only one speaker can be cast to at a time, and they can't be controlled through Siri or the Home app.

Manufacturers have been slow to roll out support for AirPlay 2, with Sonos being the first to actually deliver the update to their existing speakers.

Others such as Libratone, Denon Bang & Olufsen, and more have all pledged to bring AirPlay 2 to existing and new devices in the coming months.

Currently, the only AirPlay 2 devices available are HomePod, Apple TV, Sonos Beam, Sonos One, Sonos Play:5, and Sonos Playbase.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 2
    JoefonzJoefonz Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    I think the big question is really, can Airplay 1 receivers like Airport Express and several A/v receivers and speakers still broadcast music through them from an Airplay 2 device which is soon to be any iPhone later than 5.  iOS 12 has announced that it will be compatible on all devices back to iPhone 5. 

    Many of us own Airport Extremes where they plug into some sort of receiver that power speakers.  With Airplay 1 you can send music to one  Airplay zone at a time.  With Airplay 2 you can send music to multiple Airplay 2 zones at a time (home pod and Apple TV 4).  But what happens to all those Airplay 1 compatible zones being pushed by airport express, A/V receivers out there and Airplay 1 speakers?  Can they still receive sound but not while other zones are playing music?  How do Airplay 1 and Airplay 2 receivers coexist?
  • Reply 2 of 2
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,224administrator
    Joefonz said:
    I think the big question is really, can Airplay 1 receivers like Airport Express and several A/v receivers and speakers still broadcast music through them from an Airplay 2 device which is soon to be any iPhone later than 5.  iOS 12 has announced that it will be compatible on all devices back to iPhone 5. 

    Many of us own Airport Extremes where they plug into some sort of receiver that power speakers.  With Airplay 1 you can send music to one  Airplay zone at a time.  With Airplay 2 you can send music to multiple Airplay 2 zones at a time (home pod and Apple TV 4).  But what happens to all those Airplay 1 compatible zones being pushed by airport express, A/V receivers out there and Airplay 1 speakers?  Can they still receive sound but not while other zones are playing music?  How do Airplay 1 and Airplay 2 receivers coexist?
    Any given network can have multiple AirPlay streams going at any time, as it is an IP-based protocol, not a broadcast to all devices on a LAN. AirPlay 1 receivers stream fine from AirPlay 2 devices, as the latter is backwards-compatible with the former.

    At this minute, I have AirPlay 2 streaming from iTunes to an Apple TV, and two other families have AirPlay 1 streams going to two cheapo AirPlay 1 speaker sets in other areas of the house. I just fired up an AirPlay 2 stream to the HomePod, and all four are playing fine, on the same network.

    However, an AirPlay 2 iPhone or iPad will not stream to multiple AirPlay 1 targets, the same as it has always been.
    edited July 18
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