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No AirPlay Icon: AirPlay Troubleshooting

Oh, the dreaded “no AirPlay icon” issue. You want to stream something from your iPhone to a friend’s or your own AppleTV or other devices, but the AirPlay button is missing in your Control Center. What is going on?

This is an AirPlay troubleshooting guide that lists quite a number of steps you can take to get your AirPlay working. We include solutions for problems such as “no AirPlay icon”, “AirPlay button missing” and “no AirPlay on iPhone”. But first off, here’s a quick explainer on whats Apple’s AirPlay icon looks like and what the technology entails.

What does the AirPlay icon look like?

You may have just missed the right icon, not knowing, what the AirPlay button looks like. The icon combines a screen and a triangle and looks like this:

Why do I need AirPlay?

AirPlay is essentially the link between your iOS Devices (such as iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and your HDTV. You can even use a Mac to stream content to your Apple TV to put your videos on the big screen, or play an iPhone game while using the iPhone as a controller or a second screen. AirPlay also supports photo galleries and lets you view a huge slideshow on your TV screen. Then there are bluetooth speakers and headphones, which you can connect via AirPlay as well. Compatible audio hardware lets you listen to your iPhone music on wireless earplugs, over-ears and speakers. You can also mirror your screen’s content to your TV/HDTV via AirPlay.

Why is there no AirPlay icon in my Control Center?

The usual way to start up AirPlay is to swipe up on your iOS device’s screen (be it an iPhone or an iPad, the process is essentially the same) to bring up the Control Center. In there, you should see an AirPlay button right next to the AirDrop section. The AirPlay button allows you to choose between output destinations for your audio, video or screen mirroring.

If you lack an AirPlay button or the AirPlay button is greyed out, you should check the connectivity of your receiving device as a first step in troubleshooting AirPlay. That means checking whether your Apple TV has AirPlay enabled in it’s settings menu. Or checking whether those Bluetooth Headphones are really turned on and paired with your phone. Your Apple TV should also be connected to the same network as your iPhone for ideal results.

Keep your iOS and Apple TV devices on the latest version of the operating system, this measure ensure that you won’t run into trouble in most cases. Check for an update by visiting the device’s settings.

Another way to rule out temporary glitches is to reboot your Apple TV, iPhone or Router. We have a guide that shows you the quickest way to reboot an iPhone. Restarting your Apple TV is accomplished by going to Settings > General > Restart in the menu. If it isn’t responding, you can also hold down “Menu” and “Down” on your remote for approximately six seconds.


Which Apple Devices support AirPlay?

Not all devices are AirPlay compatible. Check for the official logo or a “made for iPhone” label on the packaging, consult the manual or the manufacturer’s support if you are dealing with non-Apple accessories.

Your iPhone should be an iPhone 3GS or later, such as iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and so on. Your Apple iPad or iPad mini is definitely AirPlay enabled. All Apple TV models support AirPlay. The iDevices need to be on iOS 4.2 or later – most will be on iOS 8 or iOS 9 as you are reading this article. The AirPort Express routers support digital audio output with input coming through AirPlay, thus they present a handy link between your existing stereo and your iDevices.