Airplay symbol not showing up on Mac? Puzzling Apple error fixed


Living in the digital age, it seems as though anything is possible. From video calling family halfway across the world to flying drones overhead, technology allows us to do many things that we couldn’t before.

In 2020, we don’t even have to be at home to turn up the heating, apps and devices have been created to make our lives more streamlined.

Apple’s ‘Airplay’ feature was initially made for music but now, Airplay lets us stream wirelessly between device screens, video, audio and photos.

The ability to move images or media from one device to another, say from your Apple Macbook to an iPad, is great. But when there are complications such as the Airplay symbol not showing up on Mac, it can be frustrating.
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Is the AirPlay symbol not showing up on Mac?

AirPlay lets us enjoy all our home entertainment in more places than ever before. with this feature, you can share media such as music, photos and videos from Apple devices to an Apple TV, selected speakers and smart TVs.

To activate AirPlay, click the AirPlay icon (usually located in top-right menu) on your Apple device.

This all seems very straight-forward, but things get more complicated when the AirPlay symbol is not showing up on your Mac.

  • The most likely reason that the Airplay symbol is not showing up is because the device you are near is not compatible. So, firstly, you’ll need to check the compatibility of your devices.

Some models of Sony, Vizio, Samsung and LG TVs are compatible. For a full list of AirPlay2-enabled TVs, please head to the Apple website by clicking here.

If music is more your ‘thing’, see a full list of the AirPlay2 compatible speakers here.

  • Alternatively, you may not be close enough, or there could be interference from other electronics such as a microwave oven. Be sure that there are no devices which could interrupt the AirPlay connection in the area.
  • Always ensure that your Mac and Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV are all on the same Wi-Fi network.
  • AirPlay must also be enabled on your television.
  • Check that your iOS is updated to the very latest software.
  • Connectivity issues can also cause AirPlay to not work, so always try rebooting your home broadband router, then connect both devices to the same Wi-Fi network.

If the AirPlay icon is still not showing on your Mac, please follow the steps below.

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Displays > Tick the box that says: “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available.”

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The AirPlay display is off, there’s no ‘on’ option

Taking things a step further, if you still can’t see the AirPlay icon after ticking the box as outlined above, you may have also noticed that the AirPlay display is already set to ‘off’ and that there’s not an ‘on’ option to choose from the drop-down list.

The reason that this setting will show as ‘off’ and not give you the option to turn it ‘on’ will be to do with the fact that the AirPlay connection is automatic.

Once an Apple TV or compatible smart TV is in the vicinity of your Mac (which has the ‘Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available’ box ‘checked’, it should connect and this AirPlay display will change to ‘on’ by itself.

airplay symbol not showing up on mac
AirPlay display is off, there’s no ‘on’ option

Can you screen share between Mac and iPad?

It can be confusing with AirPlay to think that the feature provides screen-sharing between any Apple devices. But, as outlined above, this isn’t the case.

But, if you wish to screen share between an Apple Mac and an iPad, this is possible. The application required to do this is called ‘Sidecar’.

To access Sidecar head to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences“. Now, select “Sidecar“.

Please note, the following criteria must be met for Sidecar to work:

  • Both iPad and Mac within a distance of 10 metres (30 feet).
  • Turn on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Handoff to use Sidecar on a wireless connection.
  • If you wish to use the app via a USB connection, ensure that your iPad is set to “trust” your Mac as a device.
  • The Mac and iPad must be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.

Full list of Sidecar requirements, as outlined by Apple, please click here.

“Could not connect to Samsung 7 series” AirPlay error on TV

Many people attempting to use AirPlay with their TVs also encounter issues. If you’re seeing an error message “Could not connect to Samsung 7 series“, don’t panic, this should be a simple fix.

  • Firstly, you need to ensure that your devices meet the minimum requirements when it comes to operating systems. In this case, the requirements are MacOS Mojave 10.14.5 and iOS 12.2.
  • Update your devices to the latest OS and you should be up and running again.
  • Samsung often runs firmware updates on their devices, should the error still persist after updating the Apple OS, it should be rectified once the TV has been updated.
  • Another solution can be to reboot the internet router. This may seem very simple, but in some cases, just restarting the router fixes this issue. To reboot your router, turn everything off at the mains. Unplug the internet hub and wait around five minutes. Then plug the router back in and turn on at the wall. Turn on the internet hub and wait for it to reboot itself.

Should you encounter any issues with Apple AirPlay or any other apps or devices, please don’t hesitate to contact Digi Helpdesk today. Freephone 0800 433 7963 to speak to a human being.

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