How To Fix the AirPlay Icon Missing on a Mac
Apple’s built-in AirPlay feature is available on some Apple devices, and normally only takes a few clicks to set up. When everything works as expected, the AirPlay icon will display on the menu bar. However, the icon may disappear for common reasons, including connection issues.
Read on for troubleshooting tips to get the icon to display on your Mac’s menu bar and the feature working again.
Tips to Fix Missing Airplay Icon on a Mac
MacOS allows you to use AirPlay for content from different apps and reflects your Mac’s display to other devices. Try these troubleshooting tips to get the AirPlay icon to show again.
Ensure Your Wi-Fi Is On
AirPlay needs to be connected to a Wi-Fi network to run. Here’s how to enable the Wi-Fi on your Mac.
- Click on the Apple icon menu.
- Click “System Preferences,” “Network,” then choose “Turn Wi-Fi On.”
Ensure Your Mac and Airplay Device are Connected to the Same Network
Your Mac can only connect with AirPlay when both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. If they’re connected to different networks, AirPlay will not work, nor will the icon display.
Ensure You’re Using Compatible Airplay Devices
Not all your multimedia devices will be compatible with AirPlay, so check whether you have AirPlay-compatible devices.
Like any wireless network, a device will transmit the information, and another will receive it. A Mac running iTunes can be configured as an AirPlay sender device. AirPlay receiver hardware includes all Apple TV models apart from the first generation, and Air-Play compatible speakers.
Ensure You’re Running the Latest macOS
Running an older macOS could cause the AirPlay icon to vanish. An update might be all that’s required.
- At the top left, click on the Apple icon.
- From the menu, select “System Preferences,” then “Software Update.”
- Select “Update Now.” But if you haven’t upgraded to macOS Monterey yet, choose “Upgrade Now” instead.
- Check the box beside “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” if you prefer to have updates installed automatically.
Try Restarting Your Wi-Fi Router
AirPlay will not work if there is a problem connecting to the Wi-Fi. Rebooting your router is sometimes referred to as a “power cycle.” This will clean out the devices’ cache to help them continue to run smoothly. Your router will also have a chance to re-select the least-crowded frequency channel for a stronger connection to your devices. Just switch your router off and on again to reboot it.
Try Restarting Your Apple Devices
Restarting your Apple devices will clear the RAM and any software glitches that could be causing a problem.
Restart Your Mac
- Access the Apple menu.
- Click on “Restart.”
- Confirm the restart by clicking on the “Restart” button in the pop-up. Otherwise, your Mac will automatically restart after 30 seconds.
Restart Your Apple TV
- Long-press the “Back” button (on second-generation Siri remote) or “Menu” (first-generation Siri remote) and the TV buttons via the Siri remote until the status light blinks rapidly.
- Disconnect your Apple TV via the power source.
- Wait five seconds and reconnect it.
- Open the “Settings” on your Apple TV and go to “System.”
- Select “Restart.”
Restart Your iPhone
To restart your iPhone 13 or later:
- Long-press either volume button with the side button until the shutdown slider appears.
- Drag the slider; your iPhone will switch off after 30 seconds.
- To turn it back on, long-press the side button on the right until the Apple logo appears.
To restart your iPhone SE (second or third generation) 6, 7, or 8:
- Long-press the side button until the shutdown slider displays.
- Drag the power-slider; your iPhone will switch off in 30 seconds.
- To switch it back on, long-press the side button again until the Apple logo shows.
To restart your iPhone SE (first generation) 5 or earlier:
- Long-press the top button until the shutdown slider displays.
- Drag the onscreen slider and wait 30 seconds for your phone to switch off.
- Switch your phone on by long-pressing the top button until the Apple logo displays.
Restart Your iPad
To restart your iPad without a home button:
- Long-press either volume button with the top button until the shutdown slider displays.
- Drag the slider; your iPad will turn off in 30 seconds.
- Turn your iPad back on by long-pressing the top button until the Apple logo appears.
To restart your iPad with a home button:
- Long-press the top button until the shutdown slider displays.
- Drag the slider, then wait 30 seconds for your iPad to switch off.
- Switch it back on by long-pressing the top button until the Apple logo appears.
Check the Firewall Settings
Your Mac’s firewall settings safeguard it against attack by blocking unknown connection attempts. However, this feature can become a hindrance, as it occasionally blocks features like AirPlay. Making a few adjustments to your firewall settings may help. Here’s how.
- Access the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences.”
- Click on “Security & Privacy,” “Firewall,” and “Firewall Options.”
- Check the “Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections” option.
Enable AirPlay Mirroring Again
Try adding the AirPlay icon to your menu bar again.
- Click on the Apple icon to access the Apple menu.
- Press “System Preferences,” then “Displays.”
- Check the “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available” option.
- If there are AirPlay devices to connect to, the AirPlay icon should appear in your menu bar.
Still no joy? Consider contacting Apple for technical support.
How is AirPlay different from Bluetooth?
The difference between AirPlay and Bluetooth is AirPlay can send video and audio. Bluetooth works with audio only. Because AirPlay uses Wi-Fi, it can accommodate higher-quality streaming audio compared to Bluetooth. On the other hand, Bluetooth can support some audio features that AirPlay can’t.
Get Your AirPlay Icon to Display Again on Your Mac
AirPlay should work once your Mac and other device is AirPlay-compatible and on the same Wi-Fi network. When the AirPlay icon disappears from the menu bar on your Mac, the cause is usually due to a connection, setting, or outdated software problem. Luckily, there are a few things you can try yourself to resolve the problem. Restarting your router, your Mac, and the other device, and making sure all is well with the settings on both devices, are among many fixes. And if all else fails, Apple support is available to help.
Did you get your AirPlay icon to display again? What did you do to resolve it? Tell us in the comments section below.
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