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?
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.</span>
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