Best AirPlay Apps For Android: Gettin' That Dream Stream
Here's a selection of the best AirPlay apps for Android to stream music from iTunes, around your home
Apple’s AirPlay technology has gone from something that barely caught anyone’s attention when first introduced to a growing power feature of the Apple TV. AirPlay allows you to effortlessly stream any music or videos from your iPhone, iPad, or latest Macs right to your Apple TV. It even lets you mirror the entire display, which easily allows the Apple TV to turn any iOS device loaded with games into a pretty slick mini gaming console.
AirPlay is so effortless that, as the market for digital media players gets more crowded with the likes of Chromecast, Roku, and WD TV Play, it’s quickly become a deciding factor with users who are debating which digital media player to buy.
But one thing that AirPlay doesn’t do is give a toss about Android. This could actually be considered a huge oversight on Apple’s part as many Apple TV households have a mix of iOS and Android devices. But knowing Apple, it’s a calculated move that’s designed to keep people in their ecosystem – and keep them buying Macs, and iPhones, and iPads that all work effortlessly with the Apple TV.
Yet all is not lost, for there are other options. There’s a new range of Android apps that have found ways into Apple’s locked kingdom and allow you to use your smartphone or tablet with the Apple TV via AirPlay.
There is a myriad of apps on the Play Store allow you to do this, though some are of course a lot better than others. We’ve gone through selected and tested out some of the best so you don’t have to. Here’s our selection of the best AirPlay apps for Android.
One thing to note is we only tested those on Google Play that use “AirPlay” as a keyword or in the description itself. The majority of these apps turn your Android device into an AirPlay receiver, which means you can stream music from iTunes on your Mac or PC to your Android device. That’s great and all, but in order to get your content from your Android device onto the Apple TV you need to turn your Android phone into a AirPlay transmitter, which the following apps do.
This is the king of the jungle when it comes to AirPlay streaming apps. AllCast lets you send photos, music, and videos on your Android to your Apple TV. Another big plus is that the content doesn’t have to be local. It can be hosted in the cloud and you can simply beam it to your Apple TV at will.
The app also supports more than the Apple TV. Roku, Xbox One and 360, Chromecast, WDTV, and a host of smart TVs are also supported. The free version of AllCast has a one-minute streaming window, so it’s great to test it out. The full version will run you £3.00.
AirStream allows you to send music and audio from your Android to any AirPlay-enabled receiver. As the Apple TV itself is an AirPlay-enabled receiver, this is a great way to get your audio from some of your favorite apps, including DoubleTwist, Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music, and TuneIn, to your Apple TV.
AirStream does have a few drawbacks, however. It only handles audio and it also does require you to root your phone. The app is also time-limited, so after you've used it for a while you’ll need to pay around £4.00 via in-app purchase to unlock it fully.
Forget about its cumbersome name, AppleTV AirPlay Media Player is a great way to stream audio and video to your Apple TV. While the app doesn’t add the easy one-tap AirPlay streaming functionality built into iOS, it does offer you a wide-array of content sources to choose videos from to stream to your Apple TV, including YouTube, Facebook videos Flickr photos, and even local media servers full of videos you may have in your home.
This all-in-one app connects your music, podcasts, and radio and allows you to sync to your phone or laptop from AirSync over Wi-Fi. The app itself is free, but in order to unlock AirSync and AirPlay to Apple TV you have to buy the upgrade. The upgraded version also allows you to manage podcasts and perform album art searches. The best part about the app is that it automatically imports iTunes playlists, ratings and play counts and that you can stream music, not only to Apple TV but also to Xbox 360 consoles, the PS3 and Sonos.
AirAudio streams audio-signals from apps on Android devices to any AirPlay-enabled receiver, including the Apple TV. The catch? Root access is required and the app description gives this caveat: “If your device is supported and you are streaming direct audio-signals from your device, AirAudio will insert some noise until you have purchased a small activation license from inside the application.” While most reviews rave about the functionality of the app, others discuss how the few problems they encountered were quickly fixed after contacting the developer.
Twonky Beam is another AirPlay streamer that allows you to send videos from your Android device to the Apple TV. The idea behind Twonky Beam is simple: using Airplay, as well as DLNA and Bluetooth, it lets you ‘Beam’ content from your Android smartphone to your HDTV. The app ships with a selection of video-channels and is very easy to use – just select what you want to view on your TV and hit the Beam button.
The catch here is that the only videos you can stream are the ones you can access from inside the app. However as Twonky can access most of your photos and videos on your Android device it’s not really a problem. Then again, it’s not as elegant as a solution as on iOS where you can be inside any app and just tap a button to AirPlay your media. Twonky also streams to Roku, Xbox, and various smart TVs.
Flipps HD is a curated channels app that allows you to stream its videos to the Apple TV. While there are over 100 channels in a range of categories including Movies, Music, News, Sports, Entertainment, and Lifestyle, the app doesn’t actually allow you to stream your own video or audio files. That’s kind of a bummer, because Flipps HD is beautifully designed. But at least you won’t be short of content to watch with it.
If you’re not in the mood to splash the cash but want a streaming app that is compatible with AirPlay and Apple TV then this could be the app for you. Coming in two versions – free and paid – PlayTo streams media from your Android device to your HDTV or your Apple TV via as AirPlay. It’s a simple app with big possibilities, letting you access connected devices (NAS drives) and share media around the home using either DLNA or AirPlay.
PlayTo also features a rather exhaustive list of video channels and also supports the following media servers: TVersity, Plex Media Server (v0.9.6.0 and above), Serviio, Majestic, XBMC, Twonky, Skifta, Windows Media Player, iMediaShare, PS3 Media Server, QNAP and Iomega. The full version of PlayTo costs just £1.86, making it one of the most compelling apps in this list.