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Airplay on a Mac

  • 20 September 2018
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I am an Apple ignoramus. My wife wants to use iTunes on her Mac to send to our Sonos system using Airplay. However the Sonos support page just talks about iPad/iPhone w.r.t. Airplay and when I look on her Mac, the Airplay options only show our Apple TVs as destinations. Can a Mac not use Airplay to Sonos gear?
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Best answer by pwt 20 September 2018, 16:10

Yes, a Mac can use AirPlay to send audio to AirPlay-capable Sonos devices. You should be able to select Sonos Airplay targets by clicking on the Sound icon in the menu bar, as shown below in the example from my system.


If this does not work for you, let us know what version of OS X you are running, and which Sonos devices you want to use.
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Userlevel 7
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Yes, a Mac can use AirPlay to send audio to AirPlay-capable Sonos devices. You should be able to select Sonos Airplay targets by clicking on the Sound icon in the menu bar, as shown below in the example from my system.


If this does not work for you, let us know what version of OS X you are running, and which Sonos devices you want to use.
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Thanks, that did it! Silly me for looking on the AirPlay menu (which only does video). Sonos, please update your Airplay support page for dolts like me.
I have a similar question.
I got a Sonos One and it works without any problems, but when I try to stream something from my Macbook (End 2008, OsX ElCapitan 10.11.6) there are some problems.
I can see the speaker at the SoundOutputs but there is no sound playing from the speaker.

Is there a solution to this problem?
I have a similar question.
I got a Sonos One and it works without any problems, but when I try to stream something from my Macbook (End 2008, OsX ElCapitan 10.11.6) there are some problems.
I can see the speaker at the SoundOutputs but there is no sound playing from the speaker.

Is there a solution to this problem?
Airplay 2 requires Mac OS 10.13.6 or higher, so that is the issue. If you want to play tracks from your iTunes library then it is better to set up a Sonos music library anyway, rather than use Airplay.
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Hi John B
I'd be really interested to know why using iTunes via the Sonos library is preferable. I've been a Sonos user for 6/7 years and one of the things I've found really frustrating from the start is not being able to play direct from iTunes. I'm browsing this thread and others to decide whether investing in a One is worth it to allow me to do that. I've also been using the Audio Cast 3rd party app for a few weeks, which allows direct playback, and finding it no worse than the Sonos app in terms of stability, though it's pretty basic.

I love iTunes for organising music (smart playlists particularly), and having to update the Sonos library whenever I buy new music is a pain. Also relying on the Sonos app to keep in touch with my Mac seems to be one troublesome link that can be done away with. Genuine question.

Cheers,
Gareth

I have a similar question.
I got a Sonos One and it works without any problems, but when I try to stream something from my Macbook (End 2008, OsX ElCapitan 10.11.6) there are some problems.
I can see the speaker at the SoundOutputs but there is no sound playing from the speaker.

Is there a solution to this problem?
Airplay 2 requires Mac OS 10.13.6 or higher, so that is the issue. If you want to play tracks from your iTunes library then it is better to set up a Sonos music library anyway, rather than use Airplay.
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I'd be really interested to know why using iTunes via the Sonos library is preferable. I've been a Sonos user for 6/7 years and one of the things I've found really frustrating from the start is not being able to play direct from iTunes.
The benefit is that the speakers do the work, so music playback is independent of the controlling device (apart from the case where music is being pulled from a local library on the device). It means you can switch at will between controlling devices, and multiple users can control the same playback from their own controllers. You also aggregate multiple local and remote music sources into a single Sonos control point.

It sounds like your needs are simpler, and perhaps a simpler product would be better for you. Failing that, there are now multiple options for using AirPlay with Sonos -- assuming you're a macOS/iOS user.
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Thanks pwt, that makes sense. Those are real advantages, undermined in my case because my collection is on a laptop that moves around a lot and tends to lose connection, requiring lots of re-starts and mucking about.

I need to weigh up whether to continue to try to make the Sonos app and my Mac get on better together, (possibly by getting another Mac that stays in one place) or go for AirPlay and iTunes, and enjoy having iTunes organising things, in the main. Or both.

Mmm.
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I have a similar question.
I got a Sonos One and it works without any problems, but when I try to stream something from my Macbook (End 2008, OsX ElCapitan 10.11.6) there are some problems.
I can see the speaker at the SoundOutputs but there is no sound playing from the speaker.

Is there a solution to this problem?
Airplay 2 requires Mac OS 10.13.6 or higher, so that is the issue. If you want to play tracks from your iTunes library then it is better to set up a Sonos music library anyway, rather than use Airplay.


John, that doesn't explain the problem. Airplay 2 is backwards compatible to Airplay 1. You should be able to use Airplay 1 to output to Sonos airplay speakers.
I have a similar question.
I got a Sonos One and it works without any problems, but when I try to stream something from my Macbook (End 2008, OsX ElCapitan 10.11.6) there are some problems.
I can see the speaker at the SoundOutputs but there is no sound playing from the speaker.

Is there a solution to this problem?
Airplay 2 requires Mac OS 10.13.6 or higher, so that is the issue. If you want to play tracks from your iTunes library then it is better to set up a Sonos music library anyway, rather than use Airplay.


John, that doesn't explain the problem. Airplay 2 is backwards compatible to Airplay 1. You should be able to use Airplay 1 to output to Sonos airplay speakers.
Please see other thread that you posted on. Sonos does not work with Airplay 1 (like Bluetooth, because it is unreliable and not suited to multiroom). Therefore Airplay 2 is the only option on Sonos, and therefore you need an OS that works with Airplay 2. So my original answer IS correct.
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I have a similar question.
I got a Sonos One and it works without any problems, but when I try to stream something from my Macbook (End 2008, OsX ElCapitan 10.11.6) there are some problems.
I can see the speaker at the SoundOutputs but there is no sound playing from the speaker.

Is there a solution to this problem?
Airplay 2 requires Mac OS 10.13.6 or higher, so that is the issue. If you want to play tracks from your iTunes library then it is better to set up a Sonos music library anyway, rather than use Airplay.


John, that doesn't explain the problem. Airplay 2 is backwards compatible to Airplay 1. You should be able to use Airplay 1 to output to Sonos airplay speakers.
Please see other thread that you posted on. Sonos does not work with Airplay 1 (like Bluetooth, because it is unreliable and not suited to multiroom). Therefore Airplay 2 is the only option on Sonos, and therefore you need an OS that works with Airplay 2. So my original answer IS correct.


You should research before you post.
https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/206273/reminder-airplay-devices-can-stream-to-airplay-2-speakers-like-the-homepod
https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/streaming-from-macbook-to-beam-6810295/index1.html#post16262307
If you can airplay 2, then you can airplay 1. That's what backwards compatible means. It's still working intermittently from my MacBook Pro, it's more consistent with my iOS 10 iPhone. Any general advice from Sonos support on this bug?
Sonos does not support Airplay 1. The website makes no mention of it, only Airplay 2. Backwards - compatible or not, the Sonos software would have to integrate it for it to work reliably. If it somehow works, but unreliably, that is not a bug, it is unsupported, and Sonos are not going to do anything about it. I have managed myself to see my Sonos Airplay 2 compatible speakers from an iPad 2 (Airplay 1 compatible only) and stream audio very, very inconsistently. I know that is possible. It changes nothing I said.

For a comparable situation, Sonos does not support DLNA, yet it is still sometimes possible to stream using it. But if it doesn't work reliably, pointless complaining to Sonos.

FYI I only post what I believe has a strong basis in fact. I am of course wrong sometimes, but I always do my research.
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If you have an AirPlay 2 capable Sonos speaker it also supports AirPlay 1, for client devices that can only use the earlier form of the protocol. This is because AirPlay 2 retains backward compatibility with AirPlay 1.

As for the 'bug', I've experienced no issues with AirPlay 1 streaming to Sonos speakers. However, the only system I use for this is an old iPad '3' running iOS 9.3.5, streaming to a P:5 gen 2 stereo pair.
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Sonos does not support Airplay 1. The website makes no mention of it, only Airplay 2. Backwards - compatible or not, the Sonos software would have to integrate it for it to work reliably. If it somehow works, but unreliably, that is not a bug, it is unsupported, and Sonos are not going to do anything about it. I have managed myself to see my Sonos Airplay 2 compatible speakers from an iPad 2 (Airplay 1 compatible only) and stream audio very, very inconsistently. I know that is possible. It changes nothing I said.

For a comparable situation, Sonos does not support DLNA, yet it is still sometimes possible to stream using it. But if it doesn't work reliably, pointless complaining to Sonos.

FYI I only post what I believe has a strong basis in fact. I am of course wrong sometimes, but I always do my research.


I posted in the relevant threads to set the record straight. Your statements are not accurate. I can't speak for DLNA but the other things you say, while not flat out wrong, are not quite true. Airplay 1 and 2 are backwards compatible. I have no idea nor have I ever heard of language requiring a smart speaker's S/W to "integrate" an Airplay 1 sending device. For example, I never had trouble outputting over Airplay from an iOS 10 iPhone. Sonos has never clarified it and without their clarifications, you are muddling the issue.
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Using AirPlay on Sonos hinges on specifically being able to support AirPlay 2. Based on the Apple Support article on AirPlay, it seems like Airplay 1 and 2 are two separate things with different OS and firmware requirements.

To cross check, here's a site that shows what OS devices support iOS version. Using this you should be able to deduce what Apple devices use what version of AirPlay.

When it comes to backwards compatibility between the two versions of AirPlay, you'd likely have to ask Apple for clarity on that. I know that my iMac from 2011 (on macOS 10.13) is able to use AirPlay 2 to connect to some of my Sonos speakers.
Thanks Keith that's helpful, but still leaves me with some uncertainty.

Let me first play back what I think is true. Historically Sonos never supported Airplay 1 (as we now call it). Airplay 2 was introduced on some speakers (those with the required hardware) and the Sonos 'promise' is that with those speakers you will be able to use Airplay 2 provided your controller device has an OS version that is Airplay 2 compatible. Sonos has no view on whether back compatibility does or should allow Airplay 1 to be used, and would not regard it as a bug if it didn't work on Sonos. Airplay 1 is just not on Sonos' radar.

My experience, and it appears that of @boris 1, is that on our systems Airplay 1 does not work reliably. @pwt, on the other hand, seems to have been able to use it without problem. My conjecture (it is only that) is that Airplay is not fully back compatible on Sonos speakers. Anyone with an Apple device that is not Airplay 2 compliant runs the risk of Airplay not working on Sonos.

The thing I am (now) most hazy about is to what extent - if any - Airplay on Sonos depends on the Sonos software. Because Sonos don't make standalone speakers, they make a whole ecosystem. One could buy a standalone Airplay-compatible speaker, connect it to home wifi, and stream to it using Airplay from a suitable Apple device. Sonos isn't quite like that. The speaker can only become operational for any purpose by being part of a Sonos system. My conjecture/speculation is that that potentially complicates things and may affect the back compatibility, especially given Sonos' 'heritage' of no Airplay compatibility before Airplay 2.

So to what extent, when being used for Airplay, is the operation 'free' of the Sonos ecosystem and behaving as a non-Sonos standalone Airplay speaker would? I would be surprised if the answer is that it is completely independent of the ecosystem, but I am open to all possibilities.
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When we introduced AirPlay 2 on Sonos via software v9.0, the update (among other things) "flipped a switch" allowing for specific Sonos devices to be discoverable to AirPlay sources (iOS, Mac & iTunes).

Personally, while I don't know about the exact "magic" between an AirPlay source and it's end point, it does seem to function fairly independent from Sonos and then "handed" over to the speaker. For instance, when I look at a diagnostic report the play log only defines airplay and the source local IP (much like Spotify Connect or commands via Alexa).
I just wanted to add my 2 cents: I just bought a Beam and I can play music on it via my iPhone SE running iOS 9.3 which I suppose only has Airplay 1.
It works properly, except for some very sporadic breaks.

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