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tvOS/iOS 13.2 to include AirPlay 2 support in HomeKit, new AirPlay TV features

04 Oct 2019 | Rasmus Larsen |

Apple's upcoming tvOS 13.2 and iOS 13.2 software updates will introduce 'Automatically AirPlay to TVs', 'Transfer to HomePod', and support for AirPlay 2 devices in HomeKit scenes and automations.

Automatically AirPlay to TVs

Apple will soon introduce new AirPlay features to make it easier to send video from an iPhone or iPad to Apple TV and AirPlay-enabled TVs from LG, Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. A new 'Automatically AirPlay to TVs' feature will allow an iPhone/iPad to "discover and automatically connect to nearby AirPlay TVs you use frequently when playing content from apps you regularly use with AirPlay". The option can be set to automatic, ask, and never.

Siri suggestion to AirPlay TV

AirPlay & Handoff iOS 13.2

In addition, Apple says that when Siri suggests a movie or TV show to watch on the lock screen, it will now let you push video to Apple TV or a compatible TV with a single tap. We expect to see lots of "suggestions" for Apple TV+ shows in the near future. There is also a new 'Transfer to HomePod' feature that lets you "bring iPhone close to the top of HomePod to transfer what's playing". These new features can be found under 'AirPlay & Handoff' in the general settings menu on iOS.

AirPlay 2 support in HomeKit

A potentially exciting development is support for AirPlay 2 devices, including compatible TVs, speakers and Apple TV, in HomeKit automations and scenes. The feature briefly appeared in iOS 13 betas but was pulled before public release. It has returned in iOS 13.2 and tvOS 13.2. With HomeKit automations, you can set speakers to automatically stop playing when you or everyone leaves the house. Or set lights and classical music to activate at a specific time of day or when you enter a specific room at home. In addition, AirPlay automations can be triggered when a HomeKit-enabled sensor detects something. It is not yet possible to set the AirPlay device as the trigger that enables something else. To use AirPlay 2 devices in HomeKit, you need a HomeKit hub such as an Apple TV or HomePod. The latter has yet to be updated so in our test set-up Apple TV would send music to AirPlay 2 speakers without turning on the connected TV.

AirPlay 2 support in HomeKit

With HomeKit scenes, you can create a custom scene such as 'Relax' that dims the lights, rolls down the blinds, and plays music on your AirPlay 2 devices when you press the Relax button, as seen above. At this time, only audio/music is supported but it is easy to see how Apple could expand support to video, allowing a user to start playing video from Apple TV+, Netflix or another service automatically (automation), at the push of a button (scene) or through a Siri voice command. Or automatically turn on the TV and tune in to a sports match at a specific time. Samsung 2018 and 2019 TVs support AirPlay 2 only, while select TVs from LG, Sony (pending update), and Vizio as well as Apple TV boxes support both AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. Apple has yet to announce a release date for iOS 13.2 and tvOS 13.2 but we expect them to appear sometime in October or November.

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