iPad and iOS Wish List Item: AirPlay in the Background

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AirPlay on the iPad

Here’s an iPad / iOS wish list item I’ve been thinking about for a while now: I’d love to see AirPlay on the iPad be capable of running in the background.

AirPlay sort of snuck up on me – when I first heard it mentioned I didn’t feel excited, but once I started using it and more and more good apps began supporting it I’ve found it more and more of a favorite feature.

Now there’s just so much great video content available on the iPad – from video podcasts to Hulu Plus to TED Talks and news app videos and all sorts of useful how-to screencasts – and this all just makes AirPlay even more of a killer feature.

But … the iPad is a device that I’m nearly always wanting to be doing something on – not just viewing something on. More often that not, it’s in my hands when I’m watching TV in the evening – and I’m browsing news, playing a game, looking at apps for review, or writing notes. If I use AirPlay and switch away from the app that’s using it, then the streaming stops. So I can’t do anything with the iPad while it’s using AirPlay.

For now, my workaround is to use the iPhone as my AirPlay streaming device. I let it sit there with Instacast open and streaming a video podcast for example, while I may be taking notes on the iPad. Obviously this is a far less than perfect workaround – and one that will not always work as there are a number of iPad apps that won’t run on the iPhone. It’s also just a bit of a nuisance to have to be using both devices for this (I know, I know – First World Problem).

I have no idea how viable (or not) it is to think of giving background running capability to AirPlay. I imagine if it was running in the background and you fired up one of the latest, greatest iPad games then something’s gotta give. For streaming a video podcast in the background while taking notes or similar in a writing app doesn’t feel outrageous to me now that the new iPad has 1GB of RAM. 

Anyway, that’s my quick iPad / iOS wish list item for today. I’d love to see this come along with iOS 6, even if it’s just for latest gen iOS devices with enough memory to handle it.

How about you all? What are some of your top wish list items for the iPad and iOS?


Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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8 thoughts on “iPad and iOS Wish List Item: AirPlay in the Background”

  1. absolutely! I do this all the time with my Vaio, WiDi, Netgear Push2TV! But it should work same on iPad.

  2. Actually, some apps are capable of doing AirPlay in the background. Try YouTube as an example (I’m doing it now, in fact), so it is possible. I just don’t know what the requisites are for an app to do that.

  3. Actually I kind of agree with you. But I’d be more interested in being able to start an airplay video, then be able to shut off the iPad screen to conserve battery power. As it stands now as soon as I shut off the screen, the streaming stops. This makes no sense. However a lot of the videos I watch are podcasts which I can pick up on my Apple TV. So I stream from that more often than not now. But for my own videos stored in my iPad, I’d like to be able to shut off the screen. Apple, work on that.

  4. I have recently converted from Android to iPhone 4S and, having been an iPad since v1 (and still am on a first gen ipad) the one feature I am missing so, so much from the Android system is the ability to press one button and have my phone switch on Bluetooth and connect to my car phone system and, when I’ve finished, I could toggle it all off again – straight off the front screen. It’s driving me mad.

    This wasn’t intended to be a request for help – more gripe about the OS and another suggestion for improvement. However, if anyone knows of an App that can do that, please let me know! Cheers…

  5. Indeed it’s already working with some apps. The ‘basic’ video player, the one used when watching videos from the itunes store does the job.

  6. Yes, it may work with a couple of built-in apps (YouTube and Videos) but that’s nowhere near the same as being supported throughout iOS. For me, by far and away the best video apps are 3rd party ones like Hulu Plus, Frequency, Vodio, Squrl, and others. If copy&paste was only supported in the built-in Notes app and Mail I would not consider it much of a feature. This is the same sort of thing.

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