How To Use AirPlay in the Photos App on iPad

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AirPlay button in Photos app

If you own an Apple TV (new 2nd gen model) then AirPlay is potentially one of the coolest new features included in the recent iOS 4.2 software update for the iPad. AirPlay allows you to stream content from your iPad or iPhone (or Touch) to your TV screens via Apple TV. The content you can stream is pretty limited right now, but should expand in future – both via the clever efforts of jailbreakers and through Apple updates.

For now, you can stream YouTube videos, some of your own videos taken with an iPhone (though via a fairly convoluted process), audio from the iPod app and 3rd party apps that have been updated to support AirPlay, and photos. Audio and photos are my two favorite things to stream so far. Who doesn’t love seeing all your latest shots of family and friends on a great big screen, especially with no need for cables.

Using AirPlay to stream your photos from the iPad is easy once you know how, but it may not be immediately obvious to all so I thought I’d offer some quick pointers on using it here.

Requirements to make AirPlay streaming work:

— An Apple TV – the new 2nd gen model that was released earlier this year.

— An iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 4.2

— Your iDevice and Apple TV must be on the same local WiFi network

How To Use AirPlay to Stream Photos from the Photos App

— When you first open the Photos app you will *not* see an AirPlay button

— In order to see the AirPlay  button you must open an album or your entire photo library and tap on an individual photo. Once you have done that, you will see the AirPlay button at the top right of the screen – as shown in the screenshot at the top of this post. The icon is an unfilled rectangle with a solid triangle jutting into it from the middle bottom.

— Tap on the AirPlay button and you’ll be presented with a small popover where you toggle the display to either your iPad or to Apple TV. You can also make use of the AirPlay button from within a photos slideshow.

Using AirPlay in the Photos app

That’s all there is to it. Hope you all enjoy your Airplay photo streaming.


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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3 thoughts on “How To Use AirPlay in the Photos App on iPad”

  1. I haven’t had an Apple TV because my TV doesn’t have HDMI inputs, but over the past two weeks while we have been on vacation up to visit my parents, I bought an Apple TV for my mother as a Mother’s Day gift and have been so blown away by what I had, to this point only theoretically considered a potentially cool device that now I’m now firmly in the market for a new TV just so that we can get an Apple TV box ourselves. It should be noted there is more streaming content than you mention here. For example, if you go into iTunes and load up a podcast, it will stream the video to your TV; but the big winner is the 2.99 app Air Video, which streams any movie on your computer to your iPad – converting on the fly if necessary – and giving you full AirPlay support. We use handbrake on the Mac to convert our DVDs to a digital format (DVDs are soooooo 3 years ago…) and even with the conversion from DVD and then streaming to an iPad, to an Apple TV, through a cord to the TV, they look great! My kids have been loving watching Tangled and Megamind, and I have loved how easy it is to stream a little digital babysitting while making dinner or trudging through the process of bringing my parents kicking and screaming into the modern age (yes, mother, your 500 dollar iPad can do more than play jigsaw puzzles. Let me show you…)

    Disclaimer: I may sound like a salesman, but I’m not. Just a convinced fan of Apple TV and air video.

    1. Ha! That’s great stuff. Hope you get yourself setup with one of your own soon. More and more apps are supporting AirPlay video now; it’s really becoming more and more of a killer feature all the time.

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