What Is AirTunes And How It Works?

The technology has evolved surprisingly over the last two decades. Everything that used to consume our time now takes just a matter of a few minutes. The world around us has grown drastically with the introduction of some of the most cutting-edge technologies and products. Along with many things that evolved, music is one of the cracking things that have probably grown a lot faster than the others along with the ease of listening to it. Now, you can play your favorite music tracks in any part of your house without moving an inch. The dream of enjoying music everywhere you go is now right in front of your eyes. It is so simple and easy, and became possible due to the development of AirTunes. Let’s know more about it here!

Part 1: What is AirTunes and AirPlay

AirTunes is a cutting-edge application by Apple that helps us to connect remote speakers to a copy of iTunes. It sends the respective piece of data to those remote speakers through a wireless network/Wi-Fi. With this, it created a way through which many devices can be connected under one roof. Furthermore, it became AirPlay in 2010. AirPlay is a proprietary stack developed by Apple Inc. It is essentially similar, but in AirPlay, other forms of media such as videos and movies can also be played. With the AirTunes app, only music media can be played.

Airtunes is a revolutionary software that was designed by Apple to connect various Apple devices together and play audio within an area of a wireless network such as our houses. You can also use AirTunes iPad or any other device for streaming music. The remote speakers connect to the device through a wireless connection. It was introduced in 2004, enabling users to listen to music with convenience using their device. The AirTunes app evolved to become the AirPlay application, so that other forms of media could also be played. This desirable change gave the users a wide access to use any other media types as well.

The major advantage of using Airplay is that when you stream music stored locally on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, etc. you can only stream it to one device at a time. But when you connect to that device using an AirPlay-compatible app, it becomes an extensive streaming relationship. The amusing fact is that even if you are streaming music from a PC or Mac-based iTunes collection, you can still control the tracks you are playing using an iOS device by downloading Apple’s free remote app. Here is a simple guide on how to use AirPlay.

1. Make sure the devices which you want to connect are on the same Wi-Fi network.

2. Access the control center on your device by swiping up from the bottom of your screen.

3. You will be able to see an AirPlay button. You can only see the AirPlay button when an AirPlay receiver is in the range.

4. You can now see a list of possible AirPlay receivers, each with a TV or speaker icon beside it which shows what kind of content can be played.

5. Choose the device you want to play your content in and start playing it from your device for it to be streamed via AirPlay.

how airtunes works

AirPlay can be used across all your apps which are compatible with it. It is essential to understand that when you turn on AirPlay, it’s now globally activated. So it will work across all the apps compatible with it until you manually switch it off.

To talk about the crucial differences, AirTunes app was originally designed to play audio wirelessly and conveniently from iTunes to an AirPort express, but AirPlay was created to take the next step, that is to enable playing all kinds of media contents. So yes, music versus all kinds of media content is a major difference.

Part 2: How AirTunes works with AirPort Express

You can use Airtunes iPad with AirPort express as a standalone simultaneous Wi-Fi based station and stream music wirelessly. Here, the AirPort express is the only Wi-Fi based station and it provides simultaneous Wi-Fi action and AirTunes streaming. The prerequisite to using AirPort express is that it should be in physical cable range to both the audio device and the DSL/cable router. Follow the steps below to set it up.

1. Using the WAN Ethernet port, and connect your DSL/cable modem to the Airport Express.

2. Connect the Airport Express to the home speakers or any other powered speakers.

3. Plug in your AirPort Express to the power outlet. To know more about it, get yourself familiar with all the plugs here:

how airtunes works

4. Using AirPort utility, create a network. Please make sure that “Enable AirTunes” is checked in the music.

5. Open iTunes on your device and simply select the AirPort express you wish to stream your music through. Enjoy the music anywhere you want.

how airtunes works

You can use these applications on your iPad too. AirTunes iPad can be used and the process is same as above for any other Apple device. In the end, both the applications are creating a new era for Apple users to play media without facing any hassle about the connectivity of their devices to external speakers. Now, all we need is the AirPort Express device or the AirPort Extreme Base Station and all the problems are gone. Also, an extra cable or an analog jack is required to connect the external speakers to the Express device which should always be kept in mind. Or else, even the mere presence of the Express device will not make any difference. The Extreme Base Station also works similar to the Express device. 

This is a new generation of Apple music and probably it will grow faster than our expectations. Apple’s applications have taken the world by storm and have revolutionized the way we enjoy music. The mere idea was a dream a decade ago and now it has come alive in the best form one can expect. The amazing technology created wonders and has simplified many lives. As Greg Joswiak, Apple’s Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing said, “This is the first step for Apple in getting iTunes music into another part of your life -- in this case, into places where there are no computers or iPods.”

Keep this thought in mind while enjoying your music with AirPlay.

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