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When You Can Use Airplay Without Wi-Fi (And When You Can’t)

One of the advantages to having all Apple devices is that Apple makes sure all of their devices, be they a phones, tablets, watches, or TVs, work seamlessly together for a great experience. This all runs smooth when the internet is working.  Even today, with multiple powerful internet providers, our service cuts out or is slow more frequently than we would like. So what happens when you want to use Airplay but the Wi-Fi is out?

You can use Airplay over Wi-Fi as long as you have an Apple TV and an Apple Device like an iPhone or iPad. In addition to Peer-to-Peer Airplay, you can also connect a non-Apple device to your Apple TV directly to mimic the effects of Airplay.

In this article, we will discuss how to use Peer-to-Peer Airplay between your Apple device and Apple TV without needing Wi-Fi.  Read below for more in-depth information on this process so that you are prepared when you suddenly find yourself without internet service. Thankfully, Apple has made it incredibly simple to set up.

You Can Use Apple TV Without Wi-Fi

Although having a wireless internet connection seems like a necessity for using Airplay with your Apple devices, you can actually use your Apple TV without having access to wireless internet. There are a few steps that you have to take, but it is a pretty simple process as long as you follow along carefully.

Knowing how to use your Apple TV without Wi-Fi can come in handy if you ever lose your internet connection, or if the connection is so slow that things are taking too long to load.  If you’re interested in learning how to use your Apple TV without Wi-Fi, follow the steps detailed below.

  1. Forget all Wi-Fi networks on your device (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc)
  2. Forget all Wi-Fi networks on your Apple TV.
  3. On both your device and your Apple TV, make sure that the toggle for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are in the “ON” position (more on what to avoid when using WiFi and Bluetooth in our tutorial).
  4. Restart both your device and your Apple TV.
  5. As your device and your Apple TV turn back on, they will discover each other as devices that can connect together.
  6. To initiate Peer-to-Peer Airplay, click on the Airplay icon on your device and choose your Apple TV as the option for connection. Select the option and wait for it to connect.

Your Apple TV may display a code for you to enter on your device the first time you set up Peer-to-Peer Airplay without the use of wireless internet.

Just enter the code on your device and you will be paired with your Apple TV and ready to stream to your heart’s content. Now that you know how to set it up, let’s talk about how all of this actually works.

How Peer-to-Peer Airplay Works on Apple TVs

If you are not familiar with Peer-to-Peer Airplay, it’s a really useful feature that can be used in a multitude of ways.  Basically, Peer-to-Peer Airplay allows anyone with an Apple device to stream content to an Apple TV without having to be connected to the same wireless network, and it takes mere seconds to set up.

For example, if you have a few people over for the evening, individuals with iPhones or iPads can connect to your Apple TV, share photos or videos, or even stream music for everyone to listen to (our guide on using your smartwatch for music). This makes your gathering more interactive and fun for everyone. Airplay is an interesting feature, but how does it work?

Typically, when your internet access is available, Airplay works by basically “piggybacking” on your wireless network. Both devices connect to the same wireless network so that they can send data or streaming information easily back and forth.

In order for this connection to be made, you need to have Apple devices, like a Mac, iPhone, iPad, and an Apple TV 4K (on Amazon), or Apple TV HD with tvOS 11.4 or later.

If you aren’t sure about your operating systems, you can always check by going to the “general settings” and then “about.”

Moreover, you can look up your specific model online. With all this in mind, you might be wondering what you should do if you don’t already own an Apple device of some kind, but you still want to get your content on the Apple TV without Wi-Fi.

What If I Don’t Have an Apple Device?

If you have an Apple TV, but do not have an Apple device like an iPhone or the iPad (on Amazon), then unfortunately, using the Airplay feature is not possible for you.  However, you are not completely out of luck. If you find yourself in this situation, you can still connect your phone to your television without the use of wireless internet.

If you have an Android smartphone, you can connect your phone to your television using an adapter cord.

These are sold in all different types, so be careful to buy the exact one that you need.  One end of the cord needs to be for an HDMI port while the other needs to fit into the charging port on your smartphone. Typically, this will be a USB-C to HDMI cable.

While it’s unfortunate that this method isn’t completely wireless, it doesn’t require Wi-Fi internet access to connect your phone to your television, which means it’s going to work just fine when everything is said and done. As it was just mentioned, just be careful to purchase the right adaptor.