iTunes for Windows has always fallen behind the Mac version in features and reliability, and you might assume it can’t stream music to an AirPlay speaker. However, it can do that, and it has had the feature for over a decade.
AirPlay is Apple’s wireless video and audio technology, allowing you to stream music to wireless speaker or video content to a compatible TV or display — much like Google Chromecast. It’s mostly used to stream music from iPhone or iPad apps to speakers and TVs, but it also has other uses. You can set an AirPlay device as the system audio output on Mac, set up multi-room audio, use AirPlay as a second display on Mac, and much more.
AirPlay is supported in iTunes for Mac and Windows, allowing you to stream the music you’re playing to any AirPlay target — including compatible smart TVs, speakers, or even Mac computers. That’s right, it works on Windows. Just click the AirPlay button to the right of the volume slider, and any AirPlay-compatible devices on your local network will show up. However, it has been known to have bugs on Windows over the years, potentially causing speakers to not appear (which might be why some assume AirPlay is not on the Windows app at all).
If you never noticed that AirPlay button on Windows before now, you might be wondering when that showed up. Surprisingly, the answer is that it has always been there! AirPlay was introduced in iTunes 10 on both Mac and Windows, in September 2010 — the same release that added the ill-fated “Ping” social network. AirPlay replaced the older ‘AirTunes’ feature that was already in iTunes, which allowed local music streaming to devices like the AirPort Express.
Sure enough, firing up iTunes 10 in a virtual machine shows my MacBook as a compatible AirPlay target. You can even play audio on other devices throughout your local network.
However, iTunes for Windows can’t act as an output for other AirPlay devices, and you can’t stream your PC’s full system audio through iTunes. You’ll need third-party tools like AirParrot for those features.
Apple Music is currently in development for Windows, which is expected to supersede iTunes once it’s ready, just like the Music app replaced iTunes on Mac in 2019. However, the new version only supports Windows 11, and it’s not clear if that will change before the final release.
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