Does Airplay Slow Down Wi-Fi? (We Checked)

We know the airplay mirroring is the functionality allows you to wirelessly share whatever is on your Mac with the Apple TV which can be quite helpful at times.

But sadly, many users complain that it slows down their WiFi connection.

In this article I’ll explain if airplay uses a lot of wi-fi and how it works and effects bandwidth.

Here’s If Airplay Slows Down Wi-Fi:

AirPlay does affect your network speeds. But there are some other variables in play here, which involves things like wi-fi speed, amount of devices and your router. For the most part these will not be massive usage of internet speed, but can be if you are sharing very large files while using this.

Airplay application and service by Apple, copy space

The first thing to know is that AirPlay works on its own channel, separate from Wi-Fi (and separate from any other wireless devices that use the same 2.4 or 5GHz band).

It uses an entirely different technology than the “air” part of Wi-Fi, so no: Airplay will not slow down your Wi-Fi. That’s why it doesn’t matter whether you have an 802.11n, ac, or ax router—your AirPlay will still be able to run at full speed.

What’s important is that your router has enough bandwidth to support all of the devices in your home: if every person in your family is streaming videos on their phones and tablets at the same time, you might see a slowdown on all of those devices (but not on AirPlay).

AirPlay is not a separate network and doesn’t slow down Wi-Fi.

It sends your media to the Apple TV, then a direct stream between it and the device begins. AirPlay uses the same Wi-Fi network as your other devices, but it doesn’t affect their connection speeds in any negative way.

In other words: Airplay is not a new type of internet connection, so there’s no reason it should interfere with other wireless signals around you..

Any complaints about your Wi-Fi speeds are probably due to something else entirely (like too many people using the internet at once).

How Come My Wi-Fi Is Slower When Using Airplay?

When you use Airplay, your iPhone turns into a hotspot. Your Mac connects to the iPhone’s hotspot, and then the iPhone is connected to your Wi-Fi network.

Let’s say that you have one person using Airplay on an iPhone at home. If there is nothing else connected to your Wi-Fi network, your connection speed shouldn’t change very much at all.

You may even see a slight boost in speed because of the removal of some traffic from your router.

But most people aren’t just using one device at a time on their home network. Let’s add another device or two (or three) onto the network. Now the situation changes quite a bit:

The devices connected directly to your Wi-Fi are now competing with each other for bandwidth and dealing with increased latency

The devices connected via Airplay are also competing with each other for bandwidth and dealing with increased latency

If you have multiple devices requiring more bandwidth than what is available, they will compete against each other for that bandwidth which could result in slower connections all around if there isn’t enough to go around (especially if someone starts streaming Netflix).

Additionally, adding more devices to the chain can increase latency as well which means it may take longer for data packets to get back and forth between them.

Can Using Airplay Directly Affect My Wi-Fi Speed?

So, can using Airplay directly affect your Wi-Fi speed? Yes, it can. AirPlay uses the same Wi-Fi network that you use for other devices.

So if your Wi-Fi is slow and you’re using multiple devices simultaneously on the same network, then yes, it may have an impact on your Wi-Fi speed.

Having said that, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • First of all, yes, Airplay can interfere with your Wi-Fi because they are both dependent on the same connection.
  • However, they’re not as closely linked as you might think. When Airplay uses your Wi-Fi connection to stream audio or video files from one device to another (e.g., from a Macbook to an Apple TV).
  • It doesn’t actually use much bandwidth at all—so even if there are other people on their phones while this happens in the background — it shouldn’t cause any noticeable slowdown for anyone else connected via WiFi.
  • If your connection suddenly gets slower after setting up Airplay, you can verify that it is causing problems by running a speed test.
  • You can use an app for this on your mobile phone or tablet, such as the Speedtest app, which is available on both iOS and Android.
  • Alternatively, you can also use the website from your computer.

How Do I Check If It Interferes With My Wi-Fi Connection?

To perform a test through the Speedtest app: without your device connected to Airplay and wirelessly connected to Wi-Fi in one room of your house or apartment, open the app and start a new test from there.

Note how long it takes to complete the test—the time should be displayed on-screen when the test finishes running.

Then repeat this process but with the device that you have set up with Airplay enabled; make sure it is connected to Wi-Fi while testing again in another part of your house or apartment (so that we’re not testing exactly in the same place).

Compare these times. If they are similar—or if there is only a small difference between them—it’s likely that Airplay isn’t slowing down your Wi-Fi connection significantly (if at all).

However, if there’s a big difference between these two tests—and especially if it takes significantly longer to run the speed test while using Airplay—then this confirms that AirPlay has interfered with either your wireless network or internet connection (or both).

Read our other blog here about does Facetime slow down wi-fi?

How Much Bandwith Does Airplay Use?

Airplay uses a small amount of bandwidth. It’s estimated to use <1.5% of the Wi-Fi bandwidth in your home.

To put this into perspective, streaming Netflix on a smart TV can use up to 3GB per hour for HD streaming and 7GB per hour for 4K Ultra HD streaming.

Airplay is significantly less than that.

Now that you know what might be slowing down your Wi-Fi, let’s take a look at how to fix the issue.

Can You Stop Airplay From Interfering With Your Wi-Fi?

The best way to prevent Airplay from interfering with your Wi-Fi is by changing the configuration of your networks.

If you’re using a dual-band router, consider separating your Airplay devices and other devices onto different bands. This will make sure that the two types of traffic don’t interfere as much as they would on the same band.

If you’re using an older, single-band router and you can no longer stream without seeing buffering messages, it might be time for an upgrade.

Look into getting a newer model with dual bands so that you can separate out your traffic more effectively and stop Airplay from interfering with your Wi-Fi.

Another thing you can do to reduce Airplay interference is to set up Airplay through an ethernet cable instead of wirelessly.

You’ll probably have better luck streaming music or videos if everything runs over physical cables instead of over Wi-Fi signals through multiple channels.

If this isn’t enough, think about purchasing a new Wi-Fi router that could offer faster speed or broader bandwidth for additional data streams running simultaneously in order to reduce issues caused by interference between wireless signals on multiple channels.

If you’re having trouble with slow or choppy playback when you’re streaming a video from your computer to an Apple TV, try these suggestions:

  • Check to make sure that you have the latest software for your devices (Apple TV Software 5.0 or later). You can do this by going into the Settings app on Apple TV and selecting General > Software Updates.
  • If you’re using a Mac or PC, make sure that it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV or AirPort Express device.
  • Try turning off other devices on the same Wi-Fi network.


The bottom line is that AirPlay can affect your Wi-Fi speed. It depends on the quality of your network and the volume of data you’re transferring.

To find out if AirPlay is interfering with your network, use a tool such as iStumbler to see how many networks are competing for bandwidth in a particular area.

If there are more than ten networks competing, you could be experiencing interference.

Read more about does Google Nest slow down my wi-fi?


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