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If you play a lot of music and do so on your computer, even if you shut down the display, you will use a fair amount of electricity. Saving electricity not only saves you money, but is better for the environment. I strongly recommend transferring the current music (or video) you want to listen to from your computer-based iTunes library to your iOS device. Your iOS device uses a fraction of the electricity of a computer, especially a Mac Pro. This is easily done by dragging and dropping the music from your iTunes library, onto your iPad or iPhone. If you are having problems with iTunes wi-fi sync, please refer to this how-to guide.
5. Set auto-lock to “never” on your iOS device (iPad or iPhone). I have noticed that I usually get a crash shortly after my iPad’s screen goes dark automatically. Perhaps there is a bug in AirPlay caused by some power-saving feature. I don’t have this problem when I lock the device by clicking the “hold” button (on the side of the device).
6. Always make a playlist. I recommend this, even if you are just listening to one album. It will enable you to enjoy a seamless music experience. I often start listening to one album, and want to listen to another. With a playlist, I just add it to the end or anywhere in between. Maybe I don’t want to hear a certain song. With a playlist, I just remove the song. I often regret not making a playlist but never regret making one. It takes a few seconds, and makes for a better listening and user experience.
7. Make sure your Apple TV is up-to-date. Usually, Apple TV will prompt you when a system update has been released. However, it doesn’t hurt to check once in a while. You may have missed it, or perhaps someone else in your household saw the message and skipped the update. It could also be an issue on Apple’s side. You can check for system updates by going to settings → general → update software from the Apple TV home menu. Usually updates are improvements. The update immediately after iOS 5.0 was released was a disaster, however.
8. Restore your Apple TV. This may sound drastic, and it is, but not that hard to do. There really isn’t anything stored on your Apple TV, except maybe what’s in the buffer. You don’t need to back up any files or worry about losing anything, so it’s not too bad. Check out Apple’s knowledge base article on how to do this… Restoring will work if something was corrupted on your Apple TV. It can happen…
9. Reboot everything. I mean everything — even your wireless router. Shut down your components in the following order: Apple TV (put it to sleep and then unplug it), computer, any iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), and your wi-fi router. Wait a few seconds, and then boot them up in the reverse order (wi-fi router, iOS device, computer, plug in Apple TV).
10. Play your music directly on Apple TV. With the 5.2 upgrade, Apple added the ability to directly play iTunes purchases without an iTunes Match subscription. With 5.2.1, this feature is pretty solid. This will only allow you to play iTunes purchases. You need to subscribe to iTunes Match to play music you have imported into iTunes. Simply click on the Music icon on the home screen and navigate the menus to access your iTunes music. The audio quality isn’t amazing. The bass seems hyped and the quality seems like it is less than 256 kbps AAC. It’s good for short sessions. The user interface is decent, allowing one to manage playback with the Up Next list.
I offer these suggestions for those who still have problems after restarting Apple TV. For me, restarting Apple TV works 100% of the time. As long as I remember to do this before I start a music-listening session, everything works fine. If I forget, the worst thing that happens is Apple TV crashes, reboots itself, and I miss about 5-10 seconds of music and the album art no longer shows up. I have never had to restore or do a ecosystem-wide reboot.
These are a few tips for having a better AirPlay experience. I hope it helps. I have noticed the crashes tend to center around playing music from my iPad or Mac. It is Apple TV that crashes. The iPad and Mac still seem unaffected. I have very few crashes when playing video, be it from the iPad, iTunes on my Mac, Hulu, AirParrot, or Netflix. This bugginess all seems to center around playing music from iTunes or Music. Too bad I listen to a lot of music. Sometimes you’re just better off turning on the radio. My Sony HD radio sounds great and never fails.
Got any tips for using AirPlay? Leave a comment… I may add it to this post.