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Critics love to perpetuate the notion that there’s only one way to do something on an Apple device. There’s actually two ways to turn on AirPlay. First, users can swipe up from the bottom of any screen to reveal Control Center. If you’re using iOS 10, swipe to the second screen on Control Center and select Apple TV as the target from the list at the bottom. For iOS 9 and earlier versions, simply tap the AirPlay button on the bottom of Control Center and select Apple TV. If this is your first time using AirPlay, you may be asked to enter a code that’s displayed on your Apple TV.
As with most media apps, Google Play Music has built-in support for AirPlay. Simply tap on the AirPlay icon on the music playback screen and select Apple TV. I recommend turning on AirPlay using Control Center before you even launch Google Play Music. That way, your music will begin playing through Apple TV immediately.
Avoid Music Stuttering Bug
There’s a small defect that surfaces when listening to Google Play Music over AirPlay. When the album art screen is displayed, the music “stutters”. I find it to be quite distracting. You can avoid this by launching the Screensaver on Apple TV. From the Home Screen, simply press the menu button on your Siri remote once or twice. This will manually display the screen saver. You’ll still be presented with track information whenever a new song starts playing. Apple TV displays a small image of the album cover and song information on the top right corner of the screen.
Unfortunately, this bug is unique to Google Play Music. When I used Spotify with AirPlay, it worked fine. It’s a small issue, but it would be great if they fixed it.
Use Siri Remote to Control Google Play Music
Although AirPlay requires a device to beam music, you can still use the Siri Remote to control some aspects of playback. Users can pause/resume and skip tracks using the Siri Remote. This works best if your source device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch with Google Play Music app) is unlocked. Otherwise, if you pause, AirPlay will disconnect, which is an intentional part of its design. Although it may drain the battery faster, setting Auto-Lock to Never will keep the AirPlay session active, even if you pause for a long time. It’s best to turn screen brightness all the way down if you do this.
To pause Google Play Music with the Siri Remote, simple press the play/pause button. Resume music playback by pressing the play/pause button again. You can skip forward by tapping (not clicking) the right side of the Touch surface. Start a song from the beginning by tapping the left side of the Touch surface. Tap the left side of the Touch surface twice to skip to the previous song.
Siri commands do not work with any AirPlay music app. I tried asking Siri to pause and skip songs, but it said it “can’t do that here”. There’s no real advantage to using Siri instead of the remote buttons. Using the Siri Remote’s controls is much faster and simpler.
You can also use the controls on the Google Play Music app. I prefer to just put my iPhone out of the way and use the Siri Remote. (continue…)