AirPlay Doesn’t Need Wi-Fi Network in iOS 8 Thanks to New Peer-to-Peer Feature

peer-to-peer airplay

Apple talked about a lot of new features coming this fall to iOS and OS X. However, there was also a lot of stuff they left off. One such feature that is coming to iOS 8 is the ability to share data from your device to Apple TV without needing to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Your device doesn’t even need to be online at all in order to share your screen with others through the set-top box.

It is called “Peer-to-Peer Airplay Discovery and Playback.” From Apple’s enterprise page:

“With iOS 8, you can wirelessly connect iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to Apple TV without first connecting to the organization’s network. Which means you can present or share your work even if you’re offline or the organization has a complex network.”

Currently, users must be connected on the same Wi-Fi network in order to send data from an iPad or iPhone to Apple TV. This new feature will allow users to “wirelessly connect” their iOS device to Apple TV without the need of the local network.

There is no additional information as to how this will work. However, AirDrop uses a similar peer-to-peer connection. Airdrop uses Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between devices. It is likely that Peer-to-Peer Airplay will use a similar technology.

Assuming Peer-to-Peer AirPlay will use the same design as AirDrop, users will have to give permission to accept the data before streaming it on Apple TV. There has already been chatter around the Internet that random strangers or neighbors will be able to stream their vacation photos or other content on your Apple TV without needing a password. This is highly unlikely. However, it would be just as annoying if you received a pop up message asking if your neighbor could send you a YouTube video while you are in the middle of “Game of Thrones.”

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • weirdroid

    I’ve been able to do this for two years with HTC Media Link HD. I think Samsung has the same thing called AllShare or something.

    There’s no Bluetooth involved, it just uses “WiFi Direct” which has been on smartphones for years. It allows “ad-hoc” or “P2P’ WiFi networking.

    I thought AirPlay and IOS devices must have WiFi Direct already. Isn’t that how the easy setup with your router is done, same as HTC? (phone connects to receiving device directly, device reads your WiFi settings from the phone and then connects itself to your network). Perhaps with IOS it was used only for setup and didn’t allow P2P streaming till now…

    With the HTC device you need a password to connect with WiFi Direct, so there’s no need to grant permission to display content.

    It’s still better to be on a WiFi router/LAN when convenient (like at home) because WiFi Direct means the streaming device is not online while it is connected to the receiving device.

    • Lory Gil

      Thanks for the information. I was still a bit confused as to how P2P Airplay will work. Sounds like your comment hits the mark. Currently, Users can stream content from iOS to Apple TV only if both devices are using the same local Wi-Fi network. I am not aware of an “easy setup” with Apple TV that uses the iPhone’s Wi-Fi settings. When I set mine up, I had to manually enter the information. Your comment is very helpful. Thanks for letting us know.