In an abrupt and unexpected change, Netflix no longer supports Apple’s AirPlay feature in the iOS app.
Users noticed that the feature stopped working this week, and now a Netflix support page says it doesn’t support AirPlay “due to technical limitations.”
Netflix confirmed in a statement to The Verge that because of the way that AirPlay 2 works, the company chose to end support for the feature. According to the statement, AirPlay doesn’t have digital identifiers that Netflix can use to see which device is receiving the stream. With the wealth of TV manufacturers Apple partnered with to bring AirPlay 2 to more televisions, that means Netflix can’t tell which TVs subscribers are casting to and can’t certify they’ll get the best experience.
“We want to make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use. With AirPlay support rolling out to third-party devices, there isn’t a way for us to distinguish between devices (what is an Apple TV vs. what isn’t) or certify these experiences. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue Netflix AirPlay support to ensure our standard of quality for viewing is being met. Members can continue to access Netflix on the built-in app across Apple TV and other devices,” a Netflix spokesperson told MobileSyrup.
There’s also speculation that the change is related to Apple’s TV+ announcement, which could become a significant competitor to Netflix. However, this idea is largely unfounded. Netflix maintains that discontinuing support for AirPlay is purely a technical issue and not related to Apple’s video content aspirations.
Regardless, the loss of AirPlay shouldn’t affect your ability to stream too much. You’d be hard-pressed to find an AirPlay-ready device that doesn’t have a built-in Netflix app. AirPlay mirroring works as well, although it isn’t the most convenient solution.
You can probably use Google’s Cast platform as an alternative too. Most smart TVs support it to some degree, and in a worst-case scenario, buying a Chromecast isn’t overly expensive either.
Update 04/06/2019 at 4:53: Added more information on the technical issues that lead to the removal of AirPlay support as per a statement given to The Verge.
Update 04/08/2019: Added a statement from Netflix and clarified that, despite speculation, the discontinuation of AirPlay support is purely a technical issue and not related to Apple TV+.