AirPlay, a content streaming service which allows you to stream videos, music, photos and more from your Apple device to your Apple TV, changed the game of television when it was released in 2010. Your handheld device, or laptop essentially becomes a wireless entertainment system, that can be used even without Wi-Fi. Normally, AirPlay can be used with just a few clicks or taps on your device using the AirPlay icon, which is shaped like a rectangle with a colored in triangle towards the bottom.

On your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, this icon is found in the Control Center or within applications that support AirPlay such as Photos and Music. On your Mac, the AirPlay icon is found in the top menu bar towards the right. In other words, usually the AirPlay icon is very easy to access. However, sometimes the icon disappears suddenly, without warning.

The most common reason that causes an AirPlay icon to disappear is a network problem. It could be that your iPhone isn’t on the same network as your Apple TV or perhaps that your Mac’s network settings aren’t properly configured. If not a network issue, it could be that AirPlay was disabled on your device unwittingly or that your device is fairly old and therefore doesn’t support AirPlay. Here are a few tips you can follow to fix the problem,

Ensure AirPlay Enabled Devices are On (Before iOS 11)

Before the release of iOS 11, the AirPlay icon would only show up in Control Center when your device was near an AirPlay enabled device. In other words, if the AirPlay icon isn’t being seen, it could mean that your Apple TV or other AirPlay friendly device isn’t turned on or isn’t in close proximity to your device. Make sure to turn on your Apple TV or AirPlay friendly device and put your iOS device near it.

Enable AirPlay on Apple TV

Ensure that AirPlay is enabled on your Apple TV. To do this, follow the instructions below,

1. Open your Apple TV and go to Settings.

2. Click on AirPlay.

3. Toggle the button On if it’s currently set to Off.

Enable AirPlay in the Menu Bar on Your Mac

It could be that you unwittingly disabled AirPlay. In order to make sure AirPlay is enabled on your Mac, follow the steps below,

1. Click on the Apple logo on the upper left corner of your screen.

2. Click on System Preferences.

3. Click on Displays.

4. Click on Display.

5. Towards are bottom of the window ensure that Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available is enabled. There should be a blue check when the option is enabled.

Turn Wi-Fi Off and On

Disable Wi-Fi on your device before once again enabling it. When reconnecting to Wi-Fi make sure that your device, and Apple TV (or other AirPlay friendly device) are on the same Wi-Fi network. If you’re using an Ethernet cable then ensure that the cable is correctly plugged into whichever router you are using for Wi-Fi.

Restart Wi-Fi Router

There could be a problem with your Wi-Fi router. By restarting the router, you will refresh the settings. Simply power off the router and after a few seconds, power it on once again.

Disable Bluetooth

For your iOS handheld,

1. Open Control Center.

2. Click on the Bluetooth icon in order to disable it, if it’s currently enabled.

Restart Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV

Contrary to popular belief, turning a device off and then on again is actually a proactive solution, that often works. Power off your device and then after a minute, power it on once again.

Change Wi-Fi Network Settings (Mac)

If your Mac is running firewall, change your Wi-Fi network from Public to Home or Work.

Check Firewall Settings (Mac)

If your Mac is running Firewall, certain settings may be causing the AirPlay icon to disappear. In order to fix this problem, follow the steps below,

1. Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen.

2. Click on System Preferences.

3. Click on Security & Privacy.

4. Click on Firewall.

5. If Firewall is enabled, disable Block all incoming connections by ensuring there is no blue check next to this option.

6. Enable Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections by clicking the box next to this option. A blue check should appear.

Update Software

Updating the software on your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac can solve many problems. Ensure that you’ve the latest software installed on your device. For iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone,

1. Go to the Settings application on your device.

2. Click General.

3. Click Software Update.

4. If a software update is available, click Download and Install.

5. Once the update has downloaded, click Install.

For Macs,

1. Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen.

2. Click System Preferences.

3. Click Software Update.

4. If you see any available updates, click Update Now.

Fix Connectivity Issues

It’s possible your Wi-Fi network connection is being interrupted by certain devices, such as a baby monitor or microwave oven. Ensure that these devices are far away from your Wi-Fi router. If you believe your Wi-Fi router is having configuration issues, contact your service provider for further help, as this may be the problem causing the AirPlay icon to disappear.

Use AirPort Extreme

AirPort extreme combines the functions of a router, network switch, and many other wireless functions. While this solution isn’t ideal, it often works for most users. You would replace your current router with an AirPort Extreme. Once connected, devices can stream and mirror with AirPlay quite easily.

Using one of the methods above, your AirPlay icon should appear. Always be sure to keep your software up to date. Often times software updates can include a few bugs. However, Apple constantly releases subsequent software updates in order to fix the problems from previous updates. For that reason, it’s imperative to always download and install the latest software on your device.