Along with the updates released earlier today, Apple has now released macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 to the public. With this release, Apple is touting AirPlay 2 within iTunes (which requires a separate update to version 12.8).
This means iTunes will have more reliable AirPlay playback with less latency, and stereo paired HomePods are now recognizable in the main AirPlay switcher. Before, iTunes would display all the HomePods separately (separating left and right stereo pairs for example) in the main switcher and only support remote control in the ‘Switch To:’ menu.
iTunes had previously been able to play audio to multiple AirPlay devices with AirPlay 1, but latency was an issue and Wi-Fi disruptions would immediately affect playback. With AirPlay 2, audio streaming can buffer several seconds ahead of time to account for Wi-Fi disruptions and multi-room playback is supported on iPhone and iPad as well.
What we’d like to see next is system wide AirPlay 2 support. This way, the Mac can play anything over AirPlay 2 to devices such as HomePod. As it stands now, AirPlay 2 support is limited to iTunes on the Mac; system wide audio relies on classic peer to peer AirPlay and can’t see stereo HomePod pairs.
Audio picker menu. Old iTunes on the left. New, AirPlay 2-enabled iTunes on the right.
The macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 update adds AirPlay 2 multi-room audio support for iTunes and improves the stability and security of your Mac. This update is recommended for all users.
AirPlay 2 for iTunes
- Control your home audio system and AirPlay 2-enabled speakers throughout your house
- Play music at the same time on multiple AirPlay 2-enabled speakers in your house, all in sync
Other improvements and fixes
- Fixes an issue that may prevent Photos from recognizing AVCHD media from some cameras
- Fixes an issue that may prevent Mail users from moving a message from Gmail to another account
For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT208864
For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222