Spotify calls off plans to support AirPlay 2, frustrating iPhone users


App icons for Spotify, Apple Music, and other apps on an iPhone screen.
Enlarge / Spotify and Apple Music on an iPhone in 2018.

Getty Images | stockcam

iPhone users have been asking for Spotify to add AirPlay 2 support for ages, but yesterday Spotify told users they shouldn’t expect the feature to be added any time soon.

AirPlay 2 was added to iOS more than three years ago, and users have been asking for Spotify to support it for many months. It offers lower latency, multi-room support, and Siri integration. Apple provides ways for developers to connect experiences to it, and sometimes works directly with prominent app developers who are seeking to implement it. Many other major audio apps on the iPhone support it. AirPlay 2 has become available in several non-Apple products too, like recent TVs from manufactures such as Samsung and LG.

In a thread requesting the feature on Spotify’s official community discussion forums (originally spotted by MacRumors), a Spotify rep published the following message:

Hello everyone,

We’ve discussed this Idea internally and while we are working on supporting AirPlay2 in a proper way, we have decided to close it for now.

The reason for this is that due to audio driver compatibility issues, this seems like a bigger project that we won’t be able to complete in the foreseeable future.

Please keep adding your votes and comments here and as soon as we have anything new to share, we’ll check back with an update.

If you’ve been following both Apple and Spotify over the past few years, you might not find this news surprising. Apple Music and Spotify compete fiercely for dominance of the streaming music market, and Spotify has made antitrust complaints against Apple, claiming that Apple imposes limitations on its devices and software that favor its own services, and that Apple favors its own apps over competing alternatives in the App Store.

In the past, it would not have been possible for Spotify to support many of the iPhone’s platform-specific features, as they were reserved for Apple’s own services or select partnerships. But Apple has since lifted many of those restrictions and provided tools and documentation to help third-party apps work closely with Apple ecosystem features like Siri, AirPlay, and HomePod.

Users can still use the original version of AirPlay from within Spotify. And if they’re using an Apple device to run Spotify, they can use OS-level AirPlay 2 support to gain access to some of the potential benefits of AirPlay 2 with Spotify’s web, mobile, or desktop apps.



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