AirPlay disconnects from macOS

Thought I’d check here to see if anyone else has any experience with Airplay failures. I just setup an M1 MacMini as the “house” computer in the kitchen replacing an older iMac. It’s running a fresh install of Sonoma, connected to home network via ethernet.

When trying to play from Apple Music to any Airplay device (frequently played to three different rooms with previous iMac), it connects and there’s a brief blip of music from the speakers before cutting off and the AirPlay icon in Music changing to include an exclamation mark.

Doesn’t seem to matter which or how many remote speakers I choose (two AirPort Express connected via ethernet, one HomePod mini), if even one is selected it fails immediately after starting to play. Music can play successfully through the monitor or the Mac Mini itself.

There’s no errors showing in the console, so basically up against the old Apple problem of little diagnostic information when something doesn’t “just work”.

If anyone has any thoughts or hints, I’m not sure what the next steps might be other than reinstalling macOS which I’d like to avoid.

Does music playback from other computers work? If so, then it might be your new Mac’s network configuration. Maybe sharing services. Maybe firewall settings.

You might also want to check your router(s). Especially if other computers also have issues, but even if it is only the one.

If your Mac is on Ethernet but your AirPlay devices are on Wi-Fi, there may be an issue forwarding traffic between the two network segments. Usually this manifests as only multicast failing to cross between them, which would impact service discovery, but it seems like that’s OK, since you can see the device.

Also check if your router has any kind of intrusion detection security settings. I’ve seen some that are overly aggressive and will treat large bursts of traffic, even originating from your LAN, as if it was an attack, and will take steps to block the traffic. You may have to disable or configure this feature.

After years of trying to make iTunes and then Music sharing work reliably, I finally bit the bullet and installed Plex. $45 a year and none of the nonsense with the Apple apps - highly recommended.

Yes, the iMac that was replaced worked fine, as does my laptop. Problem is specific to the MacMini only.

The mini is on ethernet, as are the two AirPort Expresses, all connected to the same Gbit switch. HomePod is on wifi. All are on the same network segment.

While this may be a network issue, it would seem to be one on/in the Mini, as it’s the common and new factor in the setup.

I’m actually Plex Plus user, run it on a Synology NAS, but never started using it for music. I’ve occasionally thought about setting it up, but I like the discovery/randomness from the streaming services (not that Apple’s are great, but better than nothing).

Well, unless I’m completely misunderstading this use case, it sounds to me like a slam dunk for Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil. $35, free trial available, and if you’re a TidBITS supporter, you get a 20% discount. I use the heck out of it in my home, streaming from my media server (an old iMac running Catalina in a spare room) to my Apple TV in the living room, my MBP in my office, and portable USB speakers of various sorts. All in perfect sync, all starting automatically. Couldn’t be happier.

I have found that it is usually esoteric network configuration issues - things that you might not be aware even exist, things that your wifi or other home network infrastructure may not disclose, may simplify the names of, or may not even let you change - that conspire to break AirPlay or other features based upon automatic discovery.

With WiFi, the obvious ones are making sure that any “isolation” features are turned off (these are meant for use in situations like public hotspots, to prevent connected devices from communicating with others on the network), but you may also see more technical features about proxy ARP, about rate limiting multicast, or broadcast control, that can all impact Apple’s inter-device functionality.

It can be worth searching for the combination of AirPlay and your home network brand or device, or even ask here. I’d tend to avoid the Apple Community forums because they’re rife with people posting rote instructions “for clout” instead of with actual useful answers.