This $10 app enables AirPlay on older Macs

“Maybe you’re like me and you have a relatively modern Mac. I bought mine in the Spring of 2011, but… it was a late model 2010 MacBook Air,” E. Werner Reschke writes for T-GAAP. “It lacks a few features the newer MacBook Airs currently sport: back-lit keyboard, new Intel iCore-series processors and a limit of only 4GB of RAM. But it works — matter of fact It works really well, however, one feature it lacks has bothered me since the day Apple released OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: It can’t use Airplay.”

AirParrot magically lets you do what Apple wasn’t able to do (supposedly due to Intel vs Hollywood DRM issues) with your older Mac — use Airplay to mirror your monitor through Apple TV,” Reschke writes. “AirParrot costs $10 USD, but to ensure it works for you there is a free 20 minute trial. This technology must not be rocket science, as the app weighs in at only 4.9MB. AirParrot runs as an app, becoming an icon in the top right of the OS X toolbar, settling in next to Spotlight, WiFi, Bluetooth, Time Machine and Messages.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I love AirPlay and I love that Mountain Lion has it, but it’s audio/video-only. It would be really nice if Apple would enable audio-only AirPlay on the desktop. Just let me send the Mac’s audio to output over Airplay, or integrate Airplay into apps like it is on iOS. With a Mac and AirPlay and Airport Express, it’s iTunes or nothin’.

    1. if you want to airplay only audio, apple does support this.

      1. open system preferences.
      2. select “sound”
      3. select “output”
      4. scroll down the list and select your apple tv, airport express or third party airplay device.
      5. turn on device your tv/audio device that is connect to your airplay connected device
      6. play audio from your computer


      1. *short cut*

        with the sound icon in your menu bar
        1. simply hold the OPTION key and click the sound icon and you will be shown input/output options.
        2. simply select apple TV for example and now you can play your browser audio or other third party application directly to your airplay device

        Note: You will probably be shown more options if you use the steps described above.

        1. HOLY CRAP! I never knew this! Obviously I haven’t poke around in Mountain Lion enough. Man, I hate getting older and being so damn busy I don’t have time to play. Thanks, again!

      2. I like the steps and I checked in a store so I could see the options were there on a demo Mac … but on my mac at home, I only see the output option of “Internal speakers” yet I have apple tv on and an extreme (although no speakers connected to that.

  2. Maybe it’s gotten better buti tried AirParrot almost as soon as MountainLion was released and found that it lagged quite a bit especially when it came to video. Words and picture were never in sync and the video stuttered quite a bit. Be sure to use the trial before plopping down your $10.

    1. You are correct, air parrot is flakey, unreliable and nothing like the real thing in performance. Keynote lags horrible on it, video gets out of sync, it’s terrible and not worth ten bucks.

      1. Air Parrot is not terrible on my circa 2009 MBP. It’s not perfect, but it works reasonably well for both audio and video. It’s nice to have the option since Apple isn’t supporting even relatively new machines with Airplay.

        1. We tried it at my org, it was running on over 100 devices. Devices ranged from 2006 MacBooks to 2011 Macbook Pro’s. One constant: Performance issues.

          Video out of sync, Keynote unusable with it. Crashes. Doesn’t work worth a darn in wifi saturated areas. It was buggy and did not perform well at all. It actually pushed our timeline up for 10.8 upgrades so we could have the real thing. The bugs in it were worse than the few we were concerned with in Mtn Lion.

          Airplay is amazing and is an order of magnitude better in all the areas I criticize AirParrot. It is a frustration inducing stop-gap until you can get the real thing. The older your hardware, the worse it works. It is not worth $10.

          We have over 30 rooms with Apple TV connected to projection systems, things were not smooth until we got the real thing.

          I’m sorry but you won’t convince me it is good, I supported it for 6 months, the users hated it. They love Airplay though..

  3. Be careful! Airparrot installs two kexts that interfere with cursor activity on some MBPs. Here’s what their support says:

    ” Unfortunately these issues are related to a bug with Apple’s Nvidia drivers on earlier MacBooks. The only way to remedy this is to remove the AirParrot driver or to disable your screensaver. The following Macs will have this issue when using the External Display driver in AirParrot: MacBookPro5,5 MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009), NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, MacBookPro5,4 MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2,53 GHz, Mid 2009), NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, MacBookPro5,3 MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce 9400M and MacBookPro5,1 (2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) with both NVIDIA GeForce 9400M and NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT. We’ve provided this tool to remove the graphics driver.”

    1. AirPrint is different, designed to work with iOS devices, used only for printing to AirPrint enabled printers or via the use of AirPrint Activator, Printopia or something similar.

      AirPlay is for media playing across devices.

  4. I use AirParrot on an AirPlay-capable MBA because… It allows you to set the TV as a desktop extension rather than just a mirror. Very nice to throw a Quicktime window (or whatever) to watch a video on the TV (projector screen, in my case) but still have the main computer screen available for other apps; browsing, etc. It’s a good app.

  5. Just tried the v1.5 trial on Skyfall, an .m4v Handbreak conversion of a torrent of a 1080P BlueRay disk. Had some minor stuttering when using a QT player full time thru my 1st gen AppleTV on my 34″ CRT Sony HDTV. Computer was my mid-2010 iMac i7. Overall, pleased with the $10 app giving me functionality I didn’t have before. I’m sure older, less capable equipment won’t have the results I did. Anyway, gave them the $10 and have it for when I need it. Save’s having to import everything to iTunes and using ATV controls to play something, like a full screen YouTube video.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.