When the Apple TV was updated to version 6.1 earlier this week, it was initially thought that there were minimal changes outside of the ability to hide icons in the main menu. However, a new report from AFP548 (via Daring Fireball) indicates that Apple also enabled AirPlay device discovery over Bluetooth as well.

Here’s one that will make educators and education network administrators realllllly happy. There’s a hidden gem in the AppleTV 6.1 update that was released today.

In addition to bonjour negotiation for AirPlay, iOS 7.1 devices will also look for AirPlay sources over bluetooth when doing it’s scan! This means you do NOT need bonjour to AirPlay.

appletvbluetoothImage via AFP548

This change allows Apple TV to search for connectable devices over Bluetooth, bypassing Bonjour and making it easier for education and business administrators to set up iOS device and Apple TV pairings. Previously, Apple TVs could have a difficult time discovering devices on networks that might block Bonjour.

The new feature has three requirements: an Apple TV updated to 6.1, an iOS device updated to 7.1, and IP connectivity between both devices. AFP548 found during its testing that the feature doesn't yet support Macs, but that the ability could be added in a future update.

Apple TVs have become an important replacement for traditional projectors in both educational and business settings, and these changes are likely to make it even easier for administrators to consider switching to Apple's solution.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
101 months ago
Once again, Apple does things half-assed.

It would be great if Bluetooth could be used to negotiate a direct Wifi connection between the devices, so it would be possible to stream media to an Apple TV even when there's no local WiFi network both devices can connect to.

It isn't even that difficult to implement, and would be awesome in situations where someone brings along an Apple TV and plugs it into an available projector or TV, then streams to it with their phone or iPad, without having to join any local Wifi networks.

But of course, this is Apple we're talking about. They tend to half-ass really cool ideas.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JerryCards Avatar
101 months ago
That is a great feature. Apple should have done this long time ago.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MikhailT Avatar
101 months ago
So I don't get it. What's the advantage? My iPhone syncs instantly with my Apple TV over the AirPort router at work. But the work network is really unstable. I wish I could just connect via Bluetooth.

No advantages for regular customers.

Bonjour is for automatically establishing a connection between two endpoints without doing any configuration, it's used to find a specific resource (computer, printer, etc) on the network to register your app with. The actual data transfer is then handled by Wi-Fi or ethernet now that the two know each other.

In a home network, it's not a problem to have bonjour running sending out data to find services/devices to register with.

If we didn't have bonjour, we would have to figure out the IP address manually on the printer/computer, and then manually enter it in the app to start the connection.

This is for networks where Bonjour is restricted or blocked outright, such as corporate or school networks where there might be dozens or hundreds of devices.

Instead of using Bonjour to establish the connection, you can now use Bluetooth, which doesn't use up the network traffic and instead uses short-wave radio to find other bluetooth devices to establish the connection. After the connection is established, Airplay will use the Wi-Fi network to transmit the data now it knows both endpoints to transmit the data between.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ManifoldSky Avatar
101 months ago
But of course, this is Apple we're talking about. They tend to half-ass really cool ideas.

You apparently didn't bother to think this through. In fact, your comment is entirely irrelevant to this article. Allowing Bluetooth handshaking does NOT have anything to do with ad hoc streaming. They are two entirely different things. To allow this to happen, ad hoc streaming would have to be added, completely independent of Bluetooth, to the AppleTV software stack. In fact, while this capability would be nice, there is no need for bluetooth to be involved at all, only the ability for the AppleTV to join ad hoc networks, which, again, has nothing to do with Bluetooth.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
w0lf Avatar
101 months ago
Wi-Fi is just a bit faster than bluetooth. A rather large bit. You can send high quality audio over bluetooth, but not YET the video resolution WiFi can do.
Clearly you misread what they wrote. They wanted bluetooth to initiate an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection, not actually use a bluetooth connection to stream the content.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Solver Avatar
101 months ago
Once again, Apple does things half-assed.

It would be great if Bluetooth could be used to negotiate a direct Wifi connection between the devices, so it would be possible to stream media to an Apple TV even when there's no local WiFi network both devices can connect to.

It isn't even that difficult to implement, and would be awesome in situations where someone brings along an Apple TV and plugs it into an available projector or TV, then streams to it with their phone or iPad, without having to join any local Wifi networks.

But of course, this is Apple we're talking about. They tend to half-ass really cool ideas.

Wi-Fi is just a bit faster than bluetooth. A rather large bit. You can send high quality audio over bluetooth, but not YET the video resolution WiFi can do.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Mac Notebook Upgrade Program

Apple Introduces New MacBook Upgrade Program for Business Partners

Monday November 29, 2021 7:38 am PST by
In association with CIT as the financing partner, Apple has launched a new Mac Upgrade Program for small businesses and Apple business partners that allow companies to easily distribute and upgrade their fleets of MacBooks at an affordable price to all of their workers. As outlined on CIT's website, shared by Max Weinbach, Apple Business Partners can distribute the 13-inch MacBook Pro,...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature

Best Cyber Monday Deals for AirPods, Apple Pencil, iMac, More

Monday November 29, 2021 4:19 am PST by
With Black Friday over, Cyber Monday 2021 is now in full swing and you can find many of the same sales as last week on Apple products like AirPods, Apple Pencil, and iPad Pro. In this article we're focusing on the best Cyber Monday discounts on Apple products like these and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we...
2017 apple tv

Cyber Monday: Original Apple TV 4K Drops to $99.99 for Amazon Prime Members

Monday November 29, 2021 12:01 pm PST by
We've been tracking Apple product and accessory deals for Cyber Monday 2021 today, and now Woot is offering a solid discount on the previous generation 32GB Apple TV 4K. You can get this device in new condition for just $99.99 if you're an Amazon Prime member. Note that this sale will last for one day only. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...
maxresdefault

Five Features to Look Forward to in the 2022 MacBook Air

Tuesday November 30, 2021 1:51 pm PST by
In 2022, Apple is going to release an updated version of the MacBook Air with some of the biggest design changes that we've seen since 2010, when Apple introduced the 11 and 13-inch size options. In the video below, we highlight five features that you need to know about the new machine. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. No More Wedge Design - Current MacBook...
telsa cyberwhistle

Elon Musk Urges Customers to Buy 'Tesla Cyberwhistle' Instead of Apple Polishing Cloth

Wednesday December 1, 2021 4:01 am PST by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has encouraged customers to buy the "Cyberwhistle" for $50 instead of Apple's much-discussed Polishing Cloth. The product page, which Musk shared on Twitter on Tuesday evening, offers a limited edition stainless steel whistle with the same distinctive design of the Tesla Cybertruck:Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from ...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature 2

Best Cyber Monday Apple Accessory Deals Available Today

Monday November 29, 2021 6:41 am PST by
We started sharing deals on Apple products for Cyber Monday 2021 earlier today, and now we're tracking deals and bargains available from all of the best Apple accessory companies. Similar to Black Friday, you can expect Cyber Monday savings from Twelve South, Nomad, Belkin, Casetify, and many more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
iphone holiday

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:58 am PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2021 sales have now carried over into Cyber Monday as well. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like iPhone SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...
airpods prototype translucent

Transparent AirPods and 29W Power Adapter Prototypes Surface in Photos

Tuesday November 30, 2021 7:16 am PST by
Images of transparent prototype AirPods and a 29W Apple power adapter have been shared on Twitter by Apple device collector Giulio Zompetti. The prototypes, which appear to be either first-generation or second-generation AirPods, feature clear plastic along the stem and around the outer side of the earbud, with the normal white plastic on the inner side of the earbud. Transparent casings are ...