Using AirPlay and Bluetooth devices with SoundSource

When using AirPlay and Bluetooth hardware for audio playback on your Mac, you may notice that these devices do not behave the way standard, plugged-in audio outputs do. Read on for details on what to expect with this hardware.

AirPlay devices

The way MacOS handles AirPlay devices as audio outputs is unfortunately quite clunky. As a result, selecting AirPlay devices in SoundSource may work differently than you expect.

If an AirPlay device is not currently set as the Mac's output, it will not appear as an available audio output device to the rest of the Mac at all. This includes SoundSource.

When an AirPlay device is set as your system's output device, MacOS dictates that all of your audio be sent to it. It is not possible for SoundSource to send only some audio, such as a specific application's audio, to an AirPlay device. As a result, SoundSource does not list AirPlay devices in the per-application output selectors.

To send the audio from one specific application to your AirPlay devices, we recommend using Airfoil. Airfoil is designed to send a specific application's audio to AirPlay-compatible devices.

Bluetooth devices

Unlike AirPlay devices, it is possible to use Bluetooth devices as per-app outputs. To start, the Bluetooth device must be connected to your Mac via the Bluetooth System Preference. Once the device is connected, it will appear in SoundSource's output selectors.

AirPods special-case

When they are available for connection, AirPods and other W1/H1-powered Apple & Beats headphones will only show in SoundSource's System Output and System Input selectors. Once the device is connected, it can also be selected in the per-application output selectors.