Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Apple is making AirPlay and content sharing better in your home, hotel room, and car

We've rounded up all the AirPlay and CarPlay updates that you can expect this fall.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Top view of a HomePod Mini on a wooden table.

Some of the updates will affect how your HomePod Mini interacts with your devices. 

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Content sharing is a concept I navigate daily in a home with three kids. As technology becomes more essential to daily life, Apple is putting more emphasis on sharing. With the latest software updates coming to Apple products this fall, the company is making sharing content at home, in the car, and even in hotel rooms more effortless. 

Also: Apple no longer requires a $99 account to access developer betas of iOS, MacOS, and other software

The anticipation of what's to come keeps growing as we near the public beta program launch this summer. Though you could install the iOS 17 developer beta today, the biggest updates are yet to come. 

I'll break down what you can expect to look different in your Apple devices around your home this fall.

AirPlay gets smarter with AI

Kitchen HomePod suggestion

Unlike Google during its I/O event, Apple refrained from saying "AI" during WWDC 2023. However, artificial intelligence is an undeniable part of the future of tech and an intrinsic part of many of Apple's products, so the company did share some AI upgrades to its software coming this fall.

For AirPlay specifically, Apple is making it possible for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to use on-device intelligence to learn your AirPlay preferences through machine learning (ML). Your devices can know what you like to listen to, at what time of day, and at what location.

Also: AI was all over Apple's WWDC. It was just running in the background

Suppose you like to play white noise on a HomePod Mini in your nursery at 7:30 p.m. every night. In that case, your devices will learn the pattern and begin suggesting connecting the HomePod Mini at that time, eventually connecting to your device automatically instead of you having to ask it each day.

More third-party apps AirPlay to HomePod

Apple is also making it possible to start an AirPlay session to access third-party audio apps from your HomePod using just your voice without needing to start it on your iPhone or iPad. This means you could ask Siri on your HomePod to play some music from SoundCloud, Tidal, YouTube Music, or any other third-party app that supports SiriKit and AirPlay.

How AirPlay will work in hotels

Apple AirPlay in hotels

Until recently, we hadn't heard much about how AirPlay will work in hotels, but it's a topic that drummed up a lot of interest -- LG's already committed to a new line of AirPlay-equipped TVs for hotels beginning later this year.

Apple will start rolling out AirPlay for IHG hotels by the end of this year. The plan is to make hotel stays a more direct experience, where iPhone and iPad users can go to a hotel and pick up a show right where they left off at home or access their streaming services accounts without having to log into a TV that's not their own.

Also: The best VPNs for your iPhone and iPad (and why you should use one)

Connecting an iPhone or iPad to AirPlay at a hotel TV should be easy enough: A unique QR code will be displayed on the TV. Once you scan it with your device, you get a confirmation on your iPhone or iPad, and it should be automatically connected to the hotel Wi-Fi and the TV via AirPlay.

The QR code is unique to your room and refreshes frequently, ensuring your content isn't accidentally displayed on another TV elsewhere. 

Apple has not put any other protections in place or required hotels to follow specific guidelines to allow their customers to use AirPlay.

Sharing music through CarPlay

Sharing music through CarPlay

If you have teenage kids and watched WWDC, you might've flinched hearing about SharePlay coming to CarPlay.

Apple introduced a new feature for CarPlay that lets other iPhone users get in your car with you and become passenger DJs. When CarPlay is available after your Apple Music-subscribed iPhone is connected, it will detect any passenger iPhones and suggest having them join the session.

Also: The best portable speakers: Sonos, Edifier, JBL, and more compared

Passengers will have the option to scan a QR code that will appear onscreen to join the session. They'll then be able to control the music by adding, reordering, removing, pausing, and skipping any songs -- even if they aren't Apple Music subscribers.

Editorial standards