Earlier this year, those who have an AirPort Express were set in a bit of a rollercoaster as it was reported that the device would, surprisingly, be updated to support AirPlay 2 and Apple’s Home app.
But that wouldn’t last long, as the hardware device stopped being supported by the Home app in a beta version of iOS 11.2, signaling that maybe the AirPort Express wouldn’t be updated to support the newer app or technology after all. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, the iOS 12 beta once again supported the device within the Home app, which suggested that things may be looking bright for the discontinued AirPort Express at some point in the future.
Now, here we are in August and Apple has actually updated the firmware on the AirPort Express (the second-generation model, launched in 2012), and brought with it support for AirPlay 2 and the Home app. The software update brings the AirPort Express’s software to version 7.8, so if you aren’t running the newest software and want to try out the new support, make sure to update.
AirPlay 2 means that users can stream music to a variety of different sources that support the wireless technology, including the HomePod, other AirPlay 2-supported devices from the likes of Sonos, and the Apple TV. Meanwhile, the AirPorts Express has an auxiliary port, which allows it to connect directly to a speaker system.
Once you have updated your software, make sure to add the AirPort Express via the Home app and designate the hardware in a room you wish. From then on, you will be able to use AirPlay 2 and Siri to play music in that room, as long as you’ve got the accessory connected to a speaker.
The best news here is that AirPlay 2 and the Home app support for the AirPort Express running firmware version 7.8 is supported with iOS 11.4.1 and iOS 12, so you can use the feature right now.
This has been a crazy ride, especially for AirPort Express owners. Would Apple support the new technology on the old hardware that has been officially discontinued? Well, now we know the answer, and thankfully it’s good news.