How do I stream audio from my Mac?

Streaming audio has become extremely popular in recent years. According to one source, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have over 400 million users globally. With the rise of smartphones, smart speakers, and internet-connected cars, people now have more options than ever for accessing their favorite music and podcasts through streaming.

For Mac users, there are a variety of ways to stream audio content. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the main methods for streaming audio from a Mac computer. We’ll cover options like iTunes, web browsers, third party apps, AirPlay, Bluetooth, DLNA, and network streaming. With the right setup, Mac users can easily access audio content from various sources and services.

Stream Audio with iTunes

iTunes provides a simple way to stream audio stations and internet radio right from your Mac. You can browse through curated streaming stations by genre, or create a custom streaming station based on an artist, song, or composer.

To find streaming stations in iTunes:1

  1. Open iTunes and click on the Radio tab
  2. Browse through Featured Stations by genre or location
  3. Click on a station to start streaming

You can also create a custom radio station tailored to your tastes. Simply select a song, artist or genre and iTunes will generate a customized station with similar music. The more you fine-tune your stations, the better the recommendations become over time.

So for endless music discovery, utilize the streaming radio capabilities within iTunes on your Mac. Streaming is an easy way to access new music without having to purchase individual songs or albums.

Web Browsers

Most major web browsers like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox support streaming audio from websites. You can find embedded music and audio players on many popular sites.

For example, YouTube offers a built-in media player that allows you to stream music and other audio. You can search for songs, albums, podcasts, and more. There is also Spotify’s web player which gives you access to millions of songs for free with ads or through a paid subscription without ads. The Spotify web player has playlists, radio stations, and other discovery features to find new music to stream.

These web players eliminate the need to download any additional software or apps. As long as you have the website open in your browser, you can start listening to audio streams right away. Most also allow you to control playback and volume right in the browser using keyboard shortcuts or the on-screen controls.

Third Party Apps

There are many excellent third party apps available for streaming audio on a Mac. Some popular options include:

Spotify – This popular streaming service allows you to listen to millions of songs, podcasts and more. You can download the desktop app for Mac and listen ad-free with a premium subscription (

Pandora – Pandora’s desktop app for Mac lets you stream custom radio stations based on your favorite artists and songs. The free version has ads, while Pandora Plus offers an ad-free experience for a monthly fee (

Audible – For listening to audiobooks, the Audible desktop app syncs your library and allows offline listening. An Audible membership provides credits to get premium audiobooks each month (

The great thing about third party streaming apps is that they provide a huge selection of content while letting you customize stations and playlists to your taste. Downloading apps like Spotify, Pandora or Audible can greatly expand and enhance your audio streaming capabilities on a Mac.

Stream Audio with AirPlay

One way to stream audio from an iOS device to your Mac is by using AirPlay. AirPlay allows you to wirelessly stream media like music, podcasts, and more over Wi-Fi. Here are the steps to stream audio from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to a Mac using AirPlay:

First, make sure both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Open Control Center on your iOS device and confirm AirPlay is enabled. Next, open the app you want to stream audio from on your iOS device, like Apple Music or a podcast app. Tap the AirPlay icon, then select your Mac from the list of available devices.

That’s it! You should now hear the audio playing directly from your Mac’s speakers. The volume can be controlled directly on the Mac as well as the iOS device during playback. To stop streaming the audio, simply tap the AirPlay icon again and select a different output device.

Some key pointers when using AirPlay to stream audio:

  • Both devices need to be on iOS 11 or later.
  • The Mac needs to be a 2012 model or newer.
  • For the best experience, keep devices within 30 feet of each other.

With just a few taps, AirPlay makes it quick and easy to wirelessly stream audio from an iPhone, iPad or iPod to a Mac. It’s great for listening to music or podcasts out loud without being tied to your iOS device.


One way to stream audio from your Mac is via Bluetooth. You can pair Bluetooth-enabled audio devices like headphones, speakers, and more to your Mac to wirelessly play audio (1).

To set up a Bluetooth audio device to work with your Mac, go to System Settings > Sound and select your Bluetooth device as the Output device. Your Mac will automatically detect nearby Bluetooth devices and show them as options in the Output section (2).

Most Bluetooth audio devices like headphones and speakers have a pairing mode that makes them discoverable to your Mac. Refer to the instructions for your specific Bluetooth device for how to initiate pairing mode before selecting it in System Settings on your Mac.

Once paired and connected, your Mac will stream any audio output over the Bluetooth connection so you can listen wirelessly. Many Bluetooth devices support advanced streaming protocols like A2DP for high quality audio (3).

Bluetooth range is usually around 30 feet, allowing you to move freely while maintaining the wireless audio connection. You can pair multiple Bluetooth audio devices to your Mac and easily switch between them in System Settings.





DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) allows you to stream media from DLNA servers to your Mac. To stream audio to your Mac using DLNA, you will need:

  • A DLNA server on your network to host the media files.
  • A DLNA controller app on your Mac to find and play the media files.

Some apps that can turn your Mac into a DLNA controller include Audio Cast for DLNA Renderer, Elmedia Player, and VLC. These apps will let you browse and play music files stored on DLNA servers on your local network.

To set up DLNA streaming:

  1. Install and set up a DLNA server app on a device on your network. This could be something like Plex Media Server, Kodi, Universal Media Server, etc. running on a PC, NAS, or Raspberry Pi.
  2. Make sure the server device and your Mac are on the same local network.
  3. Install a DLNA controller app on your Mac.
  4. Open the app and find your DLNA server to start browsing and streaming media.

With the right DLNA apps, streaming audio from a media server to your Mac is straightforward. Just make sure your server and client apps are compatible and connected to the same network.

Network Streaming

Network streaming allows you to access and play audio files stored on devices connected to your local network or in the cloud. This lets you stream music from networked storage drives, media servers like Plex and Kodi, or cloud storage services.

To stream from local network storage, connect the drive storing your audio files to your router via Ethernet or WiFi. Then on your Mac, use Finder to locate and mount the drive on your network. Any audio files will then appear in iTunes or other audio apps for playback over the network.

Media center apps like Plex and Kodi allow you to organize your media library and stream it to devices on your local network. By installing the Plex or Kodi server on your network storage device, you can access your full audio collection from your Mac.

For cloud-based audio, services like Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and others allow you to stream from their extensive libraries. By signing in to these services on your Mac, you can play audio over the internet from their cloud platforms.

With the right media server software and cloud services, network streaming gives you access to practically limitless music and audio to play from your Mac.


Streaming audio from a Mac can sometimes run into issues like lag, disconnects, or no sound. Here are some tips for troubleshooting common problems:

If you are experiencing lag or intermittent cutting out of the audio stream, try adjusting the buffer size in the streaming software settings. Increasing the buffer size can help compensate for network latency issues.

Check that the volume is turned up on both your Mac and the receiving device. Make sure the Mac volume is not muted or set to a very low level. Try connecting headphones to the Mac to isolate whether the issue is with the speakers.[1]

Interference from other devices on your network can disrupt streaming. Try turning off or disconnecting other WiFi and Bluetooth devices to see if that improves connectivity.

If you are streaming over WiFi, switching to a wired ethernet connection can provide faster, more reliable throughput. Consider connecting your Mac directly to the receiving device with an ethernet cable.

Close any other apps on your Mac that could be using bandwidth in the background. Streaming audio requires consistent network bandwidth, so try shutting down any browsers, file downloads, video streaming, etc.

Restart your Mac and the receiving device, reboot your router and modem, and try streaming again. This can clear any software issues disrupting connectivity.

Update your Mac, streaming apps, AirPlay, and router firmware to the latest versions. Software updates often address bugs and improve streaming reliability.

If you continue having issues, your network may have compatibility problems with certain streaming protocols. Work with your network administrator or IT team to troubleshoot and optimize your network for smooth audio streaming.


There are several methods for streaming audio from a Mac computer to speakers or other devices. The built-in iTunes app provides an easy way to stream music libraries. Web browsers like Safari and Chrome allow streaming audio from sites like YouTube and Spotify. AirPlay is a convenient option for streaming to AirPlay-enabled speakers or devices. Third party apps like Audacity and Rogue Amoeba’s audio streaming apps offer advanced streaming and recording capabilities. Bluetooth and DLNA are wireless standards that can be used for streaming as well. And connecting to local networks or remote servers also enables network audio streaming.

For further help troubleshooting any streaming issues, Apple’s support site at provides detailed guides and troubleshooting steps. There are also many online forums and communities focused on streaming audio from Mac where you can find tips and discuss any problems. With the variety of built-in and third party options available, streaming audio from a Mac computer to other devices is accessible for all users.

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