I have a computer that is hooked up to my entertainment center that runs an EyeTV media server. I hadn't used it in over a year because we moved and I couldn't pick up any stations, but I bought a new outdoor antenna and now have stuff to watch. I have a bookmark to the server that uses my computer's name (roberts-mac-mini.local) and when I tried to access it from my iPhone 6s, it eventually timed out. This also happens on my iPad Mini.

The thing is, if I use the DHCP address, it works. Also, if I enter roberts-mac-mini.local into Safari on my laptop, it works! It's only when trying to access .local domains from iOS devices that it doesn't work.

Additionally, I cannot ssh via the Terminus app nor can I ping any of my 3 macs using a network utility app using their .local addresses.

Oddly, occasionally, it DOES work, though I have not been able to figure out why.

I just called and spoke to Apple Support. They screen shared with me on my iPhone and I demonstrated how I could access the computer using the DHCP address but not with the .local address. I showed them ping for 2 .local addresses as well. They had me eventually "Reset all settings" on the iPhone and the .local domains all started working for all 3 computers I'm running! It's a pretty drastic fix though. It's going to take me all day going back through my settings and getting everything back to normal. And I'd rather not do this on my iPad. Does anyone know a more nuanced fix to this issue or why it's happening in the first place? I don't want to go back and fix all my settings only to find out that I've re-introduced the issue.

  • Change your TLD. .local is problematic (trying to find the Apple support doc, but they keep moving things). Rename your domain to .home or .lan or something else. I believe the issue has to do with Rendezvous protocol and DNS not "agreeing" on how to use .local. It's been a long time for me, and I don't have my notes to refer to. – Allan Mar 3 at 14:43
  • Wondering if the iOS device is looking on the cellular network. Try turning off cellular data. Just a thought... – Steve Chambers Mar 3 at 17:31
  • Just an update... I spoke with Apple Support a few days ago and they had me “Reset All Settings”... which worked... temporarily. It had worked the rest of that day. A few days later after finally getting my settings back to normalcy, I tried to use my eyetv media server using the .local address and it didn’t work again. Also: it seems to be working on my iPad mini, contrary to what I’d previously claimed and I’m not sure whether it “started” working or whether it has always worked and I had just assumed it didn’t work. – hepcat72 Mar 8 at 13:22
  • Apple's use of .local meets the standard tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6762 – Mark Mar 10 at 17:45
  • It’s definitely the resolution of DNS that is the problem. I don’t know about the standard and how meeting the standard is evaluated, but I doubt that Apple allows 3rd party apps from interfering with DNS resolving, so this problem seems very likely to be Apple’s fault. The user should not even be able to inadvertently cause it to stop working. And all the anecdotal evidence I’ve come across lays heavy suspicion on bonjour and/or the mechanism it triggers to cache DNS resolutions. – hepcat72 Mar 10 at 18:31

I figured out a temporary work-around:

  • Turn airplane mode on and off

This flushes the DNS cache on the iPhone, which caches DNS resolutions set by Apple's Bonjour, which uses .local for things like airplay and printer service broadcasting.

Once you do this with airplane mode, access to .local addresses on your network should start working, but it's only a temporary fix. Once Bonjour tramples over the DNS settings, it will stop working again. You can repeat this trick to restore access, but for a more permanent fix, you'll just have to use your DHCP-assigned IP address.

If you need .local DNS resolution to work reliably, Apple needs to fix this issue, so I suggest you submit feedback to them.

I blogged about the issue here.

  • Turns out that this handy trick will also allow your phone to detect speakers connected to an airport express when they’re not showing up in the control center! Neat-o! I had been just power-cycling my phone whenever that happened (which is a fairly frequent occurrence and usually affects a portion of my AirPort expresses). Or I used the remote app to play from my laptop. Such a simple solution and you get immediate results. – hepcat72 Mar 11 at 2:32
  • Wow, this trick works for a lot of things. It also fixes when computers on my network are not showing up in the bonjour menu in my VNC app. And not just my Mac Mini with my eyetv media server, my MacBook Air as well. – hepcat72 Mar 11 at 10:56

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