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I need help understanding why I'm sometimes able to see my neighbor's Airplay-enabled device (a smart TV or Apple TV, I don't know) when wireless and (I think) Bluetooth is enabled on my Macbook Pro and Airplay is "looking for TV". If I regularly click the Airplay icon in the menu bar, I might see this device about 1 out of 40 times or so. If I leave the menu open when this device is listed, it will disappear in a few seconds.

If I try to connect to this device, the system says that the wireless signal is too weak.

I'm definitely on my wireless network. The signal strength of my neighbor's WiFi is 3 out of 4 "bars", so I can at least see that their network is available, but it has a lock icon and I've never tried to connect to it.

I'm 100% certain that this device is not on my wireless network.

Basically, I want to understand why I see my neighbor's Airplay device from the list of devices I can connect to.

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  • What do you want? The password?
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 4, 2020 at 5:39
  • No, I don't want the password. I clarified my question.
    – Tim Reddy
    Nov 5, 2020 at 4:28

1 Answer 1

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Airplay devices can be discovered in two ways:

The most obvious is using Bonjour on the local network, you're connected to. It is basically a kind of broadcast DNS lookup that allows devices on the same local network to find each other.

The not-so-obvious method, which is what you're experiencing, is through peer-to-peer Airplay. This works by devices discovery through low-energy Bluetooth. If you choose to connect to such a device, the devices communicate through Bluetooth to setup a direct device-to-device WiFi connection. This type of connection does not use your local access point / router or your internet connection - it is direct communication between the two units.

It is fully possible that the signal conditions are so that you can discover the device through Bluetooth, but it is not possible to get a good enough signal to establish the device-to-device WiFi link.

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  • Thanks for the explanation. So in other words, the BLE initiates discovery and afterwards the devices attempt a connection over WiFi via the LAN?
    – Tim Reddy
    Nov 6, 2020 at 5:20
  • It’s not WiFi over LAN - the LAN is not involved at all. It is BLE for discovery and then a direct device-to-device WiFi connection for the data.
    – jksoegaard
    Nov 6, 2020 at 7:15
  • Thanks for the clarification. I found this link that explains in a little more detail: support.apple.com/guide/deployment-reference-ios/…
    – Tim Reddy
    Nov 6, 2020 at 21:26
  • How can we hide the device? Mar 12, 2023 at 0:28
  • That is not possible with the standard software.
    – jksoegaard
    Mar 12, 2023 at 7:58

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