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jeshyr: Pile of thick books labelled "Geek" (Geek)
One of the things I really find useful with my iPad is using iTunes Home Sharing so that I can lie in bed and listen to things from my Mac's iTunes library.

I know that I can sync stuff to the iPad but that means I have to know in advance what I'm going to listen to and sometimes I change my mind or forget to plan or whatever and setting the iPad to play from the Mac's iTunes library is really handy.

But my iPad isn't working at the moment (long story) so I just have my tiny cheap little Android phone. The phone only has 4gb of memory space (my iPad has 64gb!) and syncing stuff to Android from my Mac is much more of a chore than syncing stuff to the iPad, so the likelihood that what I want to play will not be on the phone is very high.

So I went looking for an Android app to access my iTunes library remotely and ... it was really hard to find! Asked a few Android-using friends and they blinked and looked vague and nobody I could find had a setup that did what I wanted.

Eventually with the help of [personal profile] geekosaur I have figured out that a combination of two Android apps will do the trick:

1. iTunes Remote control (there are many of these, I'm using Remote For iTunes Pro - FREE)
2. AirBubble

Firstly the iTunes Remote - this allows you to control iTunes from the Android device. These will leave the iTunes playing on your computer via your computer's own speakers though ... no good for listening in the bedroom!

AirBubble lets your phone pretend to be an AirPlay speaker for the purposes of iTunes. The free version works for 30 minutes only but the license only costs US1.99 to remove the limitation.

Setting everything up is a bit fiddly the first time, but it gets much easier afterwards. This is the first-time-ever set up sequence:

1. Start AirBubble on the phone. The user interface on this program is very unhelpful but it should now say "Accepting connections" in the "Status" line up the top of the screen - you don't need to do anything except start the program.

2. The third heading on the AirBubble screen says "Network name" and under that the actual name. You can change it if you like, but whether or not you change it take a note of the final name.

3. Go to iTunes on your computer. In the bottom right hand corner of the iTunes screen you'll see the box with an arrow icon appear, this lets you know that AirPlay speakers are available. Click on this icon and one of the options should match your "Network name" from step 2 - select that one.

3a. If you do not see the AirPlay icon in iTunes then wait a minute or two - sometimes it seems to take a moment to "notice" there's a new speaker around.

4. You have now set up iTunes to play *to* your phone. Start iTunes playing via your computer and (after a few seconds delay) you should hear the sound coming from the phone instead of the computer! The AirBubble screen will also change to say "Streaming from" (probably with a different number - it's your local IP address).

5. Now you need to be able to control iTunes from the phone too. Start up the iTunes Remote program (leaving AirBubble on in the background). Press the "menu" key on your phone and select "connect" and then "connect" again on the screen that pops up. You will see a 4-digit code on your screen.

6. On the Mac computer check the left hand column in iTunes. Under the "Devices" column you'll see "Android Remote" has popped up. Click on that entry and enter the 4-digit code you see on your Android screen, then click "OK". Now you can control iTunes via the phone.

6a. If this doesn't work, make sure you haven't set up iTunes to disallow remote controls!

7. Press "play" on the iTunes Remote program and you should hear your audio playing via your phone!

Once this is all set up it's much easier to use subsequent times! This is the sequence I use to start things up now it's all organised:

1. On the phone: Start AirBubble

2. On the computer: Select the AirPlay speaker in iTunes bottom right corner

3. On the phone: Start iTunes Remote.

4. On either device: Press "play".

This isn't a perfect setup - the most annoying part is the several second delay between pressing something on the iTunes Remote program and hearing the results in the start/stop/change of audio. But it works fine once it gets going so it's a very minor irritant.

On my very small not-very-powerful Android phone I find that if I try to run both of these programs in the background and play a game on the phone too that the audio sometimes messes up. If I leave the phone be and just listen it's fine though, so I guess my phone just can't handle all three things at once.

The specific iTunes Remote program that I am using (the one I linked above) is fiddly and annoying to use for choosing what to play on my very tiny phone screen, so what I have mostly been doing is starting the audio via the Mac and then pausing the audio on the phone and wandering to my bedroom. This way the only buttons I really need are the "play" and "pause" ones and I can listen happily to my audio book until I want to sleep and then turn it off. Almost perfect!!

The thing that would most improve my listening at the moment is a "jump back 1 minute" button for those moments when my mind wanders. Let me know if you are aware of an iTunes remote control that has this function!


Once things are set up you can switch the speaker selection via iTunes Remote also (press the "menu" key, then "more", then "speakers") which means you don't actually have to go to the computer as long as iTunes is running. You can also set up both iTunes Remote and AirBubble to always run in the background if your phone has the spare capacity. These instructions are generally written to be the most simple and hopefully easiest to understand - not the most comprehensive :)


jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
Ricky Buchanan


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