How-To: Turn your Raspberry Pi into a AirPlay receiver to stream music from your iPhone

Raspberry Pi - connected to Receiver

Raspberry Pi – Connected to Receiver

Wouldn’t it be cool if you can stream your music directly from your iPhone to your speakers or audio receiver system?

This is in-fact possible using a Raspberry Pi connected via a audio cable to your receiver and connected via WiFi and AirPlay to your iPhone. It all sounds pretty complex but it is in fact not hard to setup at all.

Before we get started – please note that this guide is only for audio – we will not be able to steam videos to your tv at this time. 

Prerequisites & Equipment

You are going to need the following:

  • A Raspberry Pi (Buy here)
  • A 3.5mm Stereo Jack cable to connect the Raspberry Pi to your receiver
  • A USB WiFi Adapter (Unless you want to run a network cable)
  • A SD Card flashed with the Raspbian OS (Here is a guide if you need)
  • Access to the Raspberry either via keyboard and a monitor or remotely

If you need any help connecting your Raspberry Pi to your WiFi network you can use the guide here.

Step 1 – Making sure the audio output work

Connect all the cables such that your Raspberry Pi is powered and connected to your receiver or stereo.

Turn your receiver or stereo on and select the correct input – because we are going to check that the sound from your Raspberry Pi comes out of your speakers.

From the Raspberry Pi command line we can access the audio mixer by running the command:

alsamixer

Here make sure that your signal is not muted (press ‘m’ to un-mute if it is) – you can also use arrow-up and arrow-down turn the volume up and down. Press ‘ESC’ to exit the mixer.

Next we can test the output by running:

speaker-test -t sine

If you hear a tone in your speaker you are good to go. If not verify you are using the correct input on your receiver, if you are still not hearing anything try turning the volume up in the alsamixer.

Before proceeding we need to change the ‘also’ configuration slightly – open the configuration file with the following command:

sudo nano /usr/share/alsa/alsa.conf

Use pagedown to scroll down a few pages till you see a line saying:

pcm.front cards.pcm.front

Change this line to:

pcm.front cards.pcm.default

Save the file (Ctrl+o – enter) and exit nano (Ctrl+x). We are now ready to install the software needed to stream audio to our Raspberry Pi.

Step 2 – Install the  Shairport AirPlay Software

The Shairport AirPlay software is the software we need in order to turn our Raspberry Pi into a AirPlay receiver. It will emulate an AirPlay endpoint such that you can select it as output from iTunes or your iPad or iPhone.

You are going to need a bit of time to complete this step ~30 minutes should do it – so make sure you have that available before proceeding.   

Before installing the shairport airplay software we want to install a number of modules needed to compile it. Run the following commands to install the modules:

sudo apt-get install  libao-dev libssl-dev git avahi-utils libwww-perl
sudo apt-get install libcrypt-openssl-rsa-perl libio-socket-inet6-perl  libmodule-build-perl

After installing the modules we want to create a Projects folder to put the Shairplay files in – this can be done using the following commands:

mkdir projects
cd projects
mkdir airplay-audio-project
cd airplay-audio-project

Once we are in the project folder we want install an extra module that can make Shairport work with IO6 devices. You don’t need it for older Apple devices, but I recommend installing it so you wont run into problems when upgrading your Apple products in the future.

Installing the extra module can be done with the following commands:

git clone https://github.com/njh/perl-net-sdp.git
cd perl-net-sdp
perl Build.PL
./Build
./Build test
sudo ./Build install
cd ..

Next we want to checkout the latest version of the Shairport software and compile it onto our Raspberry Pi. Use the following commands to do so:

git clone https://github.com/abrasive/shairport.git
cd shairport
make
RaspberryPi now shows up as AirPlay receiver

RaspberryPi now shows up as AirPlay receiver

Now we can actually test the software to see if it works. Run the Shairport Airport software on the Raspberry Pi with the following command:

./shairport -a RaspberryPi

Pick up your iPhone or iPad – select music and pick your favorite track. Press the AirPlay button (AirplayIcon) and select Raspberry Pi – at this point sweet music should be flowing out of your speakers!

If you receive a “Unknown PCM cards.pcm.front” make sure you made the configuration file change explained late in the last step. 

Once we have verified it works exit the program (Ctrl+c) – and install Shairport Airport onto our Raspberry Pi with the command:

sudo make install

The last step is to make sure that it starts automatically when the Raspberry Pi boots up. This can be done with the following commands:

sudo cp shairport.init.sample /etc/init.d/shairport
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/shairport
sudo update-rc.d shairport defaults

Now the Shaiport software will start when your Raspberry Pi is powered up. Its name will be ShairPort on iPhone, if you want to change it you can do so by editing the /etc/init.d/shairport file – there is a ‘name’ parameter you can edit.

Edit the file with the following command:

sudo nano /etc/init.d/shairport

One warning – do not use spaces in your name – it may cause problems when starting the Shairport software.

Reboot your Raspberry Pi (you can use the command “sudo shutdown -r now“) and you now have your own AirPlay speakers using a Raspberry Pi!

You may find that the Raspberry Pi onboard soundcard is not the best. If this is the case you can buy an external USB based soundcard if you want better sound.

Here is a video of the project in action:

26 thoughts on “How-To: Turn your Raspberry Pi into a AirPlay receiver to stream music from your iPhone

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    • Would love to see some of those 20$ options that sounds very interesting. I can only agree this is a lot of work, especially if you are not interested in Raspberries in general… But for a hobbyist that would like to learn how to work with a Raspberry Pi this is a pretty good exercise.

  2. I can`t get that autostart working, I wrote:

    $ sudo cp shairport.init.sample /etc/init.d/shairport

    And I get this then:

    cp: cannot stat `shairport.init.sample': No such file or directory

    I have done all the steps before.
    What should I do?

      • I have the same issue.

        When asked in this tutorial to do: ./shairport.pl -a RaspberryPi, I actually had to do ./shairport -a RaspberryPi (so without the .pl) to get it to work. It then works fine.

        Before that, when doing the make command, I get: ” make: Nothing to be done for `all’. ”

        sudo make install gives me:

        install -m 755 -d /usr/local/bin
        install -m 755 shairport /usr/local/bin/shairport

        the shairport.init.sample file cannot be found afterward, but I guess this has something to do with the previous commands not functioning properly.

        Any ideas?

  3. thanks a lot for your article .

    every thing is fine until i’ve try to make it starts automatically.When i reboot the raspberry,i have got the error message:
    [Fail] startpar: service(s) returned failure: shairport … failed!

    but i can manually start it from /etc/init.d and it works fine.so is there something wrong with my setup?

    • Same here,

      I tried the new folder path provided by jngrt and that worked. But now i also get that error:

      [Fail] startpar: service(s) returned failure: shairport … failed!

      • i’ve got a solution here.

        sudo nano /etc/init.d/shairport

        change:
        DAEMON=/usr/bin/shairport
        to
        DAEMON=/usr/local/bin/shairport

        change:
        USER=shairport
        GROUP=nogroup
        to:
        USER=pi
        GROUP=pi

        after “sudo reboot”,you’ll find everyting is ok :)

  4. Would this Airplay work for mirroring a video or photos from an iphone or ipad onto a TV???

    by the way I’m new to this and only just bought my first Pi.

    • No – the guide clearly states: please note that this guide is only for audio – we will not be able to steam videos to your tv at this time.

  5. Can’t change the name it keeps on having “raspberrypi” even if I modified the /etc/init.d/shairport file. Any idea ?

  6. Just for Apple products? now ,i’d like to make it work with the laptop. But ,i don’t know what to do . if there has some way to make it true

  7. I can’t run the “make” after cloning shairport. This is what it says:

    Makefile:2: config.mk does not exist, configuring.
    sh ./configure
    Configuring Shairport
    OpenSSL or its dev package not found
    Required package not found, cannot continue
    make: *** No rule to make target `config.mk’. Stop.

    I have made all the steps before.
    What is wrong?

  8. Pingback: Raspberry Pi | Pearltrees

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