Amazon has announced that Fire TV Smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia are gaining support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. AirPlay will allow iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac owners to cast content from their Apple devices directly onto the TVs. HomeKit support will allow Fire TV Smart TVs to be controlled by Siri. Support is rolling out to 2020 models now and will come to other Fire TV Smart TV models in the future.
Gaining Apple AirPlay support is a big deal because Fire TVs don’t have a good casting or mirroring option that is as widespread as AirPlay. Most Fire TVs support the Miracast protocol, but that has been disappearing from mobile devices in favor of Google’s proprietary Google Cast protocol, which Google does not allow Amazon to use. Some Fire TV apps build in support for DIAL casting at the app-level, such as YouTube and Netflix, which many people confuse for Google Cast support. There have been 3rd-party apps that add Apple AirPlay and Google Cast to the Fire TV, such as my personal favorite AirReceiver, but they are not as reliable as official system-level support, like is being added with this update.
Apple AirPlay capabilities will be on by default so once the update arrives, it should just start working and the TVs should automatically be discoverable by Apple devices. Apple HomeKit support, on the other hand, needs to first be set up. To do so, navigate to Settings → Display & Sounds → AirPlay & HomeKit → Set Up. Once set up, you’ll be able to say things like “Siri, turn on the TV” to control the Fire TV Smart TV. You’ll also be able to control volume, mute, input switching, and media playback through Siri.
As mentioned, 2020 Toshiba and Insignia TVs running the Fire TV operating system will be the first to receive the AirPlay and HomeKit capabilities. Amazon told me that additional Fire TV Smart TV models will receive support later this year, but did not provide specifics as to which models would be included. To determine which model year Fire TV Smart TV you own, you can install my Informer app. Another way is to look at the last 2 digits of the TV’s model number. If it ends in “21” then it is a 2020 model.
I asked Amazon if Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, or Fire TV Cubes would also be gaining support for Apple AirPlay and HomeKit, but they were not willing to tell me if it would or wouldn’t be happening. Late last year, Roku added AirPlay and HomeKit support to a large portion of its streaming device models. Hopefully, Amazon sees that as a competitive threat to Fire TV devices and decides to add it to its stand-alone Fire TV devices as well.
7/15/21Amazon has informed me that Apple AirPlay and HomeKit support are added with software update version 188.8.131.52 (PS7244/1988) on 2020 4K Toshiba and Insignia TVs. When other models reveive the feature, it may arive with a different update version.