Apple’s ecosystem is famously fairly locked down, but things have improved a lot over the past few years. With the upcoming release of iOS 16, Apple appears to be working towards better support for Chromecast and other casting standards in apps.

Apple makes it possible for Chromecast to get AirPlay-like treatment

In iOS 16, Apple is opening up the door for casting protocols such as Google Cast (Chromecast) to be better supported in the system. As it stands today, Chromecast is supported on iOS, but only in select apps, and usually with an interface that isn’t native to the OS. In the YouTube Music app on iOS, for example, the Chromecast button in the app serves for both Chromecast targets and AirPlay targets.

But that may change in iOS 16, as Apple is introducing the “DeviceDiscoveryExtension,” a new tool for apps to leverage native menus, such as the ones used for AirPlay. Apple explains:

Use DeviceDiscoveryExtension (DDE) to discover third-party media receivers to which your app can stream AV content.

Because DDE runs in a system sandbox, the extension doesn’t need to ask the user for local-network or Bluetooth permissions. The picker view displays discovered third-party devices and protocols in the same system menu as AirPlay, which provides a unified device-selection experience.

By our read, this should allow Chromecast to have better, more native integration with iOS starting with iOS 16. To be clear, Chromecast would not become a native part of iOS. Rather apps that support Chromecast would see casting targets in native menus, such as the ones that AirPlay uses.

This would not only provide a better experience for those wanting to use AirPlay in apps that already have Chromecast, but has the potential to make it easier for Chromecast to be supported in more apps. Other companies with casting options, such as Spotify or Sonos, could also potentially adopt this. As result of this change would be a single button in apps for casting, rather than having two or three, or even menus within menus.

For the time being, we’ll have to wait and see exactly how this is implemented in iOS 16. It’s our understanding that existing apps will need to tap into a new API, which Google will have to make available. It’ll be a few months until we see how things work out.

Max Weinbach contributed to this article.

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Ben Schoon

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