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Airtunes emulator! Shairport is no longer maintained.

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ShairPort is no longer maintained

As I no longer use Shairport myself, I am no longer maintaining or supporting Shairport. Thanks to everyone who has contributed over the years; it's been a great experience. For the ongoing user, there are a great many forks and ports to choose from now, many of which are of a very high quality and well maintained.

— James


By James Laird (announcement)

What it is

This program emulates an AirPort Express for the purpose of streaming music from iTunes and compatible iPods and iPhones. It implements a server for the Apple RAOP protocol. ShairPort does not support AirPlay v2 (video and photo streaming).

Build Requirements


  • OpenSSL


  • libao
  • PulseAudio
  • avahi

Debian/Raspbian users can get the basics with apt-get install libssl-dev libavahi-client-dev libasound2-dev

Runtime Requirements

You must be running an mDNS (Bonjour) daemon. On a Mac, this will be running already. Otherwise, you must be running avahi-daemon or Howl. As an alternative, you may use the tinysvcmdns backend, which embeds a lightweight mDNS daemon. It is, however, way less robust than bonjour or avahi. Check the [mDNS Backends] section for more information.

How to get started

./shairport -a 'My Shairport Name'

The triangle-in-rectangle AirTunes (now AirPlay) logo will appear in the iTunes status bar of any machine on the network, or on iPod/iPhone play controls screen. Choose your access point name to start streaming to the ShairPort instance.

Audio Outputs

Shairport supports different audio backends. For a list of available backends and their options, run shairport -h. Note that options are supplied to backends at the end of the commandline, separated by --, for example:

shairport -o ao -- -d mydriver -o setting=thing

mDNS Backends

Shairport uses mDNS to advertise the service. Multiple backends are available to perform the task. For a list of available backends, run shairport -h. The backends prefixed by 'external' rely on external programs that should be present in your path. By default, shairport will try all backends, in the order they are listed by shairport -h, until one works. You can force the use of a specific backend using shairport -m tinysvcmdns for example.


The following metadata can be output for the currently playing track:

  • artist
  • title
  • album
  • artwork
  • genre
  • comment

To enable the output of metadata, the -M <directory name> flag must be set to instruct shairport where to save the output. This directory must exist. A fifo named now_playing will be created, and records will be written to it when tracks are changed. The end of a set of metadata is delimited by a zero-length line. Cover filenames are relative to the cover directory. Files are not deleted.

An example::

artist=Arcade Fire
title=City With No Children
album=The Suburbs


Big thanks to David Hammerton for releasing an ALAC decoder, which is reproduced here in full. Thanks to everyone who has worked to reverse engineer the RAOP protocol - after finding the keys, everything else was pretty much trivial. Thanks also to Apple for obfuscating the private key in the ROM image, using a scheme that made the deobfuscation code itself stand out like a flare. Thanks to Ten Thousand Free Men and their Families for having a computer and stuff. Thanks to wtbw.

Contributors to version 1.x

Contributors to version 0.x

Known Ports and Tools


Airtunes emulator! Shairport is no longer maintained.