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New Apple Update Allows Travelers to Finally Stream from iPhones or iPads to Hotel TVs | Frommer's Dedi Grigoroiu / Shutterstock

New Apple Update Allows Travelers to Finally Stream from iPhones or iPads to Hotel TVs

There are some 136 million iPhone users in the United States, yet most televisions in hotels and on cruise ships are not configured to allow guests to stream from Apple devices.

Android users have enjoyed more widely accepted accommodations that give them the ability to break free from the limited entertainment offerings on in-room TVs, but Apple's proprietary system software has prevented the easy casting of video from Apple-made handheld devices like iPhones and iPads.

Finally, that limitation is being fixed.

The release of the iOS 17.3 operating system finally allows Apple users to easily stream to external screens during stays at hotels.

In published material, LG, one of the electronics manufacturers that support the change, said that by using the new AirPlay system, "guests will connect their iPhone or iPad securely to the LG smart hotel TV by simply scanning a unique QR code. With no logins or passwords to remember and no separate app to download, this will be the simplest way for a hotel to enable guests to access their personal entertainment apps and accounts on the big screen in their room."

iOS 17.3 is available to download from Apple for free starting early in week of January 22. It includes updates to AirPlay that will permit the streaming of iPhone and iPad content to TVs in guest rooms.

That is, if hotels care enough about their guests to prepare for the change—some resorts and cruise ships want you out of your room spending more money, not in bed binge-watching The Traitors

Now that the capability exists, it's down to hotels and cruise lines to ensure their entertainment systems are updated to support the new version of AirPlay. That's why Apple's release notes for 17.3 state that the new AirPlay will only work in "select hotels."

When it announced the expansion of AirPlay last year, Apple said it had already secured commitments from "select brands from IHG Hotels & Resorts, including Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts."

Hopefully, the rest of the industry will catch up in a hurry. Traveling Apple users have been patient for a long time.