iOS 16 breaks DRM content playback when using HDMI adapters

iOS 16 breaks DRM content playback when using HDMI adapters

A few months ago, many users noticed that AirPlay on older Apple TV models no longer works with DRM-restricted content after the iOS 16 update. However, it seems the problem goes much further than that, as there are reports that a content such can no longer be played even using an HDMI adapter.

Streaming apps no longer work with the HDMI adapter in iOS 16

According to posts made on the Apple Discussion Forums, iPhone and iPad users can no longer watch videos from streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max on a TV using an HDMI adapter. Users claim that the adapter can still mirror the device’s screen, but the screen goes black when they try to play any DRM-restricted video.

Earlier today, a Reddit user reported that Netflix support confirmed to him that it is no longer possible to watch the platform’s movies and shows using an HDMI adapter on an iOS 16 device, and that this will not change.

I just talked to Netflix support about HDMI not working after iOS 16. They stated that they have made the decision to no longer support HDMI. For those of us who live far away, and even just 12 miles outside of town, but can’t get internet, the phone is the way I look.

But as mentioned before, this problem doesn’t seem to be specific to Netflix. In fact, it may be related to what caused AirPlay of DRM-restricted content to stop working on older Apple TV models. Once iOS 16 was released to the public, users noticed that they could no longer stream content from Netflix and other streaming apps via AirPlay to an Apple TV with older software.

If you try to AirPlay a movie or TV show from one of these services to an Apple TV 2 or Apple TV 3, you’ll get a vague error message: “There was an error loading this content. Try again Later.” Testing with an iOS 15.7 device, AirPlay still works with Apple TV 2 and Apple TV 3, even with DRM-restricted content.

This may be a permanent restriction

It’s unclear what exactly has changed as Apple has never said anything about it. However, it appears that iOS 16 has a new version of DRM that is incompatible with older devices. For those unfamiliar, DRM or Digital Rights Management is a technology that protects digital media from unauthorized copying and distribution.

Over time, DRM receives updates that improve the technology’s efficiency, but it also affects devices that no longer receive software updates (or in this case, the firmware of older HDMI adapters). Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for affected users at this point. The good news is that those using an external USB-C display with the iPad can still watch DRM-restricted content — for now.

Are you affected by this issue? Let us know in the comments section below.

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