So you want to send the audio from your iPhone to your Mac, and be able to control the playback functions on the iPhone from the Mac? Airfoil and iKeyboardRemote will do the trick. Read on for how to do this, and why you would even bother.
It’s pretty simple: keeping things in sync is a pain. iTunes Wi-Fi Sync is spotty at best, syncing takes forever at times, and audiobooks don’t always sync position for whatever reason. It’s easier to just keep it all organized on the iPhone. But playback sucks on the iPhone, especially when already working at the Mac. The speaker is decent, but depending on the source the volume can be too low or sound like crap. It’s fine for wandering around the house, but when I am at the Mac working for extended periods, I’d rather take advantage of the better speakers and the fact that my hands are already on the Mac keyboard.
Airfoil for Mac (technically the companion app, Airfoil Speakers for Mac) is a cool utility that sets up the Mac as an AirPlay device on the local network. Airfoil does all kinds of cool things with your Mac audio and Airplay. One I like a lot is sending the audio from a YouTube lecture to my AirPlay devices across the network. It also lets you add equalizer effects to the audio, and tons more. But I digress.
Airfoils Speakers will receive audio from AirPlay sources, which is what the iPhone is. This in itself is a decent solution, since you can always reach over and control the iPhone as needed. But I wondered if perhaps there was a Mac app that controlled iPhone playback, and my digital productivity rule once again proved valid. iKeyboardRemote (free on the Mac App Store) does just this. It even uses the Media Keys on the Apple Keyboard if so desired. Pretty cool. Airfoil for Mac is $25, and a free demo available so you can try it out and see if it’s worth it.
Airfoil Speakers software is available for PC and Linux as well, so sending iPhone audio to non-Mac computers would work as well. I have no idea if a similar remote playback app is available on those platforms.