The Apple TV Crash Course (2015)

Part Three: Making the Most of the Tiny Beast

Sharing Is Caring

I’ve saved one of the best features for last: home sharing and airplay mirroring.

First up, an explanation. Home Sharing and Airplay Mirroring are related, but they are not the same thing. They both involve a connection between your Apple TV and other devices – they have that in common. They’re also both easy to set up. That’s where the similarities end. Here’s a quick explanation:

·        Home Sharing – using this feature allows you to share the stuff in your iTunes library (music, movies, TV shows, and pictures) to your Apple TV, including all the things you haven’t purchased from iTunes.

·        Airplay Mirroring – using this feature allows you to use your Apple TV as a giant display for your other Apple devices (like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad), allowing you to use iOS apps on your television.

*Both of these functions require your Apple TV to be on the same network (wired or wireless) as the other devices you’re working with. So if you have an iPhone and you can’t figure out why it’s not working, double check that you are logged into the right network.

To set up Home Sharing, head to your computer and open iTunes. Once you’ve done that, click on the ‘File’ menu item. Once there, you’ll see this about halfway down the menu:

Click on ‘Turn on Home Sharing’. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be taken to a sign-in screen that looks like this:

Enter your Apple ID and click ‘Turn on Home Sharing’. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be greeted with this:

Click ‘Done’ to exit the screen. At this point, if you’re interested, you can now choose photos on your computer to share with Apple TV by heading to the same file menu we just went to. Once you do that, you’ll be greeted with this screen:

Choose what you’d like to share (if anything) and then click ‘Done’.

Now that Home Sharing is set up on your computer, head to the Apple TV to complete the process. On the home screen, find the app labeled ‘Computers’ and select it. From there, you’ll be shown this screen:

Press the select button again to turn on Home Sharing on the Apple TV. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be greeted by a list of computers on the Home Sharing network. Select the one you’d like to use, and browse through the menu for your content, selecting anything you’d like to play:

Setting up Airplay Mirroring is just as easy. Remember, you’ll need to have a relatively recent iOS device (iPhone 3GS or above, iPod Touch 4th Gen or above, iPad, or iPad Mini) for this to work.

Head to the Settings menu on your Apple TV, and then Select AirPlay. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be greeted with this:

Press select to turn it on (if it isn’t already – it was enabled by default on our Apple TV). Set a password if you like, as anyone with an iOS device on your home network can take over your screen at the push of a button. If you have untrustworthy friends, you might want to think about using a password.

Now, head to the multitasking menu on your iOS device (by double tapping the home button) and then swipe right to left twice at the bottom of the screen to bring up the AirPlay function. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see an icon that looks like a little television. Tap it, and you’ll be presented with this:

Tap the ‘Mirroring’ button and select ‘Apple TV’ or whatever you’ve named your device. Once you’ve done that, whatever is on your iOS device will show up on your screen automatically. To exit this function, head back to the same menu on your iOS device and tap the ‘On’ button until it reads ‘Off’.

If you are just watching videos off your device, then you don’t need to mirror from your device—just Airplay it without and it will pick up the signal. Also, remember that Airplay is att the developers digression. Some developers block airplay for licensing reasons. When this happens, you’ll see a message alerting you of the fact. Unfortunately, Apple has zero control over this.