Change the screensavers on the Apple TV
There are lots of ways to personalize your Apple TV. You might love Apple’s slow-moving aerial shots of various locations around the world, like London or the great wall of China but what if you fancy looking at something else?
If you are bored with the aerial screenshots you are seeing you can get new ones more frequently.
The new aerial screensaver settings are accessed via Settings > General > Screensaver. The default is download new videos monthly, but you can change it to weekly or daily. Beware: each batch of new videos weighs in at about 600MB.
This will give you more variety, but unfortunately you can’t choose which views you see - so there’s no way to choose your favorite city and just watch that, which is a shame.
If you are completely bored of the aerial screensavers, you can choose to use your own photos as screensaver. You can use photos in your photo library, Photo Stream or iCloud Photo Library.
- Open the Photos app on the Apple TV and select the album you want to be the screensaver carousel.
- Tap screensaver to set that album as screensaver.
- To finesse your settings even more, go to Settings > General > Screensaver > Screensaver Type.
Apple also provides Animals, Flowers, and Nature photos as screensaver options. You can even use the photos from the Shot on iPhone 6 campaign as screensaver on your Apple TV. In order to use the Shot on iPhone 6 photos, go to Settings > General > Screensaver > Type > Apple Photos and choose Shot on iPhone 6.
You can also use album artwork from the music app if you want to.
Once you have selected your photos you can choose the transition type from a variety of options including Ken Burns, and additional options within that, such as Fade Through Black. You can also choose how long a slide shows for.
How to put your Apple TV to sleep
The Apple TV will automatically go to sleep after an hour, but you can put it to sleep yourself if you wish to. Some might say that there is no value in putting modern electronics to sleep as leaving them awake doesn’t use up a lot of energy, but if you have the Apple TV in a bedroom you are likely to want to stop the light showing when you turn in for the night.
To put your Apple TV to sleep hold the home button for a few seconds until you see a prompt giving you the choice to Sleep or Cancel.
Press the home button when you wish to turn the Apple TV on again.
How to stop your Apple TV from going to sleep
Perhaps rather than wanting to send your Apple TV to sleep you’d prefer to leave it on. The Apple TV will go to sleep by default after an hour, but maybe you like to leave the aerial screensaver playing in the background.
To change the default go to Settings > General > Sleep After, and then change this from 1 hour. The options are Never, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours, 10 hours, so there is bound to be one that suits you.
How to restart your Apple TV
If something odd happens with your Apple TV the best solution might be the tried and tested “turn it off and on again”. It is possible to restart your Apple TV by tapping Settings > System > Restart.
Alternatively press and hold down the menu and home button on the Siri remote at the same time and let go when the light on the front of your Apple TV starts flashing.
If your Siri Remote isn’t handy, you can also restart the Apple TV via Settings > System > Restart.
How to activate Voiceover on the Apple TV
Apple has included a number of accessibility options with the Apple TV, and Voiceover is one of them.
You can ask Siri to turn Voiceover on, or navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Voiceover.
Once Voiceover is activated when you highlight text with the Siri Remote Voiceover will read the text out loud.
You can pause Voiceover by tapping the touchpad once with two fingers. Tap twice with two fingers to resume Voiceover.
How to zoom in on your TV screen using the Apple TV
Another accessibility feature is the ability to magnify the screen of the Apple TV.
To turn on the Zoom feature go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom.
Once activated you can use the touchpad on the Siri Remote to magnify images on the Apple TV, zoom in on a particular section of the screen, pan around an image, or change the screen magnification.
How to turn on Closed Captions & Subtitles on the Apple TV
You can also turn on Closed Captions - which are essentially onscreen textual description of non-speech elements in what you are watching. Triple-click the Home button to open the accessibility options that include Voiceover, Zoom, Closed Captions, and Audio Descriptions.
Subtitles can be turned on if you swipe down on the remote touchscreen.
If you want to choose a default, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and choose your default.
How to take a screenshot on the Apple TV
It is actually possible to take a screenshot on the Apple TV, but it’s not simple. Here’s how.
- Download Apple XCode development environment from the Mac App Store on your Mac.
- Install XCode on your Mac.
- Connect your Apple TV to your Mac using a USB-C or USB cable.
- Open XCode. Select Window > Devices and choose the Apple TV.
- Click on Take Screenshot.
How to record video from the Apple TV display
You can also record video from your Apple TV.
- Connect your Apple TV to your Mac using a USB-C or USB cable.
- Open QuickTime on your Mac. Select File > New Movie Recording.
- Click on the arrow beside the record button and select Apple TV from the Camera and Microphone options.
- Click the Record button.
How to share your Mac, iPad or iPhone screen to your TV
You can see and (usually) hear anything running on your Mac, iPad or iPhone on your TV if you use Airplay to stream between the two devices via the Apple TV.
To use Airplay on your Mac click on the Airplay icon in the menu bar of your screen and choose Apple TV. You can choose to mirror the screen or use the TV as a separate screen to view content.
To use Airplay on your iPhone or iPad swipe up from the bottom of the screen and switch on Airplay. As with the Mac version of Airplay, you will have the choice of mirroring your screen or sending pages to your TV screen. The only issue with using Airplay on your iPad or iPhone is you will be unable to use the device while it is streaming content to the TV and things like phone calls will interrupt your viewing.
We have in-depth tutorials on doing this here:
How to surf the web on the Apple TV
This is one of those things that everyone wants to do but is only really possible with a workaround.
There is an open source project that should allow you to view web content on your Apple TV, according to 9to5Mac. Users can scroll around the web using the glass trackpad on the Siri Remote. However, it’s unlikely that the web browser will launch on the App Store though because it requires a private API to function.
The alternative is to use Airplay to stream a webpage from your Mac, iPad or iPhone to your TV via the Apple TV. This way you will be able to see the webpage on the larger screen, but note that any navigation will need to be done via the device you are sharing from - so scrolling will need to be done on your Mac, for example.
How to fix problems with your Apple TV
If you have any issues with your Apple TV, the first step is usually to check that your software is up to date:
From time to time Apple will release a software update for the Apple TV. To check whether there is an update go to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software. If there is an update you will be able to download and install it here. (You will find Software Updates in Settings > General > Update Software on the older Apple TV models).
Be wary of Apple TV updates though, there have been reports in the past of updates causing problems for some people. We recommend waiting a few days before updating just in case.
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