How to use Home Sharing to access your iTunes library on your Apple TV

How to enable Home Sharing on your Apple TV

Home Sharing is a great way to stream content from your Mac right to your Apple TV. It lets you quickly and easily get anything from the iTunes library on your desktop to the HDTV without it having to be on Apple's servers, like iTunes in the Cloud, or you having to be at your computer, like AirPlay. It's an older feature, more pull than push, but for home movies, personal video collections, ripped CDs, and more, it still works great. Here's how!

How to set up and start using Apple TV Home Sharing

  1. Click on the Settings icon from the main menu of your Apple TV.
  2. Scroll down and click on Computers.
  3. Now choose Enable Home Sharing.
  4. Either enter your Apple ID when prompted or confirm that the Apple ID already associated with your Apple TV is the one you'd like to use.

If you find that it isn't working or your computer isn't showing up, be sure your Mac has Home Sharing enabled in iTunes and that you're on the same network. Once it's set up, you can even use the Apple Remote app for iPhone or iPad to easily browse and choose from your iTunes library.

How to get more help with your Apple TV

If you need any additional help or have specific questions check out our Apple TV Forum!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to use Home Sharing to access your iTunes library on your Apple TV


Since I have Charter Internet and I am on an overloaded node (that they have no plans to fix), I've become very accustomed to using this function. I have to download movies and TV shows to my PC in the morning when we have 30 Mbps service, then in the evening when the speed drops to less than 1 Mbps and the ping soars to 1200 Ms or more, I have to pull those shows to the Apple TV using home sharing rather than the simpler interface that it was designed for. As long as I plan ahead, I have access to my movies and TV shows all the time thanks to home sharing. Without it, my Apple TV would be useless.

I had to check the year on this article twice because it just seems so odd to have these directions now considering the last aTV is over a year old and the rumored one seems to be disintegrating.

Anyway, all I've ever wanted from my AppleTV is to actually he the iTunes server. If I own a bunch or purchased (or matched) movies then let me connect a hard drive to stream them locally. The idea of having to run a server just to play content on a hard drive is so outdated and apple really should be more flexible with media sources and let that USB port actually do something.

This sounds like nonsense to me. If you are going to download movies and store them on a hard drive, why not use iTunes? It's the same thing. If the sources for the movies are legal then this is not only the legal way (iTunes) but the best, and easiest way as well.

If you have the movie on a legally bought DVD/BluRay, then iTunes is also the best way to go since you have to rip the DVD/BluRay anyway.

It seems to me that you are talking about having a hard drive full of ripped off *.avi files which while common, isn't really addressable (and isn't really necessary) by legal software.

Probably important to note that iTunes needs to be open on the computer hosting the library. I don't know the programming behind it, but it seems like it accesses the media through itunes, rather than the files directly through the file system.

For some reason, my iMac periodically stops sharing. Not just Home Sharing, but stops File Sharing too, although Screen Sharing keeps working (weird). I solved this by assigning my imac a fixed IP address. Something strange is going on with my network.

This crap has never worked on my Apple TV, despite the fact that I know what I'm doing and home sharing works perfectly fine when accessed from other devices. I'm sure the right/same credentials are being used, it's just nothing ever shows up under "computers". Yet same info, not a hitch anywhere else. WTF.

Also, yes I have iTunes open, Bonjour running, library shared... etc. I cannot find the issue. Not that it's a massive deal, it just irks me.

BTW, it is an ATV 3rd gen with latest firmware and iTunes version is current. I've gone so far as to open firewall ports, though this is largely pointless, seeing as no other devices have any issues connecting to shared content at all.