How to use your Photo Stream as the screen saver on your Apple TV

How to use your Photo Stream as the screen saver on your Apple TV

If you own an iPhone and an Apple TV, you can use your Photo Stream photos as your screen saver. They're likely far more personal and meaningful to you than the natural photography Apple includes as default. Best of all, as you take new photos, they'll automatically update and you'll always have new and fresh photos for people to see!

WARNING: If you set up Photo Stream as tour screen saver on Apple TV, make sure you don't include any pictures you or those seeing them might find inappropriate or embarrassing.

How to enable Photo Stream on your iPhone

The first thing you'll need to do is make sure Photo Stream is enabled on your iPhone.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on iCloud.
  3. Tap on Photos.
  4. Turn on My Photo Stream if it isn't already.

Photo Stream will automatically back up your most recent 1,000 photos or the last 30 days, whichever is greater. Photos are only transferred from your iPhone to iCloud when you're on wifi in order to not eat through your carrier data allowance.

How to enable Photo Stream on your Apple TV

  1. Click on the Settings icon on your Apple TV.
  2. Click on iCloud.
  3. Click on Sign In and sign in if you aren't already.
  4. If you're already signed in, click on iCloud Photos Settings.
  5. Click on Turn On My Photo Stream.
  6. Click on Yes when your Apple TV asks if you want to use your Photo Stream photos as your screen saver.

iCloud will start to populate your Photo Stream on your Apple TV. Depending on the size of your Photo Stream and the speed of your internet connection, it might take a few minutes. While using Photo Stream as your screen saver gives you an ever changing background, you'll want to be sure you don't have anything in your Photo Stream you wouldn't want others seeing. Don't say we didn't warn you!

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 your Photo Stream as the screen saver on your Apple TV


If you dont have apple tv but you have Verizon fios you can use the Verizon remote app and stream photos right to the tv. It doesn't do video yet but does photos quite nicely.

I've tried to use this. It worked at first but I have so many photos of my kids now (250+) that updating the stream takes forever (even when running the "app") and the screen saver is black.

Sent from the iMore App

When it works it is great. But.....I set this up on my ATV last year and it has been a mixed bag. First, it seems to take forever to load the images. It also seems to magically forget and ignore my account information or settings and randomly go back to the default screen saver images. Checking the settings I can see that my account is still listed, but I am forced to log in again (even when the rest of ATV works fine) just to get the photo stream to work. Very frustrating.

I have noticed that Apple seems to have system wide issues with the cloud functionality. Hopefully they will resolve all of this soon. Most are mild inconveniences but irritating none the less.