iCloud Photos

iCloud Photo Library is part of iCloud, Apple's storage and sync service. When combined with one of iCloud's paid storage tiers, you can use it to store thousands of photos and video and share it with your other devices — including your Apple TV.

Unlike Apple's other devices, your Apple TV can't download images from your Photos library — it relies solely on iCloud streaming to showcase your images. Before you can display your photos and video on your TV, you'll first need to set up iCloud Photo Library or Photo Stream on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC.

How can I view photos on Apple TV?

You have a few different choices when it comes to viewing images on your Apple TV, depending on what you plan to showcase.

  • iCloud Photo Library: If you turn on iCloud Photo Library, you'll stream your entire collection of images and video to your TV — if you have items in your photo collection you wouldn't want to share on the big screen, keep that in mind.
  • iCloud Photo Sharing: You can use this to only share albums you've shared with friends and family (or vice versa).
  • My Photo Stream: This will stream only the last 1000 photos you snapped on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC.

How to enable iCloud Photo Library

When you turn on iCloud Photo Library, every image and video you've stored will be available on your TV. This is great if you don't mind people going through your image collection (or you live alone), but keep in mind that if you have guests, you may not want to keep this setting enabled.

  1. First, log in to iCloud on your Apple TV by going to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > Sign in.

    Accessing iCloud on Apple TV

  2. Select iCloud Photo Library to toggle it on.

How to enable iCloud Photo Sharing

If you select iCloud Photo Sharing, your Apple TV will have access to any albums you've shared with friends (or they've shared with you). You can use this setting in tandem with iCloud Photo Library, or in isolation (if you don't want your entire image library accessible inside your living room).

  1. If you haven't already, log in to iCloud on your Apple TV by going to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > Sign in.

    Accessing iCloud on Apple TV

  2. Select iCloud Photo Sharing to toggle it on.

How to enable My Photo Stream

If you've chosen not to use iCloud Photo Library on your Apple TV, you can still access iCloud's My Photo Stream feature, which lets you view the last 1000 images you took on (or uploaded to) your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. This feature can be used in tandem with iCloud Photo Sharing, or by itself; it disappears if you enable iCloud Photo Library.

  1. If you haven't already, log in to iCloud on your Apple TV by going to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > Sign in.

    Accessing iCloud on Apple TV

  2. Select My Photo Stream to toggle it on.

Any questions?

Is there anything else you'd like to know about turning on and using iCloud Photo Library on Apple TV? Do you have a tip or suggestion? Let us know in the comments.

Updated May 2018: Added more information about the different sharing options for Apple TV.

iCloud Photo Library: The Ultimate Guide

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