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How to stream content from your iTunes library to the Apple TV

Kirk McElhearn | Nov. 16, 2015
The secret lies in the Computers tile on the Apple TV home screen.

apple tv 2015 glamour shot
Credit: Apple

When Apple introduced the latest version of the Apple TV, a lot of people were worried that they would no longer be able to stream content from their iTunes libraries. In the screenshots on the Apple website, the Computers tile isn’t shown, and on the Tech Specs page, nothing said that you could still use Home Sharing to access your iTunes library.

Well, rest assured; nothing much has changed. You can still stream music and videos from your iTunes library, as you have been able to do for years. You can watch movies and TV shows, you can stream music, and you can listen to podcasts and audiobooks on the Apple TV. Here’s how you set up and use the Apple TV to access media in your iTunes library.

atv computers
Access media in your iTunes library from the Computers tile.

Set up Home Sharing

Home Sharing is Apple’s method of authenticating you so you can access content from your iTunes library on other devices. This feature uses your Apple ID, the one linked to your iTunes Store account. To activate it, go to iTunes and choose File > Home Sharing > Turn on Home Sharing. Enter your Apple ID and password, and iTunes will be ready to serve up audio and video to other Apple devices.

Home Sharing works with other computers (iTunes), iOS devices (the Music or Videos apps), and the Apple TV. On the latter, go to Settings > Accounts > Home Sharing, and enter your credentials. If you have more than one Apple TV, enter the same credentials on each of the devices so they will be able to access your iTunes library. Remember that each device that will access your library has to be set up to use the same Apple ID for Home Sharing.

Stream content with Home Sharing

Home Sharing lets you stream media. Even though the new Apple TV contains either 32GB or 64GB flash storage, you can’t “send” files from your iTunes library to the device, as you could with the very first Apple TV, which synced content from your iTunes library. That device was more like an iPod in the living room; the current Apple TV (and the second- and third-generation models) pull media from your iTunes library, or from the cloud.

To use Home Sharing to access content from your iTunes library, select Computers on the Apple TV’s home screen, and then select a library. If you have more than one computer running iTunes, and Home Sharing is active on each of them, they will all display here.


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