How to Use Photos on Apple TV

It's easy to share and view your iOS photos and videos on Apple TV

What to Know

  • Sign in to iCloud: Settings > Accounts > iCloud. Turn on one of the three options for accessing photos.
  • The tvOS 10 interface divides Photos into five tabs: Photos, Memories, Shared, Albums, and Live Photos.
  • To use AirPlay: Select image, video, or album on iOS > go to Control Center > AirPlay icon.

This article explains how to use the iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream, or iCloud Photo Sharing to access photos on your Apple TV. Additional information covers how to log into iCloud on your Apple TV and how to use AirPlay.

How to use Photos on Apple TV

Rather than download your photos and videos, Apple TV streams them from iCloud. Before you get to use Photos on Apple TV, you must activate photo sharing on iCloud for your iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC.

  1. First, log into iCloud on your Apple TV by navigating to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > Sign in. Enter your Apple ID, then select Continue and enter your password.

  2. Now that you’re signed into your iCloud account on your Apple TV, you must enable at least one of three options for accessing your photos.

  3. iCloud Photo Library: If you use iCloud Photo Library on your devices, you can stream all your photos and videos from the service on your Apple TV.

  4. iCloud Photo Sharing: Choose this option if you want to access only albums shared with you or albums you’ve shared with others.

  5. My Photo Stream: Choose this option to access the last 1,000 photos or videos you’ve captured on your iOS device. You can use this feature at the same time as iCloud Photo Sharing but it is not available with iCloud Photo Library.

Get to Know Photos

Photos gathers all of your images and presents them in an elegant layout. You need to manage your own Photos library if you want to make sure you're not sharing anything you don't want to share. You can also set any of these images as a screensaver on Apple TV.

The tvOS 10 interface divides Photos into five tabs: Photos, Memories, Shared, Albums, and Live Photos:

  • Photos: This collection gathers all of your images and videos in the order in which they were taken. Navigate through the collection with your Siri Remote, or select an image to view it in full screen.
  • Memories: Apple TV includes Apple’s unique Memories feature. Memories automatically sorts certain images into albums based on time, location, or people. It is a great way to rediscover moments and places you may have forgotten about.
  • Shared: Access any images you’ve shared to iCloud using iCloud Photo Sharing, or images shared with you by friends or family using the same service. The only snag is you cannot share images with others from the Apple TV because the images are not stored on your device.
  • Albums: This section includes all the albums you’ve created in Photos on your devices, so long as your iCloud settings are correct. You’ll also find all the automatically created albums for video, panoramas, and more.
  • Live Photos: You can see Live Photos on your Apple TV. All you need to do is select the image, press and hold the trackpad on your remote for about a half-second, and the Live Photo will begin to play. If it doesn’t work at first you may need to wait a few moments, as the image won’t play until more of it has been downloaded from iCloud.


If you don’t want to use iCloud you can also stream images to your Apple TV using AirPlay. Select an image, video, or album on your iOS, and flick up from the bottom of the screen to display Control Center and select AirPlay. You can access AirPlay on most Macs, too.

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