How to View Mac Photos or iPhoto Slideshows On Your Apple TV

Tim Brookes 28-11-2016

The Apple TV is a great AirPlay receiver How to Screen Mirror Your iPhone or iPad to a TV How does screen mirroring work on iPhone? Here's how to mirror your iPhone to a TV using several simple methods. Read More and all-round set top box Still Unsure If You Need an Apple TV? Here’s What It Can Do On the fence about what seems like yet another expensive Apple purchase? Check out what you can do with an Apple TV and decide for yourself. Read More . It also provides a great way to share images with friends, family or colleagues.


Slideshows are perfect for accomplishing this, and there’s a few ways to initiate a slideshow using your Mac and Apple TV. Whether you’re using Photos for Mac, or Apple’s older iPhoto app, we’ll show you how to share your slideshows to the big screen.

We’ll be working with the fourth generation Apple TV introduced in 2015 Apple TV 2015 Review With competition from Google's Chromecast and Amazon’s FireTV reaching fever pitch, can Cupertino still hold its own in the battle for the space under your TV? Read More , which runs tvOS. Instructions for older devices should be very similar, if not the same.

The Quickest Method: AirPlay Mirroring

This will work with all versions of the Apple TV, and it’s arguably the quickest way of displaying photos on an external display. First you’ll need to create an album of images you want to display:

Using Photos:

  1. Select an image or several images using command+click then hit the plus “+” button at the top of the screen and choose Album.
  2. Select New Album and give it a name, then hit OK.
  3. Add more photos using the same method, but choose the album you created rather than “New Album” in step two.



Use View > Show Sidebar to view all of your album on the left-side of the screen, which allows you to click and drag photos straight into albums for quickness.

Using iPhoto:

  1. Select an image or several images using command+click then hit the Add To button at the bottom of the screen and choose Album.
  2. Click New Album and give it a name, it will appear in the sidebar on the left-hand side of the page.
  3. Add more photos using the Add To button, selecting the album you just created. You can also click and drag photos directly into the album in the sidebar.


View the Slideshow:


Once you’ve created an album of images, it’s time to enable AirPlay mirroring and output your Mac’s display to your Apple TV. Find the AirPlay icon at the top of the screen in your menu bar (see the image below). Select AirPlay to: Apple TV or whatever you’ve named your receiver.


Finally, play the slideshow. In Photos simply select the album you just made and click on the “play” button at the top of the screen. In iPhoto select the album you made and click on Slideshow at the bottom-center of the screen. Both apps will allow you to choose a theme and background music before starting the slideshow.

What you see and hear on your Mac display will be mirrored to your Apple TV.


Use Albums & Home Sharing

It’s also possible to use an iTunes feature called Home Sharing to share all sorts of content with your Apple TV, wirelessly. It’ll work provided you’re using the same Wi-Fi network as the Apple TV, and you’ve authorized both devices using the same Apple ID. First you’ll need to create an album as described under AirPlay Mirroring above.


Launch iTunes and enable Home Sharing under File > Home Sharing > Turn On Home Sharing. If it’s off you’ll need to enter your Apple ID password. Once enabled you can specify which photos to share with your Apple TV by heading to File > Home Sharing > Choose Photos to Share With Apple TV.

In the window that appears, check the box to enable sharing and choose between the Photos library or the older iPhoto library. You can also choose to share only specific albums, or share everything, and include videos too. Hit Done then Apply to action your settings.



To see your albums on your Apple TV, enable Home Sharing under Settings > Account > Home Sharing and sign in with your Apple ID.

View the Slideshow:

You can now view all of your Photos or iPhoto albums on your Apple TV by choosing Computers from the main menu. You’ll see a list of shared libraries appear, so choose Photos. You can now pick the album you made earlier (or any album you want to make in future) and use the Play Slideshow option at the top of the screen to view your images. You can also choose options like shuffle, repeat, the time per slide, and which theme you want to use.

Problem Seeing Your Shared Photo Library?

While testing this feature out for the article, I noticed that the Photos library sometimes disappears and doesn’t seem to show up again. A variety of the following have helped me solve this issue:

  • Launch iTunes, head to File > Home Sharing > Choose Photos to Share With Apple TV and make a change (e.g. disable Include Videos) and hit Done then Apply. If it worked you can change the option back straight away without any issues.
  • Try signing in and out on your affected devices. I found that re-authorizing Home Sharing on my Apple TV after enabling two-factor authentication on my Apple ID helped clear up some issues.
  • Restart the Apple TV via Settings > System > Restart.

Export A Slideshow to Your Apple TV

It’s also possible to export an actual video slideshow to your Apple TV, generated by Photos or iPhoto. This seems like an unnecessary step for displaying photos on an Apple TV, and it’s more suited to uploading your video elsewhere (Facebook or YouTube, for example). But if you want a slideshow you can just set and forget, it might work for you.

In order to make the most of the feature you’ll need to set up Home Sharing as described under Use Albums & Home Sharing above. Once you’ve done that, you can make a slideshow from a specific album or group of photos:

Using Photos:

  1. Select the album from which you want to make a slideshow, or simply select a group of photos using command+click.
  2. Click the plus “+” button at the top of the screen and select Slideshow.
  3. Select New Slideshow in the drop down box, give it a name and hit OK.
  4. Continue to add photos to the slideshow using the same method (replacing “New Slideshow” with the one you created) or by clicking and dragging photos using the sidebar.
  5. When you’re done, select your slideshow from the sidebar (View > Show Slidebar if it’s not visible) and click Export at the top of the screen.
  6. Give the file a name, select a location, and choose from 480p, 720p, or full HD 1080p output quality; and ensure that Automatically Send to iTunes is enabled.


Using iPhoto:

  1. Select the album you want to create a slideshow from, or select a group of photos using command+click.
  2. Use the Add To box at the bottom of the screen and select Slideshow.
  3. Choose New Slideshow and give it name.
  4. Add more images using the same method by selecting the slideshow you just created, or click and drag to the sidebar.
  5. When you’re done click on your slideshow and choose Export at the bottom of the screen.
  6. Choose from 480, 720p, or full HD 1080p video quality and make sure that Automatically Send to iTunes is enabled.
  7. Hit Export and choose an output location for the resulting file.


View the Slideshow:

Launch iTunes on your Mac and make sure that Include Videos is enabled under File > Home Sharing > Choose Photos to Share With Apple TV. Now on your Apple TV choose Computers from the main menu, select your Mac’s library, and you’ll find your slideshow video under Home Videos.

macOS Photos & iOS Devices

iPhoto is old and no longer supported, so the new Photos app is better suited for the job A Cleaner, Faster iPhoto: Upgrade to Photos for OS X Yosemite Photos for OS X has finally arrived, replacing iPhoto with an image management application that Mac users will actually want to use — but is there enough here to satisfy Aperture refugees? Read More . The latest version of Photos included in macOS Sierra allows you to search your photo library for objects 5 Reasons to Install macOS Sierra Right Now & How to Upgrade After a few months of public beta, the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system is ready for prime time. Read More , places, and people which makes finding images for use in albums and slideshows much easier. Ideally you should only use iPhoto if you’re on an older version of OS X and you absolutely have to.

You can also use your iPhone or iPad to display slideshows via AirPlay. Launch Photos on iOS and swipe up to reveal Control Center, swipe left to show the media controls and choose your Apple TV from the AirPlay option at the bottom. Now any photos you view will be displayed on the Apple TV, including slideshows you initiate. You can even stream your own background music via Apple Music or Spotify.

Which method best suits you for sharing images using your Apple TV? Let us know in the comments below.

Original article by Simon Slangen.

Related topics: Apple Airplay, Apple TV, iPhoto, Slideshow, tvOS.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Karin
    December 2, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    When I have AirPlay on at my TV (Samsung), a black box alway shows up and disturbs viewing of the photo slide-show. How can this be turned off? I guess Apple would have to remove it or let it show up only when desired by the viewer.

  2. LilBob
    February 28, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Great article! I'd add one more app which works great in streaming photos from Mac/iPhones/iPads to different devices. It's ArkMC - works without any bugs, very user-friendly, I finally get rid of all these expensive adapters and cables.

  3. lina
    September 25, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    I travel a lot and like to show the photos taken during the trip on a big screen. Therefore I found a perfect solution for myself - ArkMC streaming app. It has an option slideshow so you can easily relax and enjoy watching pictures.

    • mamal
      August 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

      I use it as well! For me, ArkMC is very suitable and convenient. You can easily stream all your media with no problem. Moreover, it's also compatible with my Xbox. 5/5

  4. Rachel
    February 5, 2015 at 5:03 am

    I have created a slideshow in iPhoto, exported it to iTunes, and now it is synced on my iPad under the Videos application. I am planning to attend a wedding shower this weekend where I planned to broadcast the slideshow off my iPad connecting to a friend's Apple TV, however, when I play the slideshow on my iPad, it does not give the option of pushing it onto the Apple TV (I also have an Apple TV at home I'm trying to test it out on). Do you know how I can get the slideshow to broadcast on another person's Apple TV since she won't have access to my iTunes.
    Also, I saved the file in Dropbox so I can share the link with others. When I attempt to play the slideshow off the link, same problem: no option to push it onto Apple TV like it would if I were playing any other video.

  5. Sailormannn
    May 18, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Do you know if movies will play in an iPhoto slideshow on an Apple TV 3. I've tried and can't get it to work. The movies are there in the slideshow on ATV, but it skips over them when the slideshow runs.

  6. David Alleman
    April 18, 2013 at 1:20 am

    How can you display iphoto slideshows on other tvs? (Panasonic Viera, for instance?)


    • Reid Sunderland
      September 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      The Apple TV is a device that works with pretty much any HDTV. It's $100 box that you buy and connect to your TV and network (Wi-Fi or wired with Ethernet).

      If you don't want to buy an Apple TV, you should look in your TV's manual or search the model online to see if it has any built in features; many TV sets allow you to insert an SD card and run a slideshow directly from the card.

  7. macwitty
    April 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Do not have an Apple TV - otherwise it seems handy. Most of the times I put the photos I want to show in a folder and use slideshow, full screen in preview. When i want to make a better presentation of them i use iMovie and show it on a computer screen

  8. John
    April 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Nice article Simon you've made everything very easy to follow. @Tom Six i totally agree Apple does make amazing products.

  9. Tom Six
    April 8, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Apple does make amazing products, expensive but awesome.
    The Home Sharing feature seems like a great tool.

  10. Chris Marcoe
    April 8, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Sweet article. the only problem, for me, is I am a PC user. Is there something similar for PC anywhere?

    Thank you

    • Simon Slangen
      April 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Hi Chris,

      iTunes for Windows should support homesharing too, so you might be able to use options 1 and/or 2. Check out AirParrot ($9.99) for mirroring your Windows computer display to the Apple TV.

      • Chris Marcoe
        April 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        thank you for the feed back. I'll go looking at it now...