One of the joys of taking photos in the digital future we already live in is that we have something close to an infinite depth: huge online storage in the form of SSDs (expensive, but fast) and hard drives (very cheap, but slow). It’s a natural pairing to want some of the zillion photos you take to become available on an Apple TV, either for browsing, a slide show, or a screen saver.
Apple makes it both easy and hard. The configuration is straightforward, but finding the options aren’t! And with the arrival later this year of macOS 13 Ventura, there are three different places to find the appropriate settings over the last several releases of macOS:
In macOS 10.14 Mojave and earlier: Mojave and older versions of macOS rely on iTunes for Apple TV photo sharing. Open iTunes, go to File > Home Sharing > Choose Photos to Share with Apple TV.
In macOS 10.15 Catalina through 12 Monterey: Go to System Preferences > Sharing, check Media Sharing. Select Media Sharing, check the Home Sharing box (if not already checked), authenticate when prompted, and check the “Share photos with Apple TV” box. Click Choose.
In macOS 13 Ventura (beta): Go to System Settings > General > Sharing. Enable Media Sharing. Click the info i icon to the right of Media Sharing, and select Home Sharing and “Share photos with Apple TV.” Click Choose.
Fortunately, the dialog box that appears in each of the above cases is nearly identical. From it you can make a number of choices:
App or folder: The “Share Photos from” menu shows iPhoto (in supported versions of macOS) and Photos. You can also pick Choose Folder.
Which items: With an app, you can select either “All photos and albums” or “Selected albums” and then check off the smart and manually created albums and People albums below. With a folder selected, you can select either “All folders” or “Selected folders” and then make your choices below.
Videos or not: You can opt into having movies appear by checking Include Videos.
While you can select a folder, you cannot choose an alternate Photos library: you can choose items only from the one marked as your system library in Photos.
(To set a system library, quit Photos, then hold down Option when you re-launch it. Select a library other than your system library. Go to Photos > Preferences > General and click Use as System Library. This resets iCloud Photos, so consider that carefully before proceeding.)
On your Apple TV:
Open the Computers app.
Select the shared media library.
Select the Photos tab. (It may take a little time between sharing photos from your Mac and items appearing in the Photos tab for large libraries.)
A slideshow of recent images appears on the main screen. Select Photos or Albums.
You can then choose in the Photos view or in any Albums view to play a slide show or set the view as your Apple TV screensaver.
If you want to configure your Apple TV to view images stored in iCloud Photos, it’s remarkably easier: see this Apple support note for the steps to set up the Photos app in Apple TV.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Yahya.
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