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How to take a screenshot on Apple TV using a Mac

How to take a screenshot on Apple TV using a Mac

Taking screenshots is a great way to visually instruct someone on how to use the Apple TV. But there is no real tool on the device to capture these images. This guide shows you how to take a screenshot on your Apple TV using a Mac.

Technical, can take screenshots on Apple TV, but you can’t access them. The so-called «stackshots» are used by Apple technical support for diagnostic purposes. You can capture these photos by simultaneously pressing the volume down and play buttons simultaneously on the Siri remote.

However, in this guide, do not take screenshots directly on your Apple TV device for diagnostics. Instead, you want screenshots for instructional purposes, wallpaper creation, and more. This requires a Mac to capture Apple TV output using AirPlay and the Apple QuickTime Player.

Keep in mind that you can’t control your Apple TV with your mouse and keyboard. You will still need to use the Siri remote. You also can’t play media content while streaming your Apple TV to a Mac due to digital rights management. If you try, you will see the following negation:

Warning: this video cannot be played

You can read more about high-bandwidth (HDCP) digital content protection in a separate guide.

Check the connections

First, make sure your Apple TV and Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network. On your Apple TV, use the Siri remote to navigate and open the «Settings» application. It is designated by a wheel icon on a silver background.

Once inside, scroll down to the «Network» option in the list and tap the trackpad to open the submenu. Make sure you’re connected to the same network name (SSID) as your Mac.

Read our guide for more information about how to set up your Apple TV on your local network.

At the end of the Mac, click the Wi-Fi or Ethernet symbol parked in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Make sure you see a check mark next to the same network name (SSID) that is displayed on your Apple TV.

Take screenshots

First, locate the QuickTime Player application on your Mac. It is designated as a silver «Q» highlighted by a blue background inside the letter. If it is not fixed to the Dock, you can find it by clicking on the Launchpad icon.

On our test Mac, we found the application in the «Other» folder.

Use Launchpad to locate QuickTime

Once the QuickTime Player application loads, click the «File» option in the menu bar, and then select the «Record new movie» option from the drop-down menu.

A window appears on the screen that streams live video from your connected camera. Hover your mouse over the screen until an overlay appears. Click the down arrow next to the red record button, then select your Apple TV from the drop-down menu.

In this example, we use Apple TV labeled «Living Room.»

Access the screen connected to your Apple TV and record the four-digit random number. As shown below, you’ll also see the name of your Mac requesting access.

Enter these numbers in the pop-up message on your Mac computer and click the «OK» button to continue.

That’s it. You should now see your Apple TV drive streaming on your Mac via QuickTime. As a visual check, you’ll see a red border showing the screen connected to your Apple TV device.

Remember, you can’t navigate your Apple TV device with your Mac’s keyboard and mouse (or trackpad). Instead, grab the Siri remote and position the photo using QuickTime as a frame.

To take a screenshot, press Shift + Cmd + 5 simultaneously. You’ll then see a toolbar with three options for capturing a screenshot and two for capturing the video. Click the «Capture» button when you’re ready to take a screenshot. The image will be saved on your Mac computer, available for editing and sharing with others.