Apple TV Hardware Smart Home

How can I take a screenshot on an Apple TV?

If you’re the proud possessor of a shiny Apple TV then there’s a feature that you may not be aware of – the ability to connect a Mac to it and view the output. As a result, it then becomes easy to use this to take a screenshot of the Apple TV.

First of all, there are some minimum requirements for this to work…

  1. Your Mac must be running a minimum of MacOS High Sierra
  2. You must have a 4th gen Apple TV with tvOS 11 or later
  3. Both your Mac and Apple TV must be on the same WiFi network

Got all that? Let’s get started…

Connecting to Apple TV

  • On your Mac, launch QuickTime Player.
  • In the menu bar, click on “File” and then “New Movie Recording”.
  • By default, this will start your webcam and show the result in the QuickTime window.
  • Near the bottom of the window is a red recording button. To the right of that is a down arrow. Click on that.
take a screenshot on an apple tv
  • One of the camera options should be the name of your Apple TV – select that.
  • Your Apple TV screen should now appear within the QuickTime window. On your Apple TV a red band will appear around the screen to indicate that this is happening.
  • You can now use the QuickTime window to take screenshots via the normal Mac shortcut method.
  • You can also use the aforementioned red record button to create video too.

What are the limitations?

For, rather obvious copyright reasons, Apple informs individual apps what you’re doing and, depending on their copy protection, they may prevent you from seeing the screen when you’re playing TV shows or films.

For example, this is what happens if you try and play a video, whilst connecting to your Mac, on Disney+ and Apple TV, respectively…

Netflix, in comparison, simply didn’t refresh the QuickTime window whilst streaming any video content and Amazon Video just froze whenever you tried to play anything. One exception was BBC iPlayer which would happily stream its content and allow screenshots and video recording to take place…

take a screenshot on an apple tv

In most cases, though, you’re probably not going to be able to take a screenshot, let alone record videos, of TV shows or films from your Apple TV.

READ NEXT: How do I delete my Apple TV history?

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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