Photos on Apple TV

I’ve just bought an Apple TV 4K and have been trying to display photos from my iMac on the TV. Previously I’ve done that by copying them onto a USB stick and plugging it into a DVD player.

I’ve bought Take Control of Apple TV (of course) and followed the advice there for showing photos, but haven’t found a method that works for me. I think the problem stems from not using Apple’s iPhoto/Photo system to organise my photos - I download all photos to the iMac (MacOS 10.14 Mojave) then arrange them in folders in the Finder.

The nearest I’ve come to success is to turn on Home Sharing in iTunes and select the folder of photos I want to display. This works except that the Apple TV displays the photos not in my carefully organised sequence but in whatever order the Apple system chooses.

Any ideas, please? Or am I stuck with the clunky but functional USB stick method?

Yep. I think it’s because they are not in Photos. Do a test and add some to photos app and see what happens.

Hi Peter,

Your guess is correct!

I have several clients who also use other methods to store and organize their photos… but use Photos app to share them via iCloud Photo Albums, which also works to get photos to your Apple TV.

Use Apple Photos just for that function.



Thanks for your responses. I uploaded some photos to the Photos app on the Mac - both in My Albums and Shared Albums - and did all the right things (I think) like turning on Shared Albums in Sys Prefs > iCloud, but nothing shows up on the Apple TV. I did not turn on iCloud Photos because that uploads all my photos and videos to iCloud, which I don’t want to happen.

OP again after some more trials. I think I’ve cracked it. Import photos as an album into Photos app on the Mac (you can also import a folder containing subfolders). Select each album and control-click for a contextual menu, which contains a Sort option where you can choose ‘Keep sorted by title’.

Then to display the photos on the Apple TV, I used Home Sharing: open iTunes, select Home Sharing in the File menu then choose the albums from the Photos app to share with Apple TV. This way the photos display in the correct order. It’s all a bit weird but I guess I’m trying to swim against the stream.

Have you considered a Plex server? It can do photos, among many other things.

I hadn’t until now! Just had a look at it. Looks brilliant but more than I need, I think - I just want to show my photos and videos on the TV occasionally, such as after a holiday expedition. Thanks for the input though, knowledge and awareness are always worth having.


Try using AirPlay from your iPhone. Works great.

I loaded the favorites from my Photos app as the screen saver for ATV and they look good.
That was easy.

When you swim with the tide, Apple does it better than anyone, but if you need or want not to do that, third party is the way to go. I’d agree with Josh, a Plex server would be easiest and best.

I love everything Apple but, yes, it’s a closely integrated system. I’m going to be adventurous and try Plex. I’ll report back later. Thanks to all respondees.

OP again. I just tried the Plex app on my iMac. As far as I can tell, for my purposes it suffers from the same kind of problem as the Apple approach - it tries to reorganise my photo collection into its own categories. I discovered how to display folders of photos, but it doesn’t indicate the subfolders and it doesn’t show the photos themselves - it seems you have to download them. Why would I want to do that, when they’re already on my computer?
Am I getting something wrong here?

Problem solved. AirPlay is the answer, for me. I copied some folders full of jpeg images into Dropbox on the iMac, opened Dropbox on the iPhone and viewed the images on its screen. Mirror the screen to the Apple TV and the job’s done! Easy to choose and view images, see or hide their titles, zoom in for details, scroll panoramas across the screen… It’s perfect. Thanks to all who came up with suggestions, and especially for suggesting AirPlay.