How to Take Screenshots of the Apple TV – Look, Ma, No Wires Edition

Two years ago, I wrote about how you can take screenshots of the Apple TV. At the time, you needed to connect the device to a Mac and use Xcode – Apple’s developer environment – to capture what’s on your TV screen.

This has become a lot simpler lately: you can now do this without wires. This means you can leave your Apple TV in the living room, and take screenshots from any Mac on the same network.

If you do need to take screenshots of the Apple TV – something that generally only developers and journalists need to do – here’s how.

First, make sure your Apple TV is awake, and your TV is on; you’ll need to view it briefly.

Next, fire up Xcode, then choose Window > Devices & Simulators. Click your Apple TV in the Discovered sidebar, then click Pair with your Apple TV. You’ll see a screen asking you to enter the six-digit code displayed on your TV; go to the other room and get the code, then enter it.

Apple tv1

You’ll next see a screen like this:


You can now click Take Screenshot to capture the screen. Of course, you still need to go back to where the Apple TV is located to navigate through menus and select items, since Xcode can’t (unfortunately) display what the Apple TV is showing in real time.

Screenshots are saved to your Mac’s Desktop.

h/t Rob G..

9 thoughts on “How to Take Screenshots of the Apple TV – Look, Ma, No Wires Edition

  1. Are the screenshots “saved to your [my] Mac’s Desktop”, or are they saved to my selected location for my regular screenshots? In other words, does the Xcode AppleTV screenshot follow, or ignore, my choices of screenshot file location that I set up outside of Xcode?

    • They are indeed saved to the Desktop; I have a different folder set for screenshots on my iMac, and they didn’t go there.

  2. This is a cool tip. Thanks for sharing! I fired up Xcode 9.0.1 to try it, but neither my 4th gen AppleTV or 4K AppleTV show up under Window > Devices & Simulators. I haven’t had any other networking issues either with these devices; AirPlay and Home Sharing both work fine.

    So the first troubleshooting question I will ask is: does this require macOS 10.13 High Sierra? (For a few reasons I am still running 10.12.)

    • I don’t know. I’m running the same version of Xcode, and I would think it’s TVOS and Xcode that are the variables, but perhaps the macOS version also matters.

    • Does that work wirelessly now too? Or does it still require plugging in a cable?

      (That’s what this tip is about, not needing the USB-C cable. The 4K AppleTV no longer has a USB-C port.)

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