Synchronise the Apple TV

Synchronise the Apple TV
Mac Tip #303/22-August-2007

The Apple TV can synchronise with one computer in your network, though it can play items on behalf of other computers too. I have my Apple TV synchronised with my main machine: my MacBook Pro.

I have quite a lot of media files on my Mac. As I write I have:

  • 16 GB of iTunes Music (includes 500 Mb of movies)
  • 15.6 GB of Photos

All of these are copied across to the Apple TV. Then when I add or remove items in iTunes the files are added to or deleted from the Apple TV.

I have a lot of control though, as I can set preferences for how the Apple TV and my Mac should interact.

Do it like this:

  • make sure the Apple TV is connected up and ‘paired’ with your Mac.
  • open iTunes and wait a few moments.
  • click on the Apple TV item under Devices in the Source column. The main area of the window shows a Summary of information about your Apple TV.
  • click on each tab in turn across the top of the iTunes window: Movies, TV Shows, Music, Podcasts and Photos.
  • in each tab select the settings you prefer.

Once you’ve made all your choices, click the Sync button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window.

If you make major changes, or if this is the first sync, you’d be well-advised to either connect your Mac to the Apple TV with an ethernet cable or to leave it to sync overnight.

Remember to set your Mac not to go to sleep. My Apple TV now contains about 35 GB of files and it took hours for the first transfer of data over the wireless network.

By the way: the multi-coloured strip across the bottom of the Apple TV window in iTunes responds to clicks.

Click on the bar to rotate display between GB, number of items and media duration (eg hours or days of music). The screenshot shows the same bar three times — each one showing different information.

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