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How-To: Make Apple TV screenshots and video captures without using Xcode


At some point in the future, creating pixel-sharp screenshots, UI videos, and game recordings from your Apple TV may be as easy as hitting a button or two on the Siri Remote, but right now, the only obvious technique is a workaround. Thankfully, the workaround doesn’t require the use of Apple’s Xcode or another developer tool — all you’ll need is OS X’s built-in app QuickTime Player and a USB-C cable of your choice

The process is the same for screenshots and videos. Load QuickTime Player on your Mac using Spotlight or the Applications folder. Connect your Apple TV — still plugged into the wall and your HDTV — to your Mac using the USB-C to USB cable you’ve purchased.

Go to the File menu and choose New Movie Recording. Next to the gray and red record button, click on the “v” shaped arrow to see a list of choices. Pick Apple TV for both Camera and Microphone. At that point, you’ll see the Apple TV’s current video feed on your screen. Hit the gray and red record button to start recording video. To make a screenshot, hit Command-Shift-4, then hit the space bar. Your cursor will turn into a camera icon. Hover over the window until the title bar and recording interface disappear, then click your trackpad or mouse on the window to make a screenshot.


Unless the video content you’re playing back through the Apple TV is protected against recording, this technique will let you create videos and screenshots effortlessly. A more complex and expensive solution with live streaming software and more video options is Elgato’s Game Capture HD60, reviewed here, but the USB-C cable will do the trick for most people at a lower price.

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Check out more of my editorials, How-To guides, and reviews for 9to5Mac here! I’ve covered a lot of different topics of interest to Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch users. I’ve recently discussed how to safely prepare and wipe your iPhone for resale or trade-in, and how to get the best iPhone trade-in price to help buy an iPhone 6s, amongst many other topics.

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  1. lincolnsills - 7 years ago

    Nice tip Jeremy!

  2. natelegreat1 - 7 years ago

    Is this really better quality than running the app on the simulator and taking screen caps?

  3. Tommy Peters - 7 years ago

    Jeremy, how were screenshots (you see around) taken off the 3rd generation?

  4. Not getting this to work on Yosemite and Quicktime Player 10…can’t see Apple TV 4th Gen, but can see other iOS devices. Are you using El Capitan?

    • dh4nR - 7 years ago

      Hi buzzers,

      I am using El Capitan, and had no issues with it. I am using QuickTime Player 10.4, have you checked if you have the latest version of the QuickTime Player?

  5. James A. Weston - 7 years ago

    Recording videos and taking screenshots from an Apple TV 4 is a cool solution but probably not very useful.

    One the other hand, using a USB C to USB A cable, QuickTime Player on a computer, and TeamViewer would enable a remote connector to direct the configuration of an Apple TV 4. The only problem is the likely lack of the USB C cable on the Apple TV 4 end.