How to Use the Apple TV To Share Photos and Playlists At Your Next Holiday Party

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One of our favorite things to use while hosting get togethers at our apartment has been the Apple TV. No, it isn't because we all sit around and watch Netflix on it! The Apple TV is what we use to mirror our mobile devices, providing a super easy way for guests to share their photos and music when we all get together. If this sort of audio and photo sharing seems like something you and your guests already like to do, here are a few tips for using the Apple TV for simple sharing on the big screen for all to enjoy...

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  1. Personalize Your Apple TV's Network Name. Don't let what's shown above happen to your guests, especially in a multi-unit area where neighbors might have an Apple TV also. Go to Settings > General > Name to change the name of your Apple TV to something your guests will be able to easily find, especially if you're in an Apple-loving high rise.
  2. Let Guests Know in Advance. If sharing favorite funny holiday photos or special song mixes is something you want guests to do when they get to the party, let them prepare in advance by mentioning the option in the invite. Because the Apple TV works wirelessly you should also mention to guests they won't need to bring any special technology outside of their smartphone or tablet. But if they want to share and are on an Android device (no need for extra apps if on iOS), they should download an app like Apple TV AirPlay Media Player.
  3. Make Accessing the Wi-fi Network Simple. You can't send content wirelessly to the Apple TV without being on the same network, so make sure guests know what wi-fi network they should use and how to get on it. Try this tip from the archives for a creative way to share the wifi info with your guests. Consider changing your wi-fi network's password to something simple just for the evening to make sharing wi-fi even easier.
  4. Explain Why & How. Let your Apple TV do the talking by creating a graphic that you display on screen to let guests know what folks are sharing and how they can share (and the name of the Apple TV via wi-fi). We usually use the Phoster app for this purpose and then save the image to our Camera Roll. The graphic then goes into our slideshow with the images we're sharing at the party so guests have multiple opportunities to learn how to add their photos. Of course there is a way to display the wireless network and Apple TV name onscreen using the built-in Conference Room Display, but that's nowhere near as fun.
  5. Want to Maintain Control? Add a Password. Lastly, if guests mirroring their screens and switching up the music does not sound like your idea of a fun time, add a password to your Apple TV before they arrive. To do this go to Settings > AirPlay > Password.
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Perhaps we just have slightly geekier-than-average guests, but we love using our Apple TV to mirror at parties. Feedback from guests who want to opt in has been great and by scaffolding the experience with the settings and graphics described above, we make the process as accessible as possible so that no one needs a manual to join in on the fun.

(Image credits: Joelle Alcaidinho)

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