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The iTunes library is the third component to this system. Launch iTunes on your Mac or Windows computer. Select Preferences from the top iTunes menu located on the top menu bar. Next, tap on the Sharing tab. Check “Share my library on my local network”. By default, “Share entire library” is selected. You can adjust this to select specific types of media. It’s also possible to enter a password for Home Sharing access. iTunes must be running on your computer in order to use Home Sharing.
Now that Home Sharing is on, you can use your iOS device to browse your iTunes Library. Any media you play will automatically display on Apple TV, if AirPlay is turned on. You’ll see an AirPlay icon on media player screen.
Although we activated Home Sharing on Apple TV, when using the Remote app, the sharing is between your iOS device and iTunes on your computer. Activating Home Sharing on Apple TV allows you to access your iTunes library directly from Apple TV, using the Computers app.
With Home Sharing, you can browse albums, songs, artists or videos using the familiar iOS interface. If you have a large iTunes library, this feature is indispensable, however, Apple TV has an adequate, built-in Home Sharing interface accessible from the Computers icon on the home screen. The Remote app is more useful for long-range control of your iTunes library.
Keep Remote App Connected
Chances are that if you use the Remote app, your iOS device has Auto-Lock enabled. You don’t need to set Auto-Lock to Never in order to keep the Remote app connected. I recommend setting Auto-Lock to Never only if you are constantly using the Remote app. You can dim the screen to reduce battery usage.
By default, the Remote app has “Stay Connected” mode activated. This keeps the Remote app connected to your Apple TV, even if your device locks. This will use some battery power, but not as much as setting Auto-Lock to never. If you turn this setting off, it will take a brief moment for the Remote app to re-connect with your Apple TV. I recommend leaving this setting on, which is the default. You can turn it off by tapping Settings on the top right of the Devices screen. Next, turn off the “Stay Connected” switch.
Beyond the Remote App
The Remote app is somewhat useful, but in the age of streaming music and video, iTunes libraries are becoming less practical. To be honest, I haven’t used Home Sharing in a few years. I play Spotify music over AirPlay. The built-in Apple TV channels are more than enough for me.
If you subscribe to Apple Music or your iTunes library is consolidated on an iOS device, you can use the iOS Music or Videos apps as remotes. For example, if you launch Music and connect to AirPlay, anything you play on your iOS device will be beamed to Apple TV. You can browse music on your device and control playback on your Apple TV from virtually anywhere in your home or yard. For those who have iTunes videos stored in the Videos app, the same workflow applies.
Although Apple’s Remote app leaves much to be desired, it will come in handy if you lose or break your remote. I encourage you to plan ahead and configure the Remote app. You won’t be able to do this if you lose or break your Siri remote. The Remote app is limited and cumbersome, but it’s a decent alternative if you can’t use your Siri remote.