One of my favorite things about having an Apple TV is that my husband and I can show photo slideshows easily. Easily, that is, once I get the photos into my Photostream or exported into a unique folder on my computer.
But here’s the thing. As a die-hard Lightroom user, I’d prefer that all my photo management happen in Lightroom Classic. To make a photo appear on my Apple TV slideshow, I have to export it to a special folder on my computer. And that extra step doesn’t happen often enough. The slideshow gets dated and boring quickly. Not to mention that this extra folder is taking up unnecessary space on my hard drive.
There is a better way! If you subscribe to Adobe’s Photography plan, you can use Lightroom CC’s Apple TV app. Even if you use Lightroom CC Classic, as I do, you can synchronize your photos to a Lightroom CC collection that plays as a slideshow on TV.
How to Set Up Lightroom CC on Apple TV
First, make sure your Apple TV is fourth generation (introduced in 2015) or later. The app won’t work on earlier versions. Begin by navigating to the App Store on your Apple TV.
Search for Lightroom, scroll down and select “Get.”
After you download the app, it will prompt you to navigate to an Adobe website on a computer, sign in, and enter a code into your account.
Finally, you’ll log in to the Apple TV Lightroom app with your Adobe credentials.
(I use the Remote app on my iPhone to navigate Apple TV. Having a keyboard makes signing in to websites much easier than having to scroll to and select every letter.)
The next step is to set up a collection in Lightroom Classic that will sync with Lightroom CC.
Set Up a Slideshow Collection in Lightroom Classic
Most of us use Lightroom Classic to manage our photos, so this tutorial will cover creating a collection in Classic that will sync to Lightroom CC. If you only use only Lightroom CC (not Classic), you can skip to the “Show the Photo Slideshow on TV” section below.
The sad thing about this process is that you can’t sync Smart Collections with Lightroom CC. (Why, Adobe, why?) Smart Collections automatically pull in photos when you add a specific keyword, rating, etc.
Instead, you’ll create a regular Collection to store the photos that you want for your slideshow. Set up as many collections as you’d like. Friends and family will love seeing themselves in slideshows! Consider having different collections for each side of the family, for your friends and your kids’ friends, and for whoever else you can think of.
To create a collection, click on the plus sign near the top right of the Collections panel in Lightroom’s Library module. Select “Create Collection.”
Name the collection and click Create.
To add photos to your new collection, select one photo or select many, right click on your new collection and select “Add Selected Photos to this Collection.”
When selecting multiple photos, you can use the following shortcuts:
- To select a group of contiguous photos, select the first, hold down your shift button, and select the last photo. Everything in between will be selected.
- To select photos that aren’t next to each other, hold down the command/control button and click on each photo you’d like to select.
As you import new photos into Lightroom and edit them, it’s sometimes more efficient to keyword your favorites rather than adding them to your slideshow collection one at a time. I have an “Apple TV Slideshow” keyword that I apply to my favorite photos. After I’ve processed a group of photos, I filter for that keyword, select the photos, and add them to the collection.
Now that you have photos in your collection, the last step is to set it to synchronize with Lightroom CC. You do need to be signed into CC in Lightroom Classic to make this work. Check by clicking on the identify plate at the top left corner of Lightroom. (Your identity plate might say “Lightroom” where you see my logo in the image below.
If you aren’t connected to Lightroom online, you’ll be able to click the “Start” button to begin the connection.
After you’ve connected, you’ll need to click on the box to the left of your collection to synchronize it. The button is tiny! Below are examples of collections that are and are not being synchronized.
Show the Photo Slideshow on TV
Give it a few minutes, open the Lightroom app on Apple TV, and you’ll be able to see your new collection waiting for you. Navigate to the Collection you’d like to display. From there, you can swipe through the photos one by one, or press and hold your remote for a moment to begin a slideshow. Press and hold again to stop the slideshow.
To zoom in on a photo you are looking at, simply tap the remote.
In case you were wondering, you can’t edit your photos using this app. Its sole purpose is to display your photos.
View Photos by Keyword
While you are in the Apple TV Lightroom App, you can search using Adobe’s Sensei Artificial Intelligence technology. Want to see all your dog photos? Go to the search box and type dog. No keywording required. Sensei works for common words like dog, cat, mountain, food, water, ocean, truck, car, city, etc. Give it a try – it just might recognize what you are looking for.
You can also search for keywords or file names that you’ve added to photos.
Sort & Filter Your Photos
You can use the sort button to sort your photos from oldest to newest or vice versa. The custom option keeps the photos sorted as they are in your collection.
You can use the filter button to filter out photos with flags or stars.
Apple TV Lightroom App Settings & Music
While you’re in the App, check out the Settings section. You can change the speed of the slideshow there, among other things.
Finally, to play music with your slideshow, choose whichever music you’d like from your Apple TV before you open the Lightroom app. You can let the slideshow run to use it as a screen saver while you listen to music.
Hopes for Future Versions of Lightroom CC for Apple TV
The one thing I’d love to do with this app is to sort our photos randomly. Our family slideshow has three thousand photos – with a chronological sort order, it feels like we are watching a scrapbook or timeline. We’d rather have the slideshow surprise us from one photo to the next.
Other than that, using the Lightroom CC app on Apple TV is the easiest method I’ve found to show off my photos for friends and family.
Would you like other free Lightroom tutorials? Fill out this form to add your name to my mailing list. You’ll immediately receive a big collection of photography freebies, plus you’ll receive photography and photo editing tutorials delivered to your inbox weekly.