six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Taking Apple TV screenshots

Apologizes for the little bit of tech-media inside baseball. We don’t just write about products, we want to provide you with images. For hardware, that’s relatively easy. For software, though, you need to generate “screenshots,” or image files that display the contents of some or all of the screen.

On the Mac that’s easy—there are a surprising number of keyboard shortcuts built into the operating system, plus a built in utility (Grab), and then many third-party tools.

When the iPhone first came out, it had no screenshot utility, which was brutal. We ended up taking screenshots by jailbreaking the first iPhone, tethering it via USB to a Mac, using Terminal to connect to the iPhone’s hidden command-line interface, typing a particular command at the moment that the iPhone’s screen contained the image we wanted to grab, and then typing another command to kick off a file transfer that would bring that image off of the iPhone and back to the Mac.1

Anyway, it’s always been a bear to get high-quality images of what an Apple TV displays on a screen. So we resort to taking pictures of a TV screen (minimizing glare as much as possible), or plugging it into an HDMI video capture box and pulling out frames, stuff like that.

This is a long way of leading up to the discovery that there’s a way to take screenshots and make native video captures on the new Apple TV, as reported by Serenity Caldwell at iMore. You’ve got to install Xcode and tether your Apple TV via USB-C, but hey, we’ll all take it.


  1. Apple added a screen-shot shortcut to the iPhone not too long after, and we were all very grateful.  ↩

[Get much more Apple TV-related stuff on our Apple TV page.]