Home Sharing not working? Try this

By , Nov 21, 2016

Apple TV

Home Sharing is a useful feature you can use to stream your iTunes content from your computer’s iTunes library to up to five other computers, Apple TVs, and iOS devices in your household.

While it’s a useful feature, that’s not to say it works all the time. Small glitches or problems with your devices can cause the feature to not work properly, and we’ll be talking about common fixes for Home Sharing problems on your Apple TV and other Apple devices in this piece.

Fixing problem with Home Sharing

1. Make sure Home Sharing is enabled on your devices

To get Home Sharing to work, you should first make sure the feature is enabled on all your devices. To do that, go through the steps below:

  1. Mac or PC: Open iTunes and go to File → Home Sharing → Turn on Home Sharing in the Menu Bar.
  2. iPhone or iPad: Go to Settings → Music or Settings → Videos and turn on the Home Sharing toggle switch.
  3. Apple TV (4th Gen): Go to Settings → Accounts → Home Sharing and turn on Home Sharing.
  4. Apple TV (3rd Gen or earlier): Go to Settings → Computers.

Once Home Sharing is enabled on your devices, everything should work seamlessly, but if you have everything enabled and it’s still not working, then move on to the next troubleshooting steps.

2. Make sure you are using the same Apple ID on all devices

If you have more than one Apple ID, or a family member is signed into one of your devices instead of yourself, then this can impact your Home Sharing abilities.

For Home Sharing to work, all of your devices must be signed into the same Apple ID that owns the content you want to stream. In other words, if ABC@icloud.com has a movie you wish to watch with Home Sharing, and you’re signed into your Apple TV with XYZ@icloud.com, then it’s not going to work. Both devices will need to be signed in with ABC@icloud.com.

To sign in with your Apple ID, do the following:

  1. Mac or PC: Open iTunes and go to File → Home Sharing and turn off Home Sharing, then set up Home Sharing again.
  2. iPhone or iPad: Go to Settings → Music or Settings → Videos and sign in with your Apple ID.
  3. Apple TV (4th Gen): Settings → Accounts → Home Sharing and sign in with your Apple ID.
  4. Apple TV (3rd Gen or earlier): Go to Settings → Computers.

3. Ensure your Mac or PC is on and awake

You should also check to make sure the Mac or PC you’re sharing from is turned on and awake, and that iTunes is running on it. iTunes must be opened for Home Sharing to work, and if the machine is turned off or asleep, then a Wi-Fi signal might not be working as it needs to be for Home Sharing.

You can also set your Mac to wake on demand if you’re using an Apple TV. To do that, go to System Preferences → Energy Saver and turn on Wake for Wi-Fi network access.

If you already have iTunes open and everything looks good, but still isn’t working, try quitting iTunes and reopening it to the foreground on your Mac and try again.

4. Is your internet connection working?

For Home Sharing to work, you must be on the same Wi-Fi network with all of your shared devices. This will not work if your Mac is on one Wi-Fi network and your Apple TV is on another, for example.

If everything is on the same Wi-Fi network, make sure none of your devices are connected to a VPN or another kind of internet intruding service that might interrupt or intercept your ability to have your devices talk to one another.

Another thing to check for is a guest network. Modern wireless routers sometimes channel two separate networks; one is a personal network for you and your family (often password protected), while the other is a guest network for your visitors (often not password protected). Make sure both devices are on the same channel and that one isn’t on the guest network and one isn’t on the personal network.

5. Restart everything

You should also try restarting your devices if things aren’t working. Don’t only restart your Mac, Apple TV, and/or iOS devices, but also restart your wireless router. It could be that it’s not allowing the devices to talk to one another like it’s supposed to because of a glitch of its own.

6. Update all your software

It’s also good to make sure all your devices and wireless routers are running the latest software, as new software has all the latest bug fixes and performance improvements to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Mac: Open the Mac App Store → Updates tab to see if you have any outstanding updates.
  2. PC: Open both Windows Update and Apple Software Update to see if there are any updates to be installed.
  3. iPhone or iPad: Go to Settings → General → Software Update to see if you have any updates waiting.
  4. Apple TV (4th Gen): Go to Settings → System→ Software Updates → Update Software to check.
  5. Apple TV (3rd Gen or earlier): Go to Settings → General → Update Software to check.

If you’re using an outdated software version, it might not even support Home Sharing, so be sure to keep this in mind.

7. Check security settings

If you’ve got some kind of security setting in place, such as a firewall, then this could potentially be hindering your access to Home Sharing. Most of the time, this is going to be related to third-party security software or firewall settings in the wireless router itself.

In rare instances, a Mac user may have turned off incoming connections via the firewall. You can check this by going to System Preferences → Security & Privacy and opening the Firewall tab. You can edit these settings to make sure nothing is blocking your Home Sharing by opening the Firewall Options.

8. Look at your router settings

Ensure that no ports needed for Home Sharing are being blocked. Home Sharing relies on TCP port 3689 and UDP port 5342. Make sure these are open and can be accessed.

9. Are you trying to authorize more than 5 machines?

You can only have a maximum of five machines connected to Home Sharing. If you are trying to use a sixth machine, then this isn’t going to work.

If you have too many machines authorized to use your iTunes account, you may want to deauthorize the ones you don’t need so the ones you do need can be utilized.

Did that fix the problem?

After going through the steps above, most common Home Sharing issues will be resolved. If they were not, your only hope might be to contact Apple Support or the support division of your wireless router manufacturer.

Also read:

Were you successful in getting Home Sharing to work? Share in the comments section below.

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