One of the greatest features of the newer Apple TVs is the ability to stream music, or video from another iOS device or Mac via AirPlay. Because AirPlay is always “on” by default your Apple TV’s name is broadcast for anyone to find; and they don’t even have to be on your WiFi network. If you live in an apartment, condo complex, or another house is only feet away, those nearby neighbor’s Apple TV names can show up as device choices to stream to, on anyone’s iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It’s a blessing and a curse.
The issue with seeing your neighbor’s Apple TV or other AirPlay devices can’t really be fixed, unless you know them well enough to tell them about this How To, or show them how to fix theirs, once you’ve fixed yours.
As of this writing, Apple has no easy way of allowing only AirPlay devices on your local network to only be seen by you. Hopefully in a future version of iOS, macOS or AirPlay 2, this will be easier to configure.
With that said, this post will show you how to keep your Apple TV name available only on your home network.
The photo (left) is the Control Center from my iPhone 8 Plus running iOS 11.x. You can see listings for three Apple TVs. My device has the custom name: jo.AppleTV. The other two Apple TVs are generically named. When iOS sees more than one generally named Apple TVs, it adds a (2), (3), (4), depending on how many devices are seen. It can be very confusing.
In this How To I’ll show you how to customize the name of your Apple TV and how to keep the device available only on your local WiFi network; thereby hiding it from anyone NOT on your network.
We’ll start by renaming your Apple TV. If you have multiple Apple TVs you can easily give each a unique name via Apple’s list, or by creating your own Custom Name. I would choose a Custom Name over Apple list of names (Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, etc) because if a neighbor chooses the same name your back to figuring out which is yours. So a custom name is the best solution; and like anything else “Apple”, makes it much more personal.
To be absolutely safe, on the same screen, you can choose Require Code, and select First Time only. This way when you connect a device, Apple TV will prompt you with a code to enter on that device. The next time you connect with that device, it will have remembered and not ask again. You can also create and require a password every time someone tries to connect, but this is supposed to be about “ease of use”—so the one time Code seems to be enough—at least for me. Your mileage (or security needs) may vary.
Now that I’ve created this, time for me to visit my neighbors and help them out.