Library for controlling an Apple TV

apple, tv, apple-tv, asyncio, home-automation, python3
pip install pyatv==0.3.2


A python client library for the Apple TV

Build Status Coverage Status PyPi Package Documentation Status

This is a python library for controlling and querying information from an Apple TV. It is async (python 3.4 syntax) and supports most of the commands that the regular Apple Remote app does as well as some additional iTunes commands, like changing the media position. It implements the legacy DAAP-protocol and does not support features from the new MediaRemote.framework. Support for this might be added in the future if that protocol is ever fully reverse engineered.

The MIT license is used for this library.

This is the development branch containing experimental changes. If you want a stable version, have a look at the v0.3.x tags.


  • Automatic discovery of devices (zeroconf/Bonjour)
  • Push updates
  • Remote control pairing
  • AirPlay stream URL (including tvOS 10.2+)
  • Playback controls (play, pause, next, stop, etc.)
  • Navigation controls (select, menu, top_menu, arrow keys)
  • Fetch artwork in PNG format
  • Currently playing (e.g. title, artist, album, total time, etc.)
  • Change media position
  • Shuffle and repeat


  • python>=3.5.3
  • See documentation for additional libraries

Getting started


Use pip:

$ pip install pyatv

NOTE: You need some system packages, run this on debian or similar:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev libffi-dev python-dev

Using the API

Here is a simple example using auto discovery and printing what is playing:

import asyncio
from pyatv import helpers

def print_what_is_playing(atv):
    playing = yield from atv.metadata.playing()
    print('Currently playing:')


Additional and more advanced examples can be found in examples.

Using the CLI application

It is possible to use the reference CLI application as well:

# Automatically discover device (zeroconf)
$ atvremote -a play
$ atvremote -a next

# Scanning for devices on network
$ atvremote scan
Found Apple TVs:
 - Apple TV at (hsgid: 00000000-1234-5678-9012-345678901234)

Note: You must use 'pair' with devices that have home sharing disabled

# Manually specify device
$ atvremote --address --hsgid 00000000-1234-5678-9012- 345678901234 playing
Media type: Music
Play state: Playing
  Position: 0/397s (0.0%)

# Passing multiple commands
$ atvremote -a next next play playing stop

# List all commands supported by a device
$ atvremote -a commands
Remote control commands:
 - down - Press key down
 - left - Press key left
 - menu - Press key menu
 - next - Press key next
 - pause - Press key play
 - play - Press key play
 - previous - Press key previous
 - right - Press key right
 - select - Press key select
 - set_position - Seek in the current playing media
 - set_repeat - Change repeat mode
 - set_shuffle - Change shuffle mode to on or off
 - stop - Press key stop
 - top_menu - Go to main menu (long press menu)
 - up - Press key up

Metadata commands:
 - artwork - Return artwork for what is currently playing (or None)
 - artwork_url - Return artwork URL for what is currently playing
 - device_id - Return a unique identifier for current device
 - playing - Return what is currently playing

Playing commands:
 - album - Album of the currently playing song
 - artist - Artist of the currently playing song
 - hash - Create a unique hash for what is currently playing
 - media_type - Type of media is currently playing, e.g. video, music
 - play_state - Play state, e.g. playing or paused
 - position - Position in the playing media (seconds)
 - repeat - Repeat mode
 - shuffle - If shuffle is enabled or not
 - title - Title of the current media, e.g. movie or song name
 - total_time - Total play time in seconds

AirPlay commands:
 - finish_authentication - End authentication process with PIN code
 - generate_credentials - Create new credentials for authentication
 - load_credentials - Load existing credentials
 - play_url - Play media from an URL on the device
 - start_authentication - Begin authentication proces (show PIN on screen)
 - verify_authenticated - Check if loaded credentials are verified

Device commands:
 - artwork_save - Download artwork and save it to artwork.png
 - auth - Perform AirPlay device authentication
 - push_updates - Listen for push updates

Global commands:
 - commands - Print a list with available commands
 - help - Print help text for a command
 - pair - Pair pyatv as a remote control with an Apple TV
 - scan - Scan for Apple TVs on the network

Type atvremote --help to list all supported commands.

Missing features and improvements

Most of the core functionality is now in place and API is starting to mature enough to soon be called "stable". Things on the roadmap are listed below.

Planned tasks

  • Implement MediaRemoteTV protocol
  • Investigate robustness of device scanning
  • Extend AirPlay support
    • Easy streaming of local files

Minor tasks

  • Help command to get full help text for a command (atvremote) DONE
  • Write simple smoke test for atvremote
  • Improved documentation
    • More examples Considered DONE
    • Better pydoc documentation for classes and methods
    • Manual in docs/ DONE
    • Add to DONE


Fork this project, clone it and run to setup a virtual environment and install everything needed for development:

git clone
cd pyatv
source bin/activate

You can run the tests with python test. Also, make sure that pylint, flake8 and pydoc passes before committing. This is done automatically if you run just run tox.

When using atvremote, pass --debug to get better logging.