Take control of Apple TV’s Aerial screen savers

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Apple TV aerial screen saver
Apple TV can tell you just what you’re looking at.
Photo: Apple

If I was still a stoner student, and I liked to “smoke out” and stare at something other than wildlife documentaries for hours on end, I’d be letting my baked brain cruise the world using the Apple TV’s Aerial screen savers. Or perhaps not. As a mind-expanding student, I probably would’ve spent all my cash on munchies, and not have anything left for the comparatively expensive Apple TV.

The Apple TV’s Aerials are great. But did you know that you don’t have to just sit back, spark up and stare? You actually have some control over them, unlike a weed-smoker’s control over their appetite.

Apple TV screen savers

I think the owner of this tower has something to prove.
I think the owner of this tower has something to prove.
Photo: Apple

The Aerial screen saver, which I’ll just call Aerial or Aerials, takes you on a virtual tour of the planet, gliding over the Earth as if you were watching from spaaaaaaace. But what if you want to switch locations (switch the part of the Earth you’re looking at, obviously — not switch planets). Or if you’re looking down at a spot you’re sure you recognize, but you can’t quite remember its name?

In both cases, there’s something to be done.

Make Apple TV tell you the location of an Aerial

This one is easy. When you want to know whether those are really fjords, or just the Northwest Passage, just tap the touchpad on your Apple TV remote. The location’s name will appear on the screen. If you’re currently viewing a city flyover, that city’s name will be displayed.

Switch to another location

You can’t choose locations, but you can hop to another spot on the globe any time you like by swiping left or right on the remote’s touchpad. If music is playing, then you have to just tap on either side of the touchpad instead, with the same result.

How to start the Aerial screen saver on Apple TV

You can wait for the Aerial screen saver to begin by itself. Or you can go to the top left corner of the Apple TV home screen, and use the Menu button to start it manually.

You can also choose how long the Apple TV waits before beginning its screensavers in Settings > General > Screen Saver. Choose Start After, and pick how long you want to wait before the Aerials kick in.

Apple TV Aerial View on your iPad?

This one’s wild. If you head to a web page hosted by Benjamin Mayo, you can pick from any of Apple’s Aerial screen savers, streamed directly, says Mayo, from Apple’s own servers. Visit the page from your iPad or iPhone, and you can easily watch any of the videos full-screen.

Alternatives?

If I could choose any screensaver for the Apple TV, though, I probably wouldn’t pick the Aerial screen saver. I’d pick the best screensaver ever, which I recently saw in a local Schnitzel restaurant, showing on a giant TV. It’s a video of a cat sleeping by the fire, and it’s possibly the most comforting thing I’ve ever seen.