home sharing icon

I don’t know if this applies to everyone, but I rarely ever go right to sleep after crawling into bed. I usually spend a good few hours on my iPhone, until I literally cannot keep my eyes open any longer. In that time, I like to catch up on YouTube videos from users that I am subscribed to, or challenge myself to watch an entire movie without falling asleep. Netflix is a great option for streaming movies on an iPhone, but the selection is not the greatest in Canada and sometimes I have to seek alternative methods to catch up on the latest films. Enters iTunes.

iTunes has faced its fair share of criticism over the years for being rather cluttered and cumbersome, but the media player has a useful option called Home Sharing that our own Jeff Benjamin briefly covered in his ultimate iOS music app guide. Home Sharing allows you to stream or transfer music, movies, TV shows, apps and more over Wi-Fi between up to five authorized devices in a household. If you like watching movies on your iPhone like me, it is a convenient feature. Read ahead for step-by-step instructions on how to stream movies on iPhone from iTunes… 

How to watch iTunes movies on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV

Step 1: Launch iTunes on your Mac and click on File > Home Sharing > Turn On Home Sharing in iTunes.

Step 2: Enter your Apple ID  and password, then click the Turn On Home Sharing button.

pple id for home sharing

Step 3: A confirmation message will be shown. Click on the Done button.

home sharing On iTunes

Step 4: On your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, navigate to Settings > TV > iTunes Videos. Sign into your Apple ID.

Step 5: Navigate to the Videos app and tap on Shared at the bottom right.

HS 5

Step 6: Tap on your iTunes library from the list of shared items. Then tap Done.


Step 7: Under the Movies tab, your movies from iTunes will be available to watch.

HS 3

If you followed the step-by-step instructions properly, you should now be able to play movies from your iTunes library directly on your iPhone. If you are using an iPad or iPod touch, you can follow the same steps to enable Home Sharing. For more information about Home Sharing, I suggest looking at the official Apple documentation for Understanding Home Sharing, Setting Up Home Sharing on an iOS Device and Troubleshooting Home Sharing.

  • Scott Forstall

    Will any movie format work ?! I mean , will rmvb or Mkv work ?

    • It has to be a file format that iTunes would normally support. That includes MP4 and a few others. Which kind of sucks. I normally recommend VLC, but this article is for anyone wondering how to enable Home Sharing.

    • Kurt

      If you can spare a few bucks, Plex is really worth it. It’s on so many devices too. When you go into a tv show’s list of seasons so you can pick an episode it begins to play the theme song. A nice touch!

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        I second this. I use Plex and love it. It basically supports any and every video format out of the box, has plugins and allows for content to be streamed locally or remotely with or without transcoding. If your jailbroken XBMC is also well worth having as part of your media arsenal and can play any video format and has shedloads of add ons for things like YouTube, Movies, Sports, etc…

      • blastingbigairs

        Plex is amazing!!!! I also use Plex to stream all the movies on my Mac through my Sony Bluray player to my TV. The best part, it’s all free!!!

      • Kurt

        Never tried XBMC but I hear good things about it all the time. I have my PC connected to my tv so I have lots of great options!

      • Donovan

        XBMC is great, I recommend it. But it also can be seen as “pirating” because you can see movies you haven’t payed for. But it depends on your view of pirating.

      • Kurt

        I think ill have to look into it. Thanks for the info~

    • Steve Zou

      That’s really why you are banished out of Apple

    • DogeCoin

      For weird formats I download the video, and then put it in the VLC app, works great for weird formats.

    • Donovan

      iTunes automaticly converts the movies. Atleast, I had some originally .mkv movies synced into my iPhone that could be viewed, in both iTunes and on the phone. So I assume iTunes converts them.

  • Jiří Málek

    I’ve been using home sharing for almost a year now and on Windows, I had so much troubles lately. I finally was able to make hackintosh to work (didn’t want to spend money for MacBook until I was sure I’m ok with Mac OS X) and it works flawlessly now. On Windows I was having troubles with streaming 720p TV shows wirelessly to my iOS devices. I’ve got powerfull router, iOS devices connected via 5GHz WiFi (the only one 5GHz in my neightbourhood) and it kept stopping. I spend several nights narrowing the cause of this but didn’t success. Now I enjoy both Mac OS X (which is great BTW) and seemless wireless streaming.

  • jack

    Been using that to stream downloaded movies to my kid’s TV through ATV from my iTunes library wirelessly… Always worked great

  • Steve Zou

    Unfortunately, streaming podcasts videos are not yet supported.

  • cordell

    Does it only work if you computer is on ?

  • James Gunaca

    They need to add the ability to do this remotely. A la iTunes Match.

    • James Gunaca

      But not restricted to content purchased on iTunes.

  • babiloe

    For mkv to mp4 or m4v movie, please use subler for mac or mkvtomp4 for PC for just a minute. No need re-encoding for x264 movies with AAC audio or x263 Divx with MP3 audio. Even you can attach the subtitles and the cover just like original iTunes movie. Guess what? Even iphone 3GS can play 1080p movie smoothly using original video player

  • Nancy

    Will this work with my iPad as well as iPhone?? I am new here and not very good at this but streaming sounds awesome!! I also have a smart tv which is smarter than myself lol but does this come into play as well as my computer? Like I said Am new and don’t know anything yet as far as streaming… 🙂

  • Komrad

    It works for home usage, but it isn’t Internet-accessible. If you want your home video collection to be accessible wherever you are at and transcoded on the fly for the device you are using, I find Plex Media Server(PMS) to be a great solution. You do need to set up a server that does the transcoding for you, but other than that the server software, client software, and Plex account are all free.

  • Chris BSomething

    yeah great, but since there is no search facility, how do you find the movie you want out of 10,000 movies? Thanks for nothing Apple.

  • Kendra

    Thanks for the article Joe. Netflix app, or Hulu, or BBC is great on iPad. If live outside USA, you can use tools like UnoTelly to get Netflix app, or Hulu, or BBC on your iPad.

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  • Adel Mandani

    Thank you

  • Trisha Garcia

    Thank you so much! This was the only thing that worked!

  • woo37830

    I have MP4 on server and in appletv it says it is wrong format. I can stream it to my iPhone okay, but even if I try to mirror to appletv it fails. IOS 10.1 on appletv 3 from sierra server