How to connect Apple TV to a hotel Wi-Fi network

Whenever my wife and I take an extended vacation I always bring along our Apple TV.

At the end of a long day filled with adventure and fun it’s nice to just snuggle up together and watch your favorite show on Netflix or rent a new release comedy.

I’ve found that hotel television is still so primitive and annoying. The on-demand movie rentals are limited and very pricey, the regular programming is usually in standard definition, and you’re forced to channel surf without a guide. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

When I book a hotel I always make sure there is free Wi-Fi and that they say there are “flat screens” in every room, this tells me that there must be an HDMI input on it somewhere.

Ah, but my Apple TV doesn’t have a browser! So when the hotel Wi-Fi splash screen pops up asking for confirmation that I “Agree to their terms of use” or to enter some sort of special login, I can’t.

It seems we’re left with no choice but to do some friendly hacking to circumvent this annoying speed bump! 🙂

How It Works

This is a little networking 101 here, but I’ll explain it briefly in case you are really a beginner.

Every device that connects to the Internet has a unique mac address, or media access control address. It’s basically a serial number for your hardware and it tells the network who you are.

No, it has nothing to do with “Mac” computers built by Apple. If you’re still unsure what I’m talking about, please go and read this article first.

The hotel network works by validating your mac address and putting it on a whitelist so it can connect automatically in the near future.

The only problem is, you need a browser to do this, and Apple TV doesn’t come with a browser (so far).

How We’re Going to Get Around It

So here’s what we’re going to do.

First, we’re going to trick the hotel network to think that our Apple TV’s mac address is actually our computer’s mac address.

Then, we will use our computer to complete the browser authentication/checkbox/button/whatever they need so this address can be whitelisted.

Finally, we will change the mac address on our computer back to the original, and then reconnect both our computer and the Apple TV back onto the network.

Spoofing Your Mac Address

Note: These steps assume you are using OS X, sorry PC folks.

Step 1. Disconnect your laptop and Apple TV from the hotel Wi-Fi by “forgetting” the network. Do not Turn Off Wi-fi but rather just make it so you’re not connected to any network. We can’t spoof the mac address if the device is powered off!

Step 2. Open up your Terminal

Step 3. Get your current mac address using: ifconfig en1 | grep ether

Step 4. It will look something like this: 03:a1:04:d5:00:12. Save it somewhere safe, we’ll need it again later.

Step 5. Write down your Apple TV’s mac address, which you can find under Settings > General > Network > Wi-Fi Address

Step 6. Now we will spoof our computer’s mac address to be the one we just wrote down from Apple TV: sudo ifconfig en1 ether 28:cf:xx:xx:xx:xx

Step 7. Sanity check that our mac address has indeed changed: ifconfig en1 | grep ether

Step 8. Connect your computer to the Wi-Fi, open a browser window and complete whatever authentication it needs to connect.

Step 9. Disconnect your computer from the Wi-Fi.

Step 10. Repeat steps 6 & 7 to change your computer’s mac address back to the original one we saved in step 4.

Step 11. Reconnect both your computer and Apple TV to the hotel Wi-Fi.

And we’re in business!

Most networks will keep this mac address whitelisted for 24 hours or so. After it expires you’ll need to do this whole process again.

This may not be perfect for every situation, but it’s always worked for me. If it helped you, please leave me a comment!

78 Comments

Add yours →

  1. I live in an apartment complex where the internet is provided for me and I’ve run into the same problem. Should I follow the steps you listed above? Or is there additional steps needed? I am not very computer savvy so I would definitely appreciate your help!

  2. Thank you, Frankie. I just helped my friend connect at his hotel, using your instructions.

    Tyna, we got the same response. This response is because your wifi on your computer is turned off. You need the wifi to be on, but not connected to the hotel’s network. once its on, you should have no problem.

  3. Awesome post. Awesome instructions. This worked like a charm. Perfect! The kids thank you a million!

  4. What about “permission denied”?

  5. What about “invalid argument”?

  6. We are a Managed Service Provider of hotel networks. With our networks, and others for that matter, simply call the support line with your MAC address and they will manually whitelist you for the duration of your stay. Just remember that hotel wifi is shared and will be portioned out to all guests in the hotel. You experience will greatly depend on the amount of bandwidth coming to the hotel.

  7. We are at a resort and maintenance connected to the hdmi2. While I have completed the settings and am connected to network I am not getting the onscreen menu. Any ideas? Thanks!

  8. Jack McDougall

    March 2, 2015 — 3:54 pm

    can i do this with an ipad?

    • No, you can’t spoof an iPad mac address with this tutorial because:

      1. There is not a command line interface exposed for iOS (unless maybe you jailbrake it)

      2. The steps are specifically for Apple TV because there is not a browser. There IS a browser on iPad, so just open Safari and you’ll be redirected to the network’s terms and conditions page.

  9. What is OS X, and how do I know if that is what I have?

  10. Thanks for posting this. Any advice for Yosemite users? I know it’s a bit different, but I’m not sure how.

  11. Jailbroken aTV’s can use couch surfer to do this without a Mac to associate with the network and accept the toss welcome screen. For un-jailbroken aTV’s this could be nice.

  12. Sooooo… first off, i love this post. Well written, informative, simple… i think einstein would be proud. (“if you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough”ish)
    Anywho… after i do the sudo code it asks for my password (which i changed from 3 spaces to an actual word). But when i type it in, the curser doesn’t move and the characters aren’t added.
    Then when i enter it in, it just takes me back to a fresh terminal line and won’t take the sudo request anymore— HELP!

    • OH! And stupid question #2: do i put the actual IP for the Apple TV in? or do i put in 28:cf: then the last 8 digits of the IP?

    • So, I just hooked mine up even easier- with the help of the hotel tech support.
      1.Go to
      settings- general-network-Wi-Fi Address
      2. Call tech support (they’re number will be with the instructions the hotel gives you to connect to the Internet)
      3. Enjoy!

      The only bad thing is the hotels have set it up so that there is no visabitily between devices, so you cannot mirror what is on the other apple product ????

  13. I tried, but its ask for password after step 6, do i use my log in password?

  14. I have tried this and it’s not working. I have found my computer’s Mac address and the apple TV’s, but when I try to spoof it in step 6, nothing happens and the Mac address hasn’t changed. No idea what I’m doing wrong. I’ve also been asked to type my password, but when I type my admin password, it just takes me back to a new terminal line. Is this supposed to be the wifi password in the hotel? I’m very confused. Also not sure if I’m supposed to type the entire Apple TV address in step 6 or use what you’ve put 28:cf:xx:xx:xx:xx and filling in the x’s with the rest of what I have. Please help! Thanks!

    • #1 “en0” instead of “en1” worked for me on my mac
      #2 password: yes your admin password not wifi password. yes the cursor doesn’t move and the characters aren’t typed on the screen but rest assured it is taking your input, just press enter after typing. if it didn’t work try en0 instead of en1 or follow Frankie’s instructions below.
      #3 type in entire apple TV address not anything from the example address. mine starts with b0:34……
      #4 easiest way to reset your computer mac address back is just to restart it.
      #5 easiest way to disconnect from the wifi is to connect to your phone hotspot then disconnect from it but switching it off on your phone.

      Ps. Frankie you’re a genius.

  15. This doesn’t work for me. Reassigning the MAC address on my laptop seems to fail silently. I am on Yosemite.

    Here’s what happens:
    $ sudo ifconfig en1 ether [AppleTV MAC]
    $ ifconfig en1 | grep ether
    ether [Laptop MAC]

    • Open up the menu: Apple > About This Mac > System Report > Network

      Then look at the BSD Device Names column, you will hopefully find en0 and en1 listed here for AirPort and Ethernet, respectively.

      1. Make sure to use the correct BSD device name in the commands from this tutorial that correspond with the way you are connecting.

      2. Also it’s very important that if you’re wanting to connect with Wi-Fi do not power it off, rather you must only disconnect it from the network.

      If the Wi-fi device is powered off you won’t be able to spoof the Mac 🙂

  16. Worked like charm. Thanks dude

  17. Tried doing this with the Xbox One and my apartment wifi. Not getting any luck, any suggestions?

  18. Thx a lot! Work immediately!

  19. Hey everything worked for me except when I tried to log back into the wifi once I spoof the Apple TV address. The wifi keeps saying “connection timeout” and am unable to login. But this doesn’t happen when I go back to my original MAC address. Any suggestions?

  20. Also thanks in advance, this is a great thing you discovered. And I hope to be able to figure this out.

  21. Have you happen to try this with the new 4th gen? I can’t get to the settings/general before setup like on the earlier models

  22. Just done it on ATV 4th generation. Works fine. But note that the “en1” in “ifconfig en1 | grep ether” was actually a “en0” on my MacBook Pro.

  23. HI, I am a bit confused on this. I am clearly very much a beginner. What do you mean by open the Terminal? Where do you type the IP address in? Sorry if these are stupid questions?

    • Just type in “terminal” in the “spotlight search” in the upper right corner of your mac. You’ll receive a prompt.

  24. I had the same issue as ALitron above: “Hey everything worked for me except when I tried to log back into the wifi once I spoof the Apple TV address. The wifi keeps saying “connection timeout” and am unable to login. But this doesn’t happen when I go back to my original MAC address. Any suggestions?”

    Its almost like the system knew 2 MAC addresses came in at the same time and blocked it bc as soon as I switch back to my laptop MAC it starts working again right away. Is that possible? Im doing it on Xfinity Hotspot.

    • Sam did you make sure to turn off WiFi on your Apple TV first, then spoof your laptop address? Once you have spoofed the laptop and made the connection, switch the laptop hardware address back to the original and THEN turn WiFi back on for the Apple TV.

    • Hey did you ever get this figured out? I did something that worked the next day after I posted this. Now the xfinity has stopped recognizing my Apple TV and I need to do it all again and can’t remember what I did differently! Ha!

      • Ok a note for my future self and anyone else dealing with this specific problem. I forgot to forget the wifi on my appletv in addition to on my computer. Again thanks for making this thread!

  25. Does this work with PCs? My apartment does something similar to this and I am desperate! How do I find my PC address?

  26. Hi, well I encountered the dame problem on the in1/in0 thing, finally worked out. Now I spoofed my macbook and when it connects to the wifi the confirmation page does not come again so I can’t get online… Read all the comments and that one does not happen to anybody. BTW I’m using el Capitan

  27. With MacBook Air running Yosemite 10.10.5 en1 didn’t work but switched to en0 and it worked perfectly!

  28. This is absolutely genius. Works like a charm with xfinitywifi hotspots too. Hopefully the whitelisting will be longer than 24 hours!

  29. Thanks for the post, great instructions.

    For me it was “en0” and the mac address can be found on the Advanced tab of the network settings as well as through terminal…but since you have to go there anyway….

  30. Thank you for your friendly hacking tip!! I used it (and the assistance of changing 1 to 0 in one of the comments) to get my Amazon fire on to a hotspot. 🙂

  31. So after step 9 , I turned off internet then repeated the steps, that’s when it says device power off. And if I turn the wifi back on it messes up my Apple TV Internet. How do I deal with that? Thanks

  32. Luckytostumbleonthispage

    June 9, 2016 — 8:05 pm

    Worked like a charm! -6/9/2016

  33. Worked like a charm! I only wish to think of Google this question instead of calling IT support phone numbers and Apple support where so much time and energy has been wasted. Thanks for guys like you, real solution can be found when we take control of the situation based on straight forward help like this. Thanks again! You have saved me from the Idiot-Box programing (TV)

  34. Currently staying at Intercontinental Sydney, Australia where internet is hosted by iBahn. Worked perfectly, the wife is stoked she has access to my Plex server with the Apple TV plugged in to their TV 🙂

  35. Bam, worked straight off, except mine was en0 on the MacBook Pro retina. Thanks buddy!

  36. Worked perfectly to let me connect my Apple TV to xfinity hotspot while waiting for my internet to be set up in my new apartment. Thanks!

  37. I’m still getting invalid argument.
    Sorry to bump the thread, but if you could be of any help, it’d be fantasic.
    I’ve tried the process multiple times, and I’ve read through all the comments.
    FWIW, I’m on OS X Sierra, I doubt that would change anything but it could. And 4th Gen Apple TV.

  38. I have used your instructions before and they work like a charm! However, this apartment building that I just moved into appears to reset their whitelist every 24-hours. It’s super frustrating because my phone won’t even automatically connect when I come home and I’ll forget to manually connect it for hours and now my Apple TV isn’t working again after 24 hours. 😭😭😭 Any advice other than me going through this whole process every day?
    Thank you.

  39. Having the same problem, getting invalid argument using en0 and with en1 it says does not exist. Using El Capitan on a new macbook 12 inch…

  40. Worked perfectly at holiday inn express hotels! Thank you for the tutorial!

  41. I’m getting asked for my password and I am unable to enter my password and when I press enter it says that it is invalid! I would love to get this working!!! Great article!

  42. New to this “Hacking” thing. Don’t know what the heck to do after step 5! Please help! Thanks.

  43. Hello!
    Thank a lot for such a great hack, for me it worked fine at the beginning, but after some time my Mac lost connection to Apple TV and now I cannot stream from my apple devices to Apple TV, though I still can watch e.g. youtube or netflix online from apple TV applications.
    Can you give me any suggestions?
    so, it looks like my mac address is on the whitelist of provider (as I can access the internet from apple tv), but my apple devices do not see apple TV, even though they are all connected to one and the same wifi network .( please help

  44. Worked like a charm.
    FYI MAC address can also be found under the Apple Icon (upper left corner of you desktop menu) About this Mac.

  45. You’re a genius. When I did the sanity check I was still getting my MacBook Pro’s current MAC address (El Capitan), but it worked regardless. Thanks!!

  46. This was the response i got.

    We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System
    Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:

    #1) Respect the privacy of others.
    #2) Think before you type.
    #3) With great power comes great responsibility.

    Password:

  47. kelley klassen

    May 14, 2017 — 9:11 am

    thanks for this. you’re a rockstar!

  48. I got it to work!! I am no techy or coding person… Like most I had an issue with the password request. As soon as the prompt comes up enter your password of your mac computer then hit enter.. Note: You won’t see your typed password at all.. Just after you enter it hit enter. Hope this helps..

    After that go onto your appletv forget the xfinity network then turn off your xfinity connection on your mac. Go back to your appletv and reconnect it to xfinity, it should work after that!!

  49. HI
    Thanks for this info. However I get an error on step 10 when I try to save back the IP address and the wi-fi is off the terminal says..

    Macs-iMac-2:~ Nick$ sudo ifconfig en1 ether 28:f0:76:4d:cd:0a
    ifconfig: ioctl (SIOCAIFADDR): Device power is off

    Don’t know what to do?

    Problem I have is that in this hotel room I have to type in both the room no and a password – maybe this not work here?

  50. Man, thanks a lot! I just did the same steps with a Chromecast and worked fine!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: