Use Apple TV on Hotel Wifi

A problem I ran into while on holiday recently was that I had brought my Apple TV along to allow me to watch some Netflix on the TV provided in the room. I’m not mad on watching TV on the Macbook and it can get fairly hot too, particularly if sat on the bed where it can’t ventilate properly. So Apple TV seemed the logical company to the trip for when I wanted to chill and watch some TV.

The problem I encountered was that Apple TV doesn’t have a browser concept, this means on hotel wifi that required a login or something similar, you cannot complete the login process, thus making your Apple TV not be on the network. This will mean two things

  • You can’t mirror your screen and stream that way
  • The apps will not display so you can’t choose to watch Netflix or something similar.

So how can we fix it? Well most Wifi’s with a login take your machines Mac Address and whitelist it for use on the wifi. Fortunately for us, spoofing a Mac Address is quite simple.

First, you want to take note of your existing Mac Address, you will want it to revert your machine back to its normal mac address.

ifconfig en0 | grep ether

This will return the Mac Address of your machine

ether XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX

Take note, this is important. Now we go to our Apple TV settings

Settings -> General -> Wifi

And under Wifi Address you will see your Apple TV’s Mac Address. Write it down. YY:YY:YY:YY:YY:YY. Next step is to ensure you’ve logged out of the existing wifi logins you may have. So on your Macbook

Settings -> Network -> Advanced Settings -> Forget “Hotel Wifi Name”

This will allow us to re-login after the mac address change. Next step is to change our Macbook mac address to the mac address of the Apple TV

sudo ifconfig en0 ether YY:YY:YY:YY:YY:YY

Verify the change has infact taken place

ifconfig en0 | grep ether

-> ether YY:YY:YY:YY:YY:YY

ether should return as the YY (apple tv macbook address) instead of the laptop address. Now that we are pretending to be our Apple TV, sign into the hotel wifi on your laptop. Complete whatever login and approval that is needed and get the wifi working on the laptop. Once complete and you can load some websites, your Apple TV is set as whitelisted and ready to go.

Sign out of the wifi on your laptop (you can’t have the same mac address signing in twice), so as before

Settings -> Network -> Advanced Settings -> Forget “Hotel Wifi Name”

Then go to Apple TV and sign into the Hotel Wifi. This should be successful and you should note your apps load as normal instead of only seeing “Computers” and “Settings” as your only options.

Now revert your laptop to its old mac address

sudo ifconfig en0 ether XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX

and ensure it returns validly.

ifconfig en0 | grep ether

-> ether XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX

You have successfully spoofed your Apple TV machine, signed into the wifi and enabled your Apple TV to connect without having access to a browser.

Apple TV can’t connect to Apple Store

One small hiccup I found after completing this was that Apple TV was complaining about not being able to connect to Apple Store. That’s kind of necessary to function normally with Apple TV. Fortunately it’s super easily fixable, at least it was for me.

  1. Grab your Apple TV remote
  2. Hold DOWN and MENU down together at the same time for 6 seconds
  3. Apple TV’s white light will flash, release the buttons
  4. Apple TV will restart, and it should connect normally.

Whoila, functioning Netflix on Hotel Wifi with login.

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