How to get Zwift with the shadows on any Apple TV

G’day fellow Zwifters,

If you are hoping to get the shadows using the Zwift app on Apple TV this is not what this post is about. This is about running Zwift on a desktop Mac in one part of the house and mirroring the display of the Mac on your Apple TV in a different part of the house. This works brilliantly. And it will work on any Apple TV not just the recent ones that will run apps.

I bought an Apple TV 4K to run the Zwift app on. I also bought myself a cheap television to use with the Apple TV and these were dedicated to my indoor trainer setup. This set up works really well as is but I wanted the shadows that I could see on Zwift when I ran it on my 2017 iMac. 

Maybe this was obvious to other people but it was a lightbulb moment for me. Why don’t I just run Zwift on my iMac and mirror the display on my Apple TV.

The initial problem I faced was how to pair my Bushido Smart trainer and heart rate monitor with my iMac seeing that I was running Zwift on an iMac at the other end of the house. Easy! Use the Zwift mobile link app running on my iPhone. Normally I pair those devices using bluetooth directly to my Apple TV. Pairing using ML was easy and without issue. If you use ANT+ I don’t know how you would do this. I haven’t investigated this because I don’t need to. 

What you need:

  • a Mac that can run Zwift in all it’s glory.

  • an Apple TV - any one will do but you will only get the maximum resolution that the particular Apple TV will provide. But you still get the shadows. A real bonus is that if you are using an Apple TV 4K you will actually see Zwift in 4K (as long as your Mac can generate this). You don’t actually get 4K running the Zwift app locally on the Apple TV 4K.

  • a television to connect to your Apple TV. Only with a 4K tv and an Apple TV 4K will you get 4K display. But you still get the shadows no matter what combination you use.

  • an iPhone running Zwift Mobile Link. I suppose this would work with an Android Phone, but haven’t tested it because I don’t need to.

  • a smart trainer that can pair using Bluetooth. (an ANT+ dongle on a smart phone might work if you don’t have Bluetooth. But I haven’t tested it because I don’t need to)

  • The Mac, the Apple TV, and the iPhone must be on the same network.

 This is how you do it:

  • I feel like I’m stating the bleeding obvious here, but your trainer is set up in front of your Apple TV and television, your iPhone is there too, your powerful Mac is in a different part of the house.

  • turn everything on.

  • launch Zwift on your Mac and log in (do not launch the Zwift app on the Apple TV you won’t be using it).

- launch mobile link on your iPhone (the iPhone needs to be within bluetooth pairing distance of your trainer)

  • mirror your Mac to the Apple TV using AirPlay - if you don’t know how to do this, Google it.

  • maximise the Zwift app on the Mac so that it uses the full screen.

  • choose to pair using ML on Zwift (on your Mac) 

  • pair your devices (this might involve a little walking back and forth between your Mac and your trainer - I have to pedal my trainer before it will pair).

  • once paired choose your ride on Zwift (on your Mac) and start.

  • get to your trainer and ride away amongst the shadows and glory of the worlds of Zwift. (if you are trying to join a friend you might have to do a bit of a duathlon and run to your trainer as fast as you can and start riding before they disappear into the shadows)

I have no idea how you might do this using Windows (I don’t actually care because I don’t need to).

I hope this is useful to at least some of you.

Nice solution E ddy, thanks for the post.  :slight_smile:

I tried this last night and there is a noticeable drop in the frame rate.