HOW TO: Run Apple’s Gorgeous Aerial Screensavers on Linux



I showed you how to run Apple TV’s gorgeous aerial screensavers on your Mac and Windows machine. Now it’s time to make them run on a Linux machine thanks to xscreensaver-aerial.


  • The day movies will play between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM while the night movies will play thereafter.
  • No movie should repeat until all of the respective movies have cycled through once. After that, the queue will reset and continue playing in a random fashion.
  • No excessive HDD usage. When the display is told to sleep by xscreensaver, whatever video is currently playing will finish and another will NOT get called until the display is active again.



  • coreutils
  • mpv
  • wget
  • xscreensaver



1. Install the dependencies if missing

2. Now you have multiple options, depending on the distro that you’re running and if you want 2K or 4K videos.

If you’re on Arch or Arch-based distro, you can install xscreensaver-aerial from AUR, which will install everything you need.


If you’re running other distros…. open up a terminal window, run git clone and change the working directory with cd xscreensaver-aerial


Now, you can choose to install the 2K videos or 4K videos. From the clonned repo…

  • For 2K videos you will need to copy to /usr/lib/xscreensaver/atv4-2k and make it executable by running: sudo cp /usr/lib/xscreensaver/atv4-2k && chmod +x /usr/lib/xscreensaver/atv4-2k
  • For 4K videos you will need to copy to /usr/lib/xscreensaver/atv4-4k and make it executable by running:sudo cp /usr/lib/xscreensaver/atv4-4k && chmod +x /usr/lib/xscreensaver/atv4-4k
  • If you want both 2K and 4K videos, just run both commands


4. Run xscreensaver and exit to create a hidden .xscreensaver file in your home directory.

5. Now using your favorite text editor you will need to edit .xscreensaver and, at the end of the screen saver list, add "ATV4-2k" atv4-2k \n\ for 2K videos or "ATV4-4k" atv4-4k \n\ for 4K videos


6. Done. Maybe, continue reading…




Every single time the screensaver is running, you will connect to Apple’s servers and download the video. To fix this, you can download the videos locally.

NOTE: 2K videos require approx 16.3 GB of space while 4K videos will require approx. 32 GB of space

If you’re running Arch or an Arch based distro, you can easily download the videos by install aerial-2k-videos or aerial-4k-videos from the AUR.


If you’re running other distros:

1. Open terminal and run sudo mkdir -s /opt/ATV4/

2. Change directory to /opt/ATV4/ with cd /opt/ATV4/

3. Create a new file called with sudo touch

4. Now edit the file. For 2K videos you can use this script:

# run this from /opt/ATV4/ which you created and assigned 755 premissions manually



wget --no-clobber \

for i in "${twok[@]}"; do
	  wget --no-clobber"$i"



For 4K videos, you can use this script:


# run this from /opt/ATV4/ which you created and assigned 755 premissions manually

for i in "${fourk[@]}"; do
	  wget --no-clobber"$i"


5. Now save the script, make it executable with sudo chmod +x /opt/ATV4/ and then run it with sudo /opt/ATV4/ The script will begind downloading the videos files which will take a while depending on your bandwith.



Once everything is set in place, you will need to configure xscreensaver to run just the Aerial screensaver.

1. Run xscreensaver-demo. When/if prompted, launch the daemon

2. Change the Mode to Only One Screen Saver and then select the ATV4-2k or ATV4-4k. Set your Blank After and Cycle After settings.


3. Now you can either preview the screensaver to make sure it’s working or close the configuration window.

4. Add xscreensaver to startup applications. To do that, cd to /etc/xdg/autostart/, create a file called aerial.desktop ( or whatver you want to name it ). The file should contain:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=xscreensaver -nosplash

5. Enjoy!


Fore more info and troubleshooting check out the official project page on GitHub.