I was using my , which is running macOS Sierra 10.12.1 (build 16B2555), normally until this notification appeared:

AirDrop: Item from Apple TV

Out of curiosity, I accepted the AirDrop and an archive started downloading.

AirDrop: Receiving item from Apple TV

The item finally downloaded, and I discovered it was an archive! To be exact, it was a .tar.gz file that I unzipped with .

Files: zipped and unzipped

There are only 2 Apple TVs that could've sent me this file. Both are signed into the same iCloud account, but haven't been touched when the AirDrop request appeared. In fact, neither had been connected to the new Internet router we had installed earlier. I looked in the crash file and it mentioned TestFlight and other tvOS apps, meaning it's the 4th generation Apple TV.

A few hours later, I continued working until I got the notification again. I downloaded another error log and decided to look at it. Here is my error_log.txt:

[1;31mERROR:[0m Tracing is off - cannot save trace data to tailspin file
Sampling all processes for 2 seconds with 250 milliseconds of run time between samples
Sampling completed, generating report...
2017-03-06 02:55:36.471549-0500 spindump[2104:310691] Failed to find matching kernel in /System/Library/Kernels, /
Failed to find matching kernel in /System/Library/Kernels, /
Spindump analysis written to file /var/mobile/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/DiagnosticLogs/sysdiagnose/sysdiagnose_2017.03.06_02-55-34-0500/spindump-nosymbols.txt
2017-03-06 02:55:42.956842-0500 spindump[2112:310854] Failed to find matching kernel in /System/Library/Kernels, /
Failed to find matching kernel in /System/Library/Kernels, /

What happened? Did the fourth-generation Apple TV crash, or was is something else?

  • 1
    Bizarre! Normally you'd have to press and hold PLAYPAUSE and VOL- for 6 seconds to generate the sysdiagnose file on an Apple TV, and then you'd have to connect it via USB to a Mac with iTunes running to grab the file. Is your Apple TV jailbroken by any chance? I'm almost tempted to say someone's played a prank on you (e.g. someone has named their iPhone 'Apple TV' and then airdropped the file to you). Hope someone here can shed some light on this. You've got me curious! – Monomeeth Mar 10 '17 at 6:31
  • @Monomeeth No, I don't use any jailbreaking. – haykam Mar 10 '17 at 11:37

The Apple TV supports creating sysdiagnose bundles and sending them over AirDrop. Apple staff recommend this regularly on the Apple Developer Forums.

To capture a sysdiagnose, hold down the Play/Pause and - buttons on the Apple TV Remote for six seconds, until you see a dialog confirmation on-screen. From there, follow the instructions to AirDrop the sysdiagnose off the device.

Beta 7 crashes on HDMI hotplug - Apple Developer Forums

It's possible something's accidentally held down the buttons on the Apple TV remote (since they are next to each other) which has caused this action.

AirDrop must be a fairly new feature for the sysdiagnose functionality since the guide for creating a sysdiagnose from an Apple TV on the Apple Developer site still says a USB-A to USB-C cable and iTunes are required: Apple TV sysdiagnose Logging Instructions (link behind developer login).


  • I just tried holding both down for lots of seconds and clicked. I clicked again because you talked about a prompt. I also did it again and instead scrolled down and clicked. In the end, I couldn't recreate this. – haykam Mar 10 '17 at 11:39
  • Thanks grgarside for clarifying this, and for sharing the link to the forum discussion. :) I also checked the sysdiagnose Logging Instructions prior to posting my comment, and didn't find any mention of AirDrop either. At least the behaviour itself is not bizarre, all the OP needs now is to identify how it was triggered in their case. – Monomeeth Mar 10 '17 at 11:53
  • I figured out how I accidentally triggered this. I had accidentally hit those two buttons and the notification for running analytics appeared. After a minute or so, a notification popped up in Settings that asked to AirDrop the file; the MacBook was the first result that was available to AirDrop. When I tested, I used my phone and it AirDropped there when I pressed the entry for the phone. – haykam Mar 12 '17 at 14:59

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