12 Common Apple TV Problems and How to Fix Them
The Apple TV is a great way to stream movies, watch TV, and play games — when it is working. After a while, you may end up with WiFi problems, slow performance, or other issues that can stop you from using your Apple TV. This guide will show you how to fix common Apple TV problems so you can get back to your entertainment, or back to controlling your smart home.
Sometimes the Apple TV is sluggish, apps don’t work or WiFi is slow after installing an update. Other times these problems seem to materialize out of thin air.
If you are experiencing similar, issues you can try some of these fixes, but you may need to wait for Apple to issue another fix. We routinely see updates to the Apple TV software arrive
Even with a proper setup, you may quickly run into Apple TV problems that could be related to your home WiFi, your home theater setup, or simply movies not streaming. We’re also seeing some apps not working on older Apple TV models, and we have a workaround and an upgrade suggestion.
Here are the most common Apple TV problems and how to fix them so you can play apps, stream movies or mirror your iPhone or MacBook to your TV without calling Apple.
How to Fix Apple TV Problems Fast
If your Apple TV is acting up the first thing to try is restarting it. This can solve slow performance and some other odd issues. It’s fast and can fix many issues.
- On the remote press and hold Menu and Home until the light on the front of the Apple TV blinks fast.
- Go to Settings -> System -> Restart
- Unplug the power cord for 15 seconds.
You can use any of the methods above to fix Apple TV problems fast. You only need to do one of these.
How to Fix Apple TV App Stuck on Gray or Frozen
Is your Apple TV going to a gray Apple TV app home screen or is the TV app frozen? You can fix this by force closing the app.
- Double tap the home button.
- Select the app.
- Swipe Up.
Repeat as needed to close other apps. We have to do this almost daily on the Apple TV for this app and to fix frozen or laggy Hulu and Netflix apps.
How to Fix Apple TV WiFi Problems
Apple TV WiFi problems are one of the most common issues that you will experience. This could easily be related to your home WiFi network or it could be that your Apple TV is too far away.
Common Apple TV WiFi problems include;
- Can’t find WiFi network
- Unable to join WiFi network
- Can’t access the Internet on Apple TV
- Frequent disconnects and buffering.
To fix these problems, first, navigate to Settings > Network and see if an IP address is showing up.
If there is no IP address you need to turn your router off for a minute and to restart your Apple TV.
To restart your Apple TV, navigate to Settings > System > Restart. To power cycle your router, unplug it from power, wait 60 seconds, and then plug it back in.
In cases where your Apple TV connects to WiFi, but it is not staying connected or constantly waiting to download more of a show you may have a poor signal. You may need to move the Apple TV out of a cabinet or move your router closer. You may also need to look for a whole home WiFi system.
How to Fix Apple TV AirPlay Problems
AirPlay lets you stream your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook screen to your TV. It’s an awesome way to use the TV as a display when it works. This is a useful tool, but one that can cause many problems.
The first thing to do if you cannot use AirPlay is to make sure your iPhone and Apple TV are on the same network. If you connect to a different one by accident or your iPhone is on cellular it will not work. Go to Settings and see if your home WiFi network shows up on both of your devices.
Another issue is that you may not see the AirPlay logo in the video app you want to stream. If that is the case, the app may not support AirPlay. This is common in some sports apps and in some TV apps where the company doesn’t allow you to watch on a larger screen.
If that’s not the case check your Apple TV settings. You can also check to see if AirPlay is enabled on your Apple TV by heading to Settings > AirPlay and make sure that the feature is turned on.
In cases where AirPlay stutters or lags, it could be that your iPhone is too far from the Apple TV or that the lag is related to streaming instead of to AirPlay.
How to Fix Apple TV Video Problems
If you cannot stream content from apps or there are other video problems you aren’t alone. Occasionally there will be video without audio or audio without the video showing.
Before you take any drastic options, restart the stream. This may fix the issue in just a few seconds. If that doesn’t work, make sure the HDMI cable is connected on both ends and if possible try a different HDMI cable.
You can also check the Apple TV resolution. To change the resolution that your Apple TV displays, navigate to Settings > Audio and Video > Resolution.
Most users will see it set to Auto. This works in most cases, but you can also change it to the resolution your TV supports.
How to Fix Apple TV Audio Problems
When it comes to Apple TV audio problems there is an easy solution to start with. Just as with video issues, restart the stream before you do anything else.
Double-check your connections to the Apple TV and your TV. This could be HDMI or it could be an optical cable. Make sure these are all connected, including connections to an audio receiver or soundbar. You may want to switch inputs to see if your Apple TV audio comes back. Of course, you should also check that your volume is turned up and the TV is not muted.
How to Fix Apple TV Remote Problems
The Apple TV remote is certainly a key part of using the Apple TV. When you have remote problems, you may not be able to use the Apple TV. Before you have any issues, it’s a good idea to set up the iPhone Remote App to control your Apple TV.
One Apple TV remote problem is that it is no longer paired. Make sure the remote is charged for 30 minutes. Then put your remote within 3-inches of the Apple TV and hold the volume up and menu button for five seconds to pair. Once this is done, unplug the Apple TV from power for seconds. Plug it back in and then try your remote again.
If the Apple TV remote touch area is too sensitive, you can dial it down. Go to Settings -> Remotes and Devices -> Touch Surface Tracking -> Pick a slower speed.
Here are other minor Apple TV remote problems that you can check out.
How to Fix HBO Apple TV Problems
Did you come back to HBO Now or HBO Go on your Apple TV and discover that it no longer works?
If you own an Apple TV 2nd gen or 3rd gen model, HBO removed support. There is no getting it back.
For Apple TV second gen owners, you need to buy a new device. For Apple TV 3rd gen owners you can cancel your app subscription and subscribe through Apple TV channels.
Keep in mind that the Apple TV 3rd gen and 2nd gen will continue to see support removed as they age. It may be time to buy an Apple TV 4K.
How to Fix Receiver Rebooting When Using Apple TV
If your receiver keeps rebooting when you are using the Apple TV, mostly hen watching YouTube, you can fix this on your own.
Go to Settings -> Audio & Video -> Audio -> Auto to Dolby.
This can fix the reboot issues. You can also check to see if your receiver has any available updates that might solve this problem by connecting it to WiFi.
How to Fix Apple TV Light Blinking Rapidly
When the Apple TV light flashes quickly there is something wrong with the Apple TV hardware.
When the light flashes for more than three minutes you will need to restore your Apple TV. Here are directions on how to restore the Apple TV.
Before you do that, you may want to try unplugging the Apple TV for one minute. This can allow some issues to reset and let you get back to watching without a full reset.
How to Fix Black Bars and Screen Issues
If you see black bars around your Apple TV picture on your TV, you may need to adjust the settings on your TV. Most of the time this happens when your TV is not set to 16 x 9 aspect ration.
You will need to check your TV settings and look for an option to adjust the picture size or aspect. Switch to 16 x 9 and you will be good.
How to Fix Apple TV Out of Space Error
While you will stream most of your content to the Apple TV, you can run out of space if you install too many apps, or if it is caching a lot of movies or shows.
The best thing to do is to clear out apps that you aren’t using anymore. Go to Settings -> General -> Manage Storage. Find an app that you don’t use anymore and delete it. You can always re-download from the app store later without paying for it again.
Griffin Survivor Play
The Griffin Survivor Play is a protective sleeve for the Apple TV remote that can save it from potential damage.
The Survivor Play is geared toward Apple TV gamers that will likely use the remote as a game controller, providing maximum grip so that the remote doesn't fall out of your hands, especially when you're playing a game that requires you to fling around the remote to activate the motion sensors inside.
The protective sleeve is made out of silicone and has extra-thick grips on the back to make it easier to hold. It's priced at $19.99 and is available now.
Last update on 2023-03-25. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
11/20/2014 at 3:05 pm
You forgot the most common problem: the little light on the apple tv is off.
Solution: move your apple tv close to a power point and plug it in, using the cord.
Is this article serious???
03/31/2015 at 11:02 am
01/03/2015 at 2:11 am
i could receive ice films and much movies app but now i cant open these, this is really the only one two i use. usless without them for me. can i get help to get these back. i have unabled and abled them again.tried all the fix problems on the apple that tells me to do. please help
01/10/2015 at 5:05 pm
I am returning my apple tv. It is not user friendly. the remote is nerve racking to use.
06/05/2015 at 5:13 pm
This is an individual user opinion. I happen to love the remote. Fewer buttons so you can use it without looking at it. Solid click anytime you push something. It’s great.
06/11/2015 at 7:30 am
I totally agree. Very easy.
03/10/2017 at 10:56 pm
Agree, I hate the new remote. Lean over in the dark to find it only to bump the touch pad and the movie skips or stops playing. Cat jumps on the table in the middle of the night and switches the TV on. Very poorly thought out
05/11/2015 at 9:58 am
We moved the Apple TV to a different TV since Yourube was no longer supported by the first generation Apple TV. When we plugged it in, it would not light up or come on. It simply doesn’t work period. It was working perfectly. Mind you I have three Apple TV s in my home. Any ideas on what’s wrong with the one that simply stopped working?
07/11/2015 at 3:12 am
It’s common for the PSU on the apple TV 2 & 3’s to fail. You can go to youtube to find a tutorial of how to replace a faulty PSU. They are about US$30 to buy.
07/11/2015 at 3:14 am
The way to diagnose this is to see it isn’t powering up with the power cable connected, however, if you connect via a micro USB to you computer it will still light up and be able to be restored with iTunes.
05/29/2015 at 3:32 pm
I have a number of photos on my Mac. When I show them on my TV many of them are out of order plus I get a number of duplicates. I have checked that I am using the correct file.
06/20/2015 at 11:48 pm
great.. thanks boss. This worked for me.. Menu+Up button changed the resolution and that solved my problem
07/21/2015 at 10:58 am
My Apple TV no longer receives iTunes via WiFi. I’ve done all that’s noted including reboot, proper sign-in/passwords, tested for speed/signal (OK), but every time I try turning the music on, I get a message “Problem with loading; try again later.” My iCloud photos steam perfectly but no music!
07/24/2015 at 6:09 pm
Apple TV bite me! I’ve tried everything! To get to the back of my TV you need two people to take it from the bookcase to get to the cables. We unplugged all cables. Put the cables back in place and put the TV back on the bookcase and no Apple TV. I changed the batteries and we switch out remotes. I do not recommend this product. Once it goes it done. There was no extended warranty so basically it did not last 5 months and now I’m back to cable.
02/24/2016 at 9:37 am
If your TV is that awkward to access …..secure the cables with some slack.
07/25/2015 at 6:29 am
Apple TV – what a piece of crap…. used it for 3 months … now no power, no light, no nothing. Cant get any link or signal w HDMI or USB – waste of money.
08/29/2015 at 12:15 pm
Only one problem with my Apple TV’s remote control: the left directional arrow does not respond. Therefore I can’t move to the left. Moving Up, down or to the right is fine. Do I need a new remote control?
08/31/2015 at 9:18 am
You could just download the remote app on your iphone and control your Apple TV with that instead.
02/06/2016 at 5:30 pm
My Apple Remote would not move right. Read thins tip whether your having issues with anyone of directions on remote. I found this tip and it worked for this 64 year old Senior Lady so u can do it too. Get some hand sanitizer and soak the round directional area. I had to let my sit for at least a minute before I got amazing results! After the Sanitizer soaks in clean it off throughly. A miracle! Junk can get caught down in the circle preventing proper function. Tell whomever to clean their hands before using the remote. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat a second. You’ll be You did!
09/07/2015 at 2:18 pm
Sure, rebooting the ATV will allow it to reconnect and AirPlay to reactivate. The bigger question is WHY must a reboot continually be needed? From day to day, the ability to use AP is lost, and will NOT work until a reboot of ATV. My PC doesn’t lose connection to the network, and it is on 24×7. Yet I need to continually reboot the ATV. Very frustrating. Yes, it does work, but should not be needed everyday. This started to occur with the newer iOS versions, so I suspect a bug in the iOS. Again, very frustrating from the company that is supposed to be the one who ” gets it” with regard to consumer electronics.
10/04/2015 at 10:44 am
I have been experiencing lots of connection issues between my apple computer and Apple TV.
It seems to have a mind of its own. All my update are on. But I still loose the connection between the Apple TV and my devices like computer, iPhone 5s, IPad top of the line. If somebody could explain to me why this is not resolved yet after all these years of development..
Matt frustrated apple user.
10/09/2015 at 12:30 pm
Easiest way to solve all your problems is to buy a Roku. Have an Apple TV in the same room as router, DOES NOT STREAM THRU WIFI. Roku on a different level, no problems. Good bye Apple…..
10/10/2015 at 3:49 pm
Cant access past the main menu screen with remote. Changed and checked new battery , checked cable , rebooted TV , rebooted wifi…….apple TV box light is on but won’t flicker when remote is applied
10/18/2015 at 2:03 pm
I can’t see any wifi networks on my ATV at all. All I see is computer and settings buttons upon boot up. There are at least 10 wifi networks accessible on my iphone and MBP but my ATV sees none of them at all. ATV used to work fine but for the last couple of months wifi just isn’t working. Any advice on how to resolve this matter would be greatly appreciated.
10/29/2015 at 10:51 am
Mark, have you got any good answer/hints? I have the same problem
10/31/2015 at 11:49 am
My ATV looses connection with the ipad every 45 seconds and I have to use the pull up display on the ipad to reactivate the airplay ipad setting. It’s a drag when watching a film and its disappointing that what could be a great gadget turns into a painful experience that will eventually be thrown in the rubbish. The only luck i’ve had reducing this problem is to reduce the resolution to 360p. Not great!
11/07/2015 at 5:11 am
I can get the Apple TV to power up but the remote will not control it. Tried all the resets on the remote and changed the battery. The remote is good , it will control my other Apple TV After the main screen is on for 5 minutes it powers off and I can’t get it to power on without unplugging and reconnecting. Then same problem.
11/11/2015 at 8:32 pm
So, I want to use an AppleTV in an auditorium setup. It has a roof mounted projector at the front and an audio box at the rear where audio/visual plug in. It has a HDMI cable plumbed from the projector to the audio box, about 10 meters away. Plug AppleTV in and no display/audio, although at times it seems to recognize a signal but shows nothing. Tried this in 2 seperate locations with the exact same setup only about 30km’s apart and same issue. Plug the AppleTV into the rear of the projector with standard length HDMI cable, works sweat, but can’t do this real time due to location of the audience. Plug a laptop into the same HDMI cable in the audio box and display’s with no problem. Why won’t the AppleTV work on this cable too?
11/14/2015 at 2:04 am
Air play keeps disconnection about every 10 minutes, thats annoying when streaming a movie from my i pad air 2, i have discovered that when the i pad screen turns off and locks that shortly there after if disconnects from airplay, so the only soulition i can make work is to put auto lock to never and leave the screen on, any other suggestions
11/18/2015 at 8:30 am
My remote has a mind of its own. Lately Ill push the select middle button and nothing will happen, I push again and then the icon that I’m on starts to shake. I push the button again and it stops. But I cannot get it to actually select the Icon app I am on. If I push the up/down/left/right button, it takes it all the way to the end of that column or row even if I only pushed it once. Ive restarted the Apple TV and the battery is fairly new. Im trying to connect it to my Iphone but I cant seem to even get to the settings. What do I do? this is beyond frustrating.
11/23/2015 at 10:48 am
Did you fix the problem? I have the same exactly problem
12/16/2015 at 2:38 am
Seeking help!! My Apple TV keeps ‘seizing” for about 1 minute every 3 or 4 minutes as though it’s playing too fast for the buffering when I stream Netflix or a movie. I checked my internet speed at 48Mbps at my PC and have a signal strength of 5 out of max 5 at the TV via a router signal extender. I have checked my HDMI cables and they fit snugly. I tested the internet connection on the TV for over 10 Mbps and it checks out fine. everything seems to work fine except for the playing of the show. any ideas where I should look next?
12/16/2015 at 2:42 am
Oh, and I have restarted the Apple TV and the Modem as well with no success.
12/17/2015 at 8:13 pm
Same here. Mine won’t play Netflix for more than a few minutes and Hulu has no audio also. Air play is only way I can watch these apps. C’mon apple!
12/17/2015 at 8:16 pm
Might b done w/apple products don’t think they really care anymore
12/18/2015 at 6:39 pm
Thank you!!! The remote pairing did the trick! :)
12/23/2015 at 1:31 pm
I have two of these devices in my house. Yes, I made the same mistake twice!
For a few months, maybe a year, both worked beautifully but not now. They both respond to their remotes and stream Netflix fine. However, when I’m streaming TV, the video is jerky and the sound isn’t synchronized. I’ve tried rebooting both of them but without success. I’ve also tested the network strength, which is fine of course. My guess that successive upgrades of iOS has introduced problems and Apple just hasn’t solved them. Perhaps they haven’t bothered to try to solve them! Any new ideas?
12/25/2015 at 7:39 pm
Apple TV remote has a mind of its own…each time it is touched the volume keeps climbing no matter what button you touch! Any insight how to fix?
02/04/2016 at 6:28 pm
I have the same problem, only it turns the volume all the way down without me even touching the remote. Then no matter what, I can’t turn it up again. Did you figure out how to fix your rogue remote?
12/27/2015 at 6:32 am
I need to know why everyday at midnight all the apps on my apple tv sign themselves out then i have to go through the process of signing in 1 by 1. How do i stop this, its frustrating and crazy?
12/27/2015 at 6:40 am
I love my apple tv but after last updates between apple, im having trouble with all my apple devices apple tv being the worse and its the one my family uses the most
01/03/2016 at 12:01 pm
Apple TV can’t connect to the server at this time?
01/29/2016 at 11:45 pm
1=2237 my best friend’s half-sister makes $87 /hr on the laptop . She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $16467 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
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02/07/2016 at 10:09 am
I have 2 Apple TV’s in the house and I bought a Tv program on the one in the bedroom which I can watch the program on, the second I try to watch the program on the living room Tv it gets stuck on the loading screen, so basically which ever Apple TV I buy a show on I have to watch it on that one !!!!!
02/26/2016 at 10:07 am
MY APPLE TV BOX IS STUCK ON THE MENU SCREEN & WONT LET ME NAVIGATE TO ANYTHING IT WANT MOVE OR SCROLL EVEN WHEN I UNPLUG IT OR SHUT IT DOWN IT STAYS THE SAME.
SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME
03/18/2016 at 11:09 am
MY APPLE TV BOX IS STUCK ON THE MENU SCREEN & WONT LET ME NAVIGATE TO ANYTHING IT WANT MOVE OR SCROLL EVEN WHEN I UNPLUG IT OR SHUT IT DOWN IT STAYS THE SAME.
SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME
I have same problem and new remote works with other units…
03/18/2016 at 9:11 pm
I’m so sick of Apple!!!!! My AppleTV is stuck on the main menu and my remote it came with and my phone remote won’t work. The little white light flickers like it’s going to do something but then nothing. All these comments regarding the same issues but zero answers. I’m loving my Roku more and more.
03/19/2016 at 7:26 am
“An error occur loading this content.try again later” I get this error when using the device on any wifi. No errors if wired to switch. I also tested at a friend, same issue.
My roku or chrome cast have no issue ever. I tested watching the same movie on Netflix. I called aplle without much help.
Anyone else have this issue.
03/19/2016 at 11:56 am
I have the exact same issue. Just started doing it last night.
04/04/2016 at 5:40 pm
Recently I’ve had problems with freezing or jerky video when using you tube on the latest Apple TV. This has occurred with both Wi Fi and when directly connected to the router. The problem I’ve found can be temporarily fixed by restarting the unit but it usually occurs again a short time later. Other streaming channels such as Netflix do not seem to have this problem and operate normally. Is any one else having this problem and if so is there a fix?
04/09/2016 at 3:40 pm
this article is so bad.
05/02/2016 at 10:41 pm
anyone have a suggestion to fix my problem which is that after trying everything all i get on start up is the apple logo on screen centre? I’ve rebooted many times, tried all the button combos in the book – still the same!
05/26/2016 at 6:01 pm
What about the newer Apple TV version? I found this fix here https://www.cydiageeks.com/fix-black-screen-death-apple-tv-4-ssh.html
05/30/2016 at 1:25 am
Ok Apple TV won’t give Video or audio nothing
Replace HDMI cable check all 3 HDMI nothing power off
Hold arrow down and menu reboot Apple TV nothing
Take to friends home plug in all working reset to factory settings mmmm
check HDMI outlets with PVR all working fine in stuck any advise much appreciated
06/01/2016 at 3:52 pm
these are the worst tips ever..common guys is this all you got i could have read the apple users guid ..WEEK!!!!!!
06/16/2016 at 6:31 pm
I don’t use the remote. There are too many other options for controlling the Apple TV box.
07/24/2016 at 1:17 pm
i feel like this cost me too much money to have such a number of problems as i experience.
07/29/2016 at 3:43 am
Its junk. Total waste of money.
08/07/2016 at 12:36 pm
my apple boxes connects with netflix and plays video but the audio only plays the background sounds..there is no voices from the actors……..anyone have any ideas
08/22/2016 at 9:58 pm
I got a apple 4 tv early near release date and connected it to my home theatre. Problems-
.freezes image but still plays sound after a couple of minutes into a Netflix movie then I have to ff the movie a few seconds to correct it.
. A quick streek or line appears for a second on the screen like a static surge, happens like every 10 minutes
.sometimes a pop sound comes from speakers when using Apple 4 tv like electric surge spike.
I have reset my Apple TV couple of times and software update but this has not fixed the problem.
Anyone know how to fix this, maybe I should return it?
09/16/2016 at 3:25 am
My Apple TV is plugged in not wireless WHY does it take 3 to 4 hours to down load a movie??? Apple take your money very fast pity there shit Apple TV could not work as fast,and there is nothing wrong with my internet 21.5 Mbps
10/16/2016 at 4:09 pm
So many different problems with this kit. ATV is great when it works well BUT there seems to be a serious lack of consistent QUALITY CONTROL. If it was properly made to quality standards, the many faults reported above wouldn’t happen.
11/24/2016 at 3:35 pm
My Apple tv accepts commands for example to play back an Iview program but within a few minutes or even seconds it reverts to the beginning. Now this happened again and again and again. The out of the blue I was able to watch a full program without interruption.
01/02/2017 at 9:39 am
I bought my Apple TV yesterday and it is not connecting. I am forever on a screen showing me breathtaking photos of the Bay Bridge and views of San Francisco. Has anyone had this problem?
01/12/2017 at 3:26 am
Thanks a lot for describing the issue and solution in such detail.
01/14/2017 at 3:21 pm
We have a weak internet connection. So it is possible to get iTunes videos downloaded and play them on my mac lap top – it just takes time. However if I try to play these using apple Air and apple TV it insists on taking me through the internet, and streaming the videos from iTunes. It treats the mac lap top version as a pirate edition and automatically refers me to the iTunes source – which I cannot get. I am sure this is to do with piracy issues as there is no problem with playing downloaded videos on my mac lap top from other sources with VLC and from my lap top through an ethernet cable to the apple TV and onto the TV screen like that. Basically this whole set up has been concocted to deal with internet piracy issues and makes the assumption that your internet connection is up to streaming live from the iTunes source. It isn’t here. We live in Newcastle, a major Australian city. I can see why young people download pirate editions of everything. It actually gives you a much more user friendly product than the one you get from iTunes.
03/10/2017 at 10:58 pm
Since the latest software update I’m constanly losing connection with my media server after 60min or so. Have to restart the Apple TV and then its all good for another 60min or so. Don’t seem to have this issue on the APTV3 tho but that unit has been jail broken.
05/14/2017 at 10:28 pm
My problem is different to those discussed above.
When I turn on the TV the General Screen appears showing the various options but I am unable to navigate beyond this opening screen. The remote does not appear to be working however when I press the volume control it displays on the screen and appears to still be managing volume control..
05/22/2017 at 8:18 pm
I have both a Roku and an Apple TV – I bought the Roku in Hawaii so I could stream Netflix etc – After using both, the ROku seems to work seamlessly where at home I can’t connect to Netflix with the Apple TV while the Roku connects all the time.
Very disappointing as I’ve been an Apple fan. I/m impressed with the Roku for streaming and the Apple TV for music etc
09/04/2019 at 11:38 am
Apple TV is only getting better with age, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Here are eight of the most common problems with Apple TV and how to fix them.