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.
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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 2020-12-15. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.