Apple TV Software 6.0 update goes missing, possibly pulled due to bricking issues

Last week Apple not only released iOS 7 for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but also Apple TV Software 6.0 for the Apple TV. For some people it went smoothly, those in the U.S. got iTunes Radio support, and those everywhere got support for Shared Photo Streams, and an AirPlay update that lets you play your content on other people's Apple TV's. For others, it was ruinous, bricked their Apple TV's and forced a generation completely unfamiliar with the process to find or buy a Micro-USB cable and connect to iTunes on their Windows or Mac PC and restore that way. Now the update appears to have been pulled.

There's been no official word from Apple, but in our tests and quick polling of our readers, Software Update on the Apple TV currently shows Apple TV 5.3 as the current version and states no updates are available. (Apple TV still has odd versions, with Apple TV Software 5.x matching iOS 6 and Apple TV Software 6.x matching iOS 7.)

For anyone familiar with the Apple TV jailbreak scene, connecting to iTunes is old hat and likely more annoying than anything else. For the vast majority of people who've never had to do anything more than push a button to update in the past, a bricked Apple TV is likely disastrous.

If you haven't updated yet, wait and hopefully a safer version of the Apple TV Software 6.0 update returns soon. If you tried updating already and had problems, we'll post a set of instructions for restoring over USB with iTunes.

In the meantime, tell us what's going on with your Apple TV - updated and good to go, stuck in bricked hell, or still waiting and watching?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple TV Software 6.0 update goes missing, possibly pulled due to bricking issues


After the Netflix issue last year causing many titles after an Apple update (authentication issue with some Netflix servers), I had to downgrade and I decided to wait a month on all future updates. No cable here, so it's very disruptive to do a restore on the Apple TV.

I had to do the iTunes DFU restore, and it worked since. I presumed "bricking" was a lot more catastrophic than that.

I like how "Home Videos" are separated out from "Movies" in iTunes Sharing.

The update bricked one of mine and went gone on another. I got a microusb cable and restored the bricked one and all seems fine now.

Sent from the iMore App

Update went smoothly on mine. Have been playing the heck out of iTunes Radio this weekend without any issues.

I tried to update our MUG AppleTV(3) here in Melbourne but was told V5.3 was the current version. I do suspect an updated hardware to be available soon if only to move to 802.11ac like the rest of Apple's hardware.

Updated 1 ATV on Friday with no problems. Updated my other ATV a day later (yesterday) and bricked it. Restoring the bricked ATV installed the software update. No problems since then. Like mpaquette, I've been playing iTunes Radio a lot. Love it!

Updated mine and it bricked out, got a USB cable and restored it, working fine now like it is suppose to. ITunes Radio is a nice choice to have now for radio listeners.

Have a Apple TV 2 of which I updated on the 20th and says 6.0 (6646,65). No problems. I did not updated my Apple TV 3. It is still 5.3 (6105). I live in Washington state.

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I have two Apple TV's. The third-generation Apple TV update went just fine. The second GEN Apple TV update bricked my Apple TV. I had to restore with iTunes.

I had some issues with the last AppleTV update - this time, everything seems to have been updated just fine. I purchased and watched a TV show just last night.
My sympathies for all who've had problems - I've been there and done that.

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One out seven of my ATV's were bricked due to the update. Fortunately, it was the last one or I wouldn't have done then rest.

It's easy to restore... hunt up a micro USB cable... plug it in near the HDMI port on the AppleTV... hook the AppleTV to a computer with iTunes... it will show up as a device just like a phone or iPad... click the restore button... or if you have an ipsw click shift+restore on PC (option+restore on mac) - and navigate to your ipsw.

I have been really busy and haven't had a chance to update. Now I am glad I didn't! I hope they fix it soon

I guess its a matter of definition, but if the device can be easily restored from iTunes, it is not really bricked. Bricking used to be an irreversible crash from which there was no easy return.

Oh yeah. Bricked mine yesterday. Connected to iTunes via micro USB but Apple TV won't show up in iTunes. Sigh.

Currently I'm returning the Apple TV I purchased two weeks ago. With news of the iPad event in October and rumors of a refreshed TV set top, it's going to be hard to wait to find out if a new one is announced.

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I updated it on Friday and it ended up bricked. Restored it in iTunes and it had the new software version. Setup was painless though due to the tap to update via an iOS device and Bluetooth.

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Had to restore my Apple TV from iTunes and it works great now. Not a big deal for me, I had a cable and am good with tech. If it had happened to most the people I know, they would have panicked and probably called me. Its definitely best Apple pulled this update until this issue is fixed.

My biggest issue has been the Apple TV frequently telling me it can't connect to the iTunes Store. Usually have to try 3 or more times to get to where I'm trying to go.

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The install itself worked fine with me. My only issue was with syncing podcasts between iTunes and the Apple TV. I had a bunch of video podcasts, e.g. TWiT's Macbreak Weekly, that I watched on the Apple TV. I figured they streamed there, so I'd subscribed to the HD versions. A short time later I noticed that my internet connection seemed slow. I checked my laptop and saw that it was in the process of downloading roughly 10 GB of podcasts! I turned syncing off in iTunes (there doesn't seem to be a similar setting on the Apple TV) and it seems fine now.

The update to 6.0 went smoothly but we found three major bugs last night. They were so obvious it has is worryied about Apple QA overall.

1. Rented iTunes movie, started movie, exited, went back in to watch and no record of the movie
2. Went to rent the movie again and it indicated it had been rented already
3. The UI directed us to "Settings" then "Downloads". "Downloads" does not exist.
4. Found "check for Rentals" under "ITunes" under "Settings"
5. "Check for Rentals" provided a spinning wheel of death for hours despite restarts.
6. Next morning: no change. Logged on to Account and "Reported Problem" for refund.

I had exactly the same problem. No way to solve it. For me it's even stranger as I can't find the movie under the "rented" (sorry, don't know how it's named in English, mine is in portuguese) section on the movies. Puzzling.

After you did it once, the other movies played correctly?

I had no issue or problems updating mine on FRIDAY Sept 20 but my only problem is that we in other countries outside of the USA don't get new content like the good people of the USA do. I think Apple only cares about about the USA and not other countries witch SUCKS

I got a notice to update the other night, but skipped it to update later. Now, when I go to update, it says I'm current, but I'm still at version 5.

I guess I got lucky. No issues here. Everything updated without a hitch. My device does seem to not have quite the same kind of wireless connection quality as before. To be fair I've only watch one movie on it since the update but it did buffer once or twice which normally isn't an issue.

Hats off to iMore for being one of the only Mac sites to be on top of this today (Sunday). I was wondering why the heck my ATV wouldn't let me update, and now I know. Thanks!

my first attempt left me with a bricked atv, had to restore via iTunes. second attempt worked fine and is working fine so far.

3rd gen update went fine here in Canada (except no iTunes Radio yet, of course). Actually fixed a big where my home sharing quit working awhile ago. Netflix works fine, too.

It bricked mine. I was sick and couldn't get out, so ordered the cable from amazon. I won't be delivered until Tuesday. I am more annoyed than anything. I don't attach anything to iTunes unless I have to. At least I have a computer, what about those poor people who don't?

It did bricked mine when I updated it on Friday. Apple TV just shows USB cable with arrow to iTunes icon. I already have micro USB cable so I restore it with iTunes. It did upgrade it to 6.0 but I have to reconfigure all my settings.

Bricked yesterday, had the 'connect to iTunes' graphic displayed. Managed to find a micro USB cable and restored via iTunes, failed 3 times and worked the fourth. Pretty bad experience, compounded by the fact that I had lost the remote, so couldn't configure the fkin thing using the iOS remote app. Bought a new remote today so back in action. Boo!

Updated mine via ethernet yesterday. Took about 20 minutes (feels like about 5 minutes longer than last big update). Played Netflix and iRadio for a few hours. No problems

I'm in the UK. Mine got bricked by the upgrade. In a box full of white cables, no microUSB. Fortunately my Sony RX100 camera charges through a microUSB so hooked the ATV to iTunes & now all is fine.

Updated 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TV. Piece of cake, smooth as butter, and all is completely functional.

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Updated on Sept. 21 to 6.0. No problems. Love Apple TV. It allowed me to cut off Time Warner, which had double charged me for 7 months during a period in which I was out of my house due to repairs after a serious fire. This has saved me about $800, so far.

FWIW, I have 2 Apple TV 3's here! Both were updated to version 6 on the same day and no problem as of this writing.

My ATV 2 6.0 update displayed connect to iTunes image then went blank. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do so it has been sitting there for a day blinking until I read iMore. I will try cabling to the iMac and iTunes or wait for your instructions. Thanks iMore

I updated my ATV 2 without problems. Was going to update my ATV 3 tonight, but there is no update available so it is still running 5.3 (6105)

My ATV3 updated to 6.0 fine via wifi on Friday. My ATV2 however initially bricked . I used micro USB on iTunes on Mac and got 6.0 (but micro cable was temperamental --1st one I used it couldn't find a device, 2nd cable worked fine-- restored then updated)

I didn't have any problem with the update.
it now allows me to remove or hide channels I don't like or didn't like.
as for the Radio it's always been there.
I really like that fact that streaming from both my iPhone and iPad work a bit more effectively, as long as I have my PC and Itunes running it always runs.

While visiting my father, I assisted in updating his Apple TV and was livid when it crapped out and and needed to be restored from iTunes. That's inexcusable considering Apple doesn't provide a micro USB cable or instructions for doing so. It was by pure luck that my father had a Kindle and it uses a micro USB cable plus I had my MBA to download and restore the firmware. Very bad show from Apple here.

Thank you for the input, kch50428. I found a thread (post 23076445) on Apple's support forums that had the solution. Apparently, it was the type of microUSB cable used. The Kindle cable worked fine.

brilliant...I would have never guessed that the type of USB cable would make a difference. Now my restore is in process.

I updated 2. One of them I had to plug in and restore, twice actually. the first time it gave me an error and the second time it went through without a hitch.

mine turned into a steaming pile of brick when i updated. i restored and it's working now but i hate the fact that i can't sort the top row of icons and put the settings icon back where it's supposed to be.

Following up my yesterday post, when I didn't know what to do, I USB cabled my ATV2 ("bricked" during ATV 6.0 update) to iTunes on iMac (power plug in not required). iTunes recognized it and did a full restore. Reconnected to TV, went through set up process, and it's good (with 6.0). Pretty easy really. Thanks again iMore!

Mine updated fine, but it was the longest downtime I've ever had with an Apple TV update. My girlfriend ran into this issue of it bricking, and after unplugging and replugging in power, an onscreen message told her to connect to a computer via iTunes. After resetting via an iTunes install, she has the new software and it's working fine.

The update bricked my Gen 2 Atv. Had the setting set for auto update, went away for the weekend and came back to a device that no longer works. I tried to hook it up to my mac using the micro usb, but iTunes doesn't even see the device. I even tried to set it to DFU mode, but to no avail. Anyone have any luck restoring it? I'm really missing my ATV.

Try using a different microUSB cable. There are three types of cables apparently and I do not know how to tell the difference. 1) iTunes will not recognize some kinds of cables. 2) The ATV will not be updated with somes types. 3) Some will work fine. If you have a Kindle, that cable definitely works.

Like many of you, after installing 6.0 on my ATV gen 2 I got the connect to iTunes graphic. I searched for and found a old micro USB cable and tried to get my iTunes to recognize the device, but it could not. I read that some micro USB cords were not working with iTunes, but I didn’t have another to try. I made an appointment at the Genius Bar at my local Apple store today. They plugged it in to iTunes and it was not recognized…bricked. They eventually offered me replacment offers, either the new ATV 3 immediately or wait 5-7 days for a working second gen. I have not seen an official Apple statement on the matter.

Back on again. I am updating now. It is on step 1 of 2 and progressing very slowly.

Update two, problems with both. They are connected via Ethernet, not Wi-Fi. Trying the restore now, or should I say in 19+ minutes when the download says it will finish.