Apple TV: Ultimate guide

How to use Apple TV: The ultimate guide

Complete guide to the Apple TV, Apple's iOS-powered, 1080p streaming set top box

While rumors of a new Apple TV continue to make the rounds, the current Apple TV is already a fantastic little $99 device that lets you stream all sorts of content — including iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, MLB, NHL, and much, much more to your HDTV. What's more, it lets you AirPlay video and even mirror the screen of your iPhone or iPad straight to the big screen. There's a lot more you can do as well. Here's our complete guide!

How to set up and start using your new Apple TV

How to set up and start using your new Apple TV

Because the Apple TV is relatively inexpensive — only $99 in the U.S. — and provides a ton of video and audio streaming capability, including direct lines in iTunes and even AirPlay from iOS devices, it's an incredibly easy purchase to justify. It's also an incredibly easy device to set up. If you're having any trouble, however, here are the step-by-step directions.

How to use VoiceOver on your Apple TV

How to enable and use VoiceOver on your Apple TV

If you have an Apple TV but find it difficult or impossible to see and navigate the menu system VoiceOver is there to help. An accessibility option meant to help those with visual challenges, VoiceOver "speaks" the controls to you, letting you hear what you can't see. You can even set up shortcuts to turn VoiceOver on and off with just two taps.

How to pair an Apple remote with your Apple TV

How to pair an Apple remote with your Apple TV

Apple's hardware remote is a small, convenient aluminum stick with absolutely indiscriminate infrared (IR) blasting. If you only have one Apple TV in the vicinity, that's not a problem. If you have multiple Apple TVs, however, or if you have older Macs running Front Row, you'll want to lock the remote a specific device. Luckily, it's easy to do!

How to use shortcuts on your Apple TV remote

Top 5 shortcuts you need to know when using your Apple TV remote!

Ever been stuck deep down inside Netflix on the Apple TV and wished there was a way to instantly jump all the way back to the main Home screen? Ever been frustrated by fast forward going too slow or too fast and wished you could simply skip chapter by chapter instead? Ever had Home screen icons disappear or services say they're not available and wished you could reboot with only a couple of clicks? Well, you can! The little aluminum remote that comes with the Apple TV might not seem like much but there are a lot of options hidden behind those buttons. Here are some of the best!

How to access the chapter menu on the Apple TV

If you want to skip forward or rewind to a certain scene on your Apple TV, scrubbing through with the standard fast forward and rewind controls can be daunting, especially if you're going back or forward more than just a few seconds. When you want to skip through a significant amount of time, the chapter menu is the best option and can be brought up in one button click.

How to control your Apple TV with the Remote app for iPhone or iPad

How to control your Apple TV with the Remote app for iPhone or iPad

Apple's Remote app lets you control the Apple TV with your iPhone or iPad over Wi-Fi. Not only does that give you a backup if you ever lose the aluminum hardware remote that comes with the Apple TV, but it also lets you maintain control even if you're not in line-of-sight, makes navigating large amounts of content — including Home Sharing libraries — easier, and thanks to the virtual keyboard, makes search term and password entry a breeze. Here's how it works!

How to pair a Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV

How to pair a Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV

While navigating and selecting with the Apple TV remote control works fine, trying to enter a search term or a password is tedious and frustrating. The Remote app can help ease the pain, but nothing beats a real keyboard when it comes to typing. Luckily, Apple makes it possible to pair a Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV so that you never have to struggle again!

How to hide channels on your Apple TV main menu

How to hide channels you don't use on the Apple TV

The Apple TV interface is overflowing with channel icons and it can make finding your favorites, the ones you actually want to watch, into a chore. So, what if you want Netflix and HBO Go but not NBA or MLB, or vice versa? Easy! You can hide channel icons right from the main menu, or toggle them on or off right from settings!

How to AirPlay video from your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV

How to AirPlay content from third party apps to your Apple TV

AirPlay lets you wirelessly beam whatever you're watching on your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV, even videos in App Store apps like YouTube and Netflix. Any app that's incorporated Apple's AirPlay media button will work. All that's required are a few taps!

How to use Control Center to AirPlay videos to your Apple TV

How to use Control Center to AirPlay videos to your Apple TV

Ever wish you could take a video from your iPhone or iPad and watch it on your big screen TV? Well, with AirPlay and an Apple TV you can! Many apps have built-in AirPlay buttons but, sadly, they're often in different shapes, sizes, and places. Luckily, Control Center has an AirPlay button as well. That makes it easy to find and easy to use!

How to use AirPlay to mirror your iPhone or iPad screen to your Apple TV

How to mirror your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV with AirPlay Mirroring

AirPlay Mirroring lets you wirelessly beam whatever you're viewing on your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV. Whether you're using a dumb network TV app that doesn't include built-in AirPlay or just want to game on your big screen HDTV, AirPlay Mirroring lets you share almost anything and everything in just a few taps.

How to use AirPlay to mirror your Mac screen to your Apple TV

How to AirPlay Mirror your Mac to your Apple TV

While iTunes can send media directly from your Mac to your Apple TV, you can also mirror your entire display. It's especially useful for things like family FaceTime and company presentations. What's more, it's easy to do!

How to watch iTunes Extras on your Apple TV

How to watch iTunes Extras on your Apple TV

iTunes Extras are like DVD to Blu-ray movies extras that play right inside iTunes on the Mac or Windows, and on your Apple TV. They can include director's commentary, deleted scenes, bonus scenes, making-of documentaries, and other features. Not every movie has iTunes Extras, but for those that do, here's how to find and enjoy them!

How to use Home Sharing to access your iTunes library on your Apple TV

How to enable Home Sharing on your Apple TV

Home Sharing is a great way to stream content from your Mac right to your Apple TV. It lets you quickly and easily get anything from the iTunes library on your desktop to the HDTV without it having to be on Apple's servers, like iTunes in the Cloud, or you having to be at your computer, like AirPlay. It's an older feature, more pull than push, but for home movies, personal video collections, ripped CDs, and more, it still works great. Here's how!

How to manually check for software updates on an Apple TV

How to manually check for software updates on an Apple TV

When there's an update available for the Apple TV you'll get a popup notification telling you about it. However, you might be in a hurry to watch a movie, listen to music, or do something else when it happens, and you may not want to stop and do the update right then and there. Luckily, you can check for and apply Apple TV software updates at any time. Here's how!

How to fix a glitchy Apple TV by restoring it to factory settings

How to fix a glitchy Apple TV by restoring it to factory settings

If you're having problems with your Apple TV, if Wi-Fi or connectivity is buggy, if it keeps failing to connect or update, if the channels just don't work the way they're supposed to, then restoring it to factory settings can give you a fresh start. Sure, it's the nuclear option but it will also solve most problems, most of the time. If you're suffering, a factory restore is one of your last, best hopes for salvation!

How to fix a bricked Apple TV by restoring it with iTunes

How to fix a bricked Apple TV by restoring it with iTunes

Like any device, from time to time an Apple TV can give you problems. In most cases a restart, reset all settings, or restore to factory settings will fix the problem. If you're Apple TV is totally non-responsive — or bricked — the only way to fix it is a full restore using iTunes. Here's how!

How to get more help with your Apple TV

If you need any additional help or have specific questions check out our Apple TV Forum!

Note: Originally published April 2014. Updated July 2014.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How to use Apple TV: The ultimate guide

8 Comments

Question why doesn't My Podcast button work anymore? I had subscribed to several Podcasts & now when I click on My Podcasts it flips out of that app & back to the Movie App. I've tried restarting & that doesn't help but it is the same on all four of my Apple TV's. It started after the update to iOS 7. (Or whatever the version is called for the Apple TV)

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Nice article, but why no love for jailbreaking and installing additional software? It would make a valuable addition IMO.

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Thank you, I bookmarked this in my Favorites because I will be getting a Apple TV soon. I've been using the lightning to digital av adapter and mfi controller for gaming on my tv and mirroring network apps but I really wanna move to wireless. First I will get my lady the chromecast because she's all in with android and they just added screen mirroring and then I will take care of my Apple needs. This guide covers everything I need to set up and enjoy my future Apple TV.

I used an Apple TV in my classroom to mirror my iPad to the interactive whiteboard. The experience of being able to walk around the classroom and manipulate what was shown on the board from anywhere in the room was, at the risk of sounding cliche, magical.

Sadly, airplay mirroring seems to have gotten extremely buggy in iOS 7, with the connection lagging or even dropping multiple times, or just not detecting my iPad. Airserver on my MacBook is also experiencing a similar issue.

Hopefully, apple fixes this in iOS 8. I am interested to see how they improve on mirroring via Bluetooth. Tried this with airserver, and the lag was terrible!

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