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 restore an Apple TV using iTunes

Note: In order to restore your Apple TV in iTunes you'll need to pick up a micro-USB cable. They're sold separately, but if you have a Bluetooth device or battery case/pack you might already have one handy.

  1. Disconnect all the cables from your Apple TV.
  2. Using a micro-USB cable, plug your Apple TV into your computer running iTunes.
  3. iTunes should automatically launch showing that your Apple TV is in Recovery Mode. Click on Restore Apple TV...
  4. Confirm you'd like to restore on the popup by clicking Restore and Update.
  5. Confirm the restore on the following popup by clicking Next.
  6. Now agree to the terms of service by clicking Agree.
  7. iTunes will take a minute to download the firmware file.
  8. Now just wait for your Apple TV to finish being restored. Do not unplug it until iTunes gives you the okay.

That's all there is to it. You can now re-connect your Apple TV to your television and verify that it corrected the problem. If you've got a third generation Apple TV or higher, you can use the tap-to-setup Bluetooth LE option for even faster setup.

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!

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

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

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


Never had a problem with my Apple TV that could be fixed with a restore. I'm on my 2nd latest model (1080p), and had the previous model (1st black model). My current Apple TV is still working great. The ones before it stopped booting, weren't recognized in iTunes, and when I took them to apple they said the power supply was bad. The 1st time I was a few days out of warranty and I had to buy a new one. After that, again out of warranty, Apple store manager knew my story and felt bad so they replaced it free. Hope I don't have to go through that again anytime soon.

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Wonder if I should do this. For some reason, everything works great except Watch ABC, Watch DisneyChannel, Watch Disney Junior and Watch DisneyXD. Even Watch ESPN works fine. Tried just about everything else, even contacting Disney support (assuming it is on their end).

Have had this thing for almost three years and never had a problem a power cycle couldn't solve. Such a solid device.

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My only issue is if the network connection is lost ATV doesn't seem to remember my screen saver photos. It shows up in the settings as still pointing to my photo stream, but instead displays the default ATV images. Frustrating that it can't seem to remember how to use the existing path. It has also lost my Apple ID password a few times...even as it displays my Apple ID. But considering no other issues, I've been quite happy with ATV.

I believe the 2nd gen models also needed it to be plugged into the power to do the above restore. The 3rd gen removed that requirement.

My issues seemed to have started only about a week ago. Whenever I stream a video from my iPad Air to my Apple TV, with all operating systems up to date, the video will play for a few minutes, then stop while continuing to play on my iPad. I have to swipe up from the bottom of the iPad and re-activate airplay. Sometimes it'll play 10 or 12 minutes then stop streaming again. I've even tried switching from my wi-fi router to using my phone's cell service for the router. It happens in both cases. I don't understand what's happening.

I've never had to perform this procedure but have heard if others needed to.
Thank you for the How-To, Ally!

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My AppleTV has completely lost it. After connecting to a new Samsung tv, with no picture, I tried multiple restarts with the remote control. It only blinks for hours on. I have also tried connecting it to my MacbookPro via micro-usb, but also here no connection. Anyone with a good idea, or should I just buy a new one?

I wish Apple would realize that not everyone owns a PC. or Mac. So syncing through iTunes is impossible.