How to wirelessly tap-to-set-up a 3rd gen Apple TV with a supported iOS 7 device and Bluetooth LE

How to wirelessly set up a 3rd gen Apple TV with any iOS 7 enabled device

If you've got a supported iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7, you can quickly and easily set up any 3rd generation Apple TV wirelessly, no awkward silver remotes required. By using the Bluetooth LE connection in both your Apple TV and your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can transfer your iTunes account info and wireless network settings in just seconds. Here's how:

What you need

  • A 3rd generation Apple TV running Apple TV 6.0 software or later
  • A supported iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7 or later, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are not supported

How to set up a 3rd gen Apple TV with any iOS 7 enabled device

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if it isn't already. You can do this by swiping up in Control Center and toggling it on or by entering the Settings panel and turning it on from there.
  2. With your 3rd generation Apple TV on the language selection screen, put your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch within 6 inches or so of the actual Apple TV unit and make sure you keep it there. Apple says to touch your device to your Apple TV but in my experience, being within 6 inches or so away always works.
  3. Your iOS device will prompt you to enter your iTunes username and password. Do that now.
  4. Select whether or not you'd like the Apple TV to remember your iTunes credentials.
  5. The last question is whether or not you'd like Apple to be able to collect usage information. This step is your personal decision. Just make your selection to continue.
  6. Now just keep your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch within range of your Apple TV to let it finish pulling your settings.

Once it's done your WiFi password and iTunes account will both be linked for you which bypasses the awkward silver remote stage that used to be required in order to set up an Apple TV. You should now be on the main screen of your Apple TV which is now ready for use.

Apple recommends staying within 10-15 feet during the setup process. I'd say it's safer to stay closer to 5 feet as the first time I tried, it failed and I was only around 10 feet away.

If you've tried remote setup for your 3rd gen Apple TV, let us know how it went in the comments!

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 16 comments. Add yours.

renegad3 says:

Due diligence plz. Not all ('any') iOS 7 device(s) are capable of doing this.

For example: iPhone 4, iPad 2

From http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5900?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

System requirements

To use your iOS device to set up Apple TV, you need the following:

Apple TV (3rd generation) using Apple TV software 6.0 or later

One of these iOS devices using iOS 7 or later
iPhone 4s or later
iPad (3rd generation or later)
iPad mini
iPod touch (5th generation)

kch50428 says:

Makes setting up a compatible AppleTV fast and easy...

SterlingSpring says:

Okay so why can't you use bluetooth to control the Apple TV afterwards via the Remote app??? Seems rather backwards to not enable that considering MANY people like myself cannot use home sharing because of technical issues with my ISP...

SockRolid says:

Clever. And guess what. The wireless Apple TV setup process would be perfect for setting up something like an iWatch. Or any device with no built-in or on-screen keyboard. Apple just might be publicly testing next-gen technology. They've done that before (e.g. the click-wheel game purchase-download-install system on iPods evolving into the App Store.)

Clint Brown1 says:

I'd be interested in knowing if Wifi Security certificates will transfer over for WPA2-Enterprise from your iOS device to the AppleTV. We have that issue with HIgherEd that we can't get it to work with our Enterprise Wifi. We have to add an additional AdHOC wifi network for AppleTV's in classrooms and conference rooms.

Clint Brown1 says:

I tested this and it does not pass the wireless Security Certificate to the AppleTV. I just comes up saying that the wifi password was incorrect, hence it doesn't work with WPA2-Enterprise. Bummer.

rayz336 says:

I'm curious as to what stops this from being done on an Apple TV 2?

ny3ranger says:

It doesnt have bluetooth (i thought).

SterlingSpring says:

The 2nd gen Apple TV doesn't have Bluetooth 4 (or LE) which is essential for this kind of set up...it has Bluetooth 2.1...which is great for keyboards yes but not this.

rayz336 says:

Ah ok thanks for that information, I wasn't sure of the Bluetooth specs for the Apple TVs.

mad_iphone4 says:

Can't remember if mine is a 2 or 3.

Sent from the iMore App

mad_iphone4 says:

Found it. 1427 doesn't work though.

Sent from the iMore App

EPJS says:

You should change the title, it says "any iOS 7 device" however it's not really "any" — just those with Bluetooth 4.0. The iPad 2 is an iOS 7 enabled device, but it doesn't have that specification of Bluetooth so it can't do this.