Can you use Sonos Beam with Apple TV?

Sonos with Apple TV
Sonos with Apple TV (Image credit: iMore)

Can you use Sonos Beam with Apple TV?

Best Answer: Yes! While the Sonos Beam doesn't work directly with the Apple TV, there is a workaround. Basically, you plug in the Apple TV to your TV via HDMI. Then, plug your Sonos Beam into your TV through the HDMI-ARC port, ensuring that HDMI-CEC is enabled (this allows devices to work better together). If everything is working as it should, the audio from your Apple TV should go to the TV, relaying it through the Sonos Beam. If your TV is older than five years or doesn't have an HDMI-ARC connection, you need to use an optical audio adapter included with the Beam.

So I can't just plug in my Beam to the Apple TV itself?

Unfortunately not. The Sonos Beam must get plugged in through an HDMI-ARC connection, which even the best Apple TV doesn't have, but most modern TVs do. HDMI-ARC (Audio Return Channel) is a special signal unique to TVs and therefore gets a different label than a typical HDMI port. So yes, Sonos Beam with Apple TV works, but requires a workaround.

What if I have my Apple TV plugged into a monitor and not a TV? Does that mean I can't use the Beam with it?

That is correct. Since the Beam requires HDMI-ARC that are only found on modern TVs, you won't be able to use a Sonos Beam with Apple TV without a TV set with this connection. Beam will not work with regular HDMI ports, so you'll need to get a TV that has it or perhaps trade the Beam in for another soundbar.

What if my TV set doesn't have HDMI-ARC?

If your TV does not have a properly labeled HDMI-ARC port or is more than five years old, then you'll need to use the included optical audio adapter that comes with the Sonos Beam (this is also sold separately if you can't find it). This allows you to connect the Beam to your TV and should allow Apple TV audio to pass through into the Beam.

The only caveat of using the optical adapter is that you will not be able to use Amazon Alexa TV voice commands. But you'll still get that awesome Sonos sound quality.

Could I use AirPlay 2 to get the audio from Apple TV to Beam?

No, while you could use AirPlay to send audio from your best iPhone iPad, or Mac to the Apple TV, the Apple TV doesn't support AirPlay out — only AirPlay in. However, since the Apple TV is connected to the television set, and the Beam is plugged into the HDMI-ARC port, the audio sent to the Apple TV gets projected out through the Beam. It's... a bit complicated, we'll admit.

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.