How to update your Apple TV: The ultimate guide

Apple Tv 4k Review
Apple Tv 4k Review (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

Updating your Apple TV is just as easy as updating your iPhone or Apple Watch, but there are still some things to remember before, during, and after installation. If you're preparing to update your Apple TV to tvOS 15, here's everything you need to know.

What's new in tvOS 15?

Apple Tv Apps Tvos

Apple Tv Apps Tvos (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

Apple hasn't reinvented the wheel with tvOS 15 but there are some goodies worth updating for. These include some tentpole features like SharePlay for group watching and significant improvements to how HomeKit cameras are handled.

There are some killer audio upgrades, too, including the ability to set the HomePod mini as the default Apple TV speaker like you could with the original HomePod and support for Spatial Audio with compatible content and headphones.

Will your Apple TV work with tvOS 15?

Apple does a fantastic job of ensuring that tvOS is compatible with most versions of Apple TV. If you're wondering which Apple TV models support tvOS 15, we've got you covered.

Essentially, if your Apple TV already runs tvOS 14 then you are good to go with tvOS 15. That means both the 2017 and 2021 versions of the Apple TV 4K are supported, as is the Apple TV HD (formerly known as Apple TV 4th generation).

How to back up your Apple TV

Apple Tv 4k Review

Apple Tv 4k Review (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

For most Apple devices, we highly recommend you back up your content before downloading and installing a new operating system, but Apple TV is a little different. Mainly because there is no way to back up an Apple TV in the traditional sense, but there are methods for securing your Apple TV data.

How to download and install tvOS 15

If you have automatic downloads turned on, your Apple TV will update quietly in the background when you're not using it. If, however, you don't want to wait for the update, you can manually download and install tvOS 15.

How to update from a tvOS beta to the official release

Apple Tv 4k Review

Apple Tv 4k Review (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

Now that Apple has made it possible for us to check out what's coming in future updates through betas (public and developer), more and more people are jumping on the beta bandwagon. If you've been on the beta track for the past few months, but want to switch back to the official release, you can update from a tvOS beta to the official release at any time.

How to troubleshoot common tvOS installation problems

Issues downloading and installing tvOS updates seem pretty rare, but there are always going to be times when something goes wrong for someone. Don't worry. We're here to help if your Apple TV won't update.

Up to date

Whether you just picked up the best Apple TV or snagged a great deal on an older model, it's worth keeping the software up to date each time Apple releases a new version. Using the above information and linked guides, you'll be on the latest version in no time.

Updated April 2022: Updated for tvOS 15.

Adam Oram

Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.