How to use the Apple TV app for Apple TV

How to back up your Apple TV
How to back up your Apple TV (Image credit: iMore)

Your Apple TV has a content organization app called, simply, Apple TV. This app is the central location for TV and movie content on your Apple TV, not just from your iTunes library, but also from all of your favorite video apps and services, such as Apple TV+, Hulu, Starz, HBO Now, and CBS. With this guide, you'll learn how to use the Apple TV app, link it to video sources, watch your purchased videos, and even change how Apple TV's Siri Remote works.

How to watch a show or movie in the Apple TV app

Watching is what the Apple TV app is for, and getting started is very simple. All it takes is a few clicks on the Apple TV remote.

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Click on a show or movie from Up Next to continue watching it immediately.

How to watch a show or movie in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Click on a show or movie from Up Next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Alternatively, scroll down to What to Watch or one of the other TV and movie sections.
  2. Click on a show or movie.

How to watch a show or movie in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Scroll down to What to Watch or one of the other TV and movie sections, Click on a show or movie (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Play or Play First Episode.

How to watch a show or movie in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Play or Play First Episode (Image credit: iMore)

How to connect apps to the Apple TV app

While it doesn't work with every video app (Netflix is notably absent, for instance), the Apple TV app will automatically connect with apps like Hulu, providing access to their content in a unified location.

  1. Launch your desired app.
  2. Click Connect on the message that pops up asking if you would like to connect content apps like Hulu, HBO Now, and Showtime to the Apple TV app.

How to connect apps to the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch your desired app, Click Connect (Image credit: iMore)

How to remove app connections to the Apple TV app

If you don't like the suggestions provided by one of your video apps and would rather not see them, you can remove the connection between that app and the Apple TV app.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Click Apps.

How to remove app connections to the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch Settings, Click Apps (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click TV.
  2. Click the app you wish to remove.

How to remove app connections to the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click TV, Click on an App (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Remove (app name) to no longer see TV shows and movies from that app.
  2. Click Remove and Clear Play History to remove the connection and delete all information about what you've watched in the app.

How to remove app connections to the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Remove, Click Remove and Clear Play History (Image credit: iMore)

How to add shows and movies to Up Next in the Apple TV App

Up Next should be your first stop when you're looking for something to watch. It offers up the latest episodes of your favorite shows or helps you pick back up with a movie you were watching.

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Click on a show or movie that isn't in your Up Next queue.

How to add shows and movies to Up Next in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Click on a show or movie (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Add to Up Next.

How to add shows and movies to Up Next in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Add to Up Next (Image credit: iMore)

How to play a video from your library in the Apple TV app

You'll no longer need to head to the separate Movies and TV Shows apps to watch your purchased content on the Apple TV — all of your content is now in the Apple TV app.

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Navigate to the Library section at the top of the screen.

How to play a video from your library in the TV app on the Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the TV app, Navigate to Library (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Choose a section like Recent Purchase, TV Shows, Movies, or a genre to find what you're looking for.
  2. Click on a title in your library that you want to play.

How to play a video from your library in the TV app on the Apple TV by showing steps: Choose a section like Recent Purchases or Movies, Click the title that you want to play (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Play if you're watching a movie or click on the episode you want to play if you're going to watch a TV show.

How to play a video from your library in the TV app on the Apple TV by showing steps: Click Play if you're watching a movie or click on the episode you want to play if you're going to watch a TV show (Image credit: iMore)

How to buy or rent movies in the Apple TV app

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Click on a movie from the Movie Spotlight or search for a title.

How to buy or rent movies in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Click on a movie (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Buy or Rent under How to Watch.
  2. Click Buy or Rent and Watch Now or Rent and Watch Later. You may be asked to confirm your purchase.

How to buy or rent movies in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Buy or Rent under How to Watch, Click Buy or Rent and Watch Now or Rent and Watch Later (Image credit: iMore)

How to buy TV shows in the Apple TV app

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Click on a TV show from the Popular Shows section or search for a show title.

How to buy TV shows in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Click on a TV show (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click on an available episode under Seasons.
  2. Click Buy from $2.99.

How to buy TV shows in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click on an available episode, Click Buy from $2.99 (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Buy Episode.
  2. Click Buy. You may be asked to confirm your purchase.

How to buy TV shows in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Buy Episode, Click Buy (Image credit: iMore)

How to buy TV show seasons in the Apple TV app

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Click on a TV show from the Popular Shows section or search for a show title.

How to buy tv shows in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Click on a TV show (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click on Buy Seasons or Buy Season (Number) under How to Watch.
  2. Click Buy Season (Number) for the season that you wish to buy.

How to buy tv shows in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click on Buy Seasons or Buy Season (Number) under How to Watch, Click Buy Season (Number) (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Buy. You may be asked to confirm your purchase.

How to buy tv shows in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Buy (Image credit: iMore)

How to subscribe to Channels in the Apple TV app on Apple TV

In addition to renting, buying, or streaming through an app, you can subscribe directly to select Channels in the Apple TV app. Once subscribed to a Channel, content recommendations will appear in the Watch Now section of the Apple TV app.

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Click on a Channel to which you want to subscribe under Subscribe to Apple TV Channels.

How to subscribe to Channels in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Click on the Channel that you wish to subscribe to (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Subscribe or Try It Free if there is a trial available.
  2. Click Confirm.

How to subscribe to Channels in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Subscribe or Try It Free, Click Confirm (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Confirm with Apple Device or Confirm with Password to confirm your purchase.
    • Confirm with Apple Device allows you to use your iPhone or Apple Watch to make confirmation easier.
    • Confirm with Password requires you to enter your Apple ID and password using the Siri Remote and the onscreen keyboard.

How to subscribe to Channels in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Confirm with Apple Device or Confirm with Password (Image credit: iMore)

How to cancel a Channel subscription on Apple TV

You can unsubscribe to Apple TV Channels at any time, just like you would with any other service you subscribe to through iOS, iPadOS, macOS, or tvOS. All it takes is a click on the Siri Remote.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Click Users and Accounts.

How to cancel a Channel subscription in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch Settings, Click Users and Accounts (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click your User Name.
  2. Click Subscriptions.

How to cancel a Channel subscription in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click your User Name, Click Subscriptions (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click an Active Subscription.
  2. Click Cancel Subscription or Cancel Trial.

How to cancel a Channel subscription in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click an Active Subscription, Click Cancel Subscription or Cancel Trial (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Confirm.

How to cancel a Channel subscription in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click Confirm (Image credit: iMore)

How to watch live sports in the Apple TV app on Apple TV

While you've always been able to watch live sports on tvOS thanks to third-party apps, the Apple TV app has a section dedicated to bringing in the various live games available in those apps into a single place.

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Navigate to the Sports section at the top of the screen.

How to watch live sports in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Navigate to the Sports section at the top of the screen (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click a game that you want to watch.
  2. Click Live Now to begin watching.
    • You may see Open In... if you do not have an app for the game's service provider. Clicking this option will allow you to download the app from the App Store.

How to watch live sports in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click on a game that you wish to watch, Click Live Now (Image credit: iMore)

How to set your favorite sports teams in the Apple TV app

You can select your favorite sports teams to receive notifications when one of their games is on. Your choices for favorite teams will also sync to the TV app on iPhone and iPad.

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Navigate to the Sports section at the top of the screen.

How to set your favorite sports teams in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Navigate to Sports at the top (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Scroll down and click the Pick Your Favorite Teams banner.
  2. Navigate to an available sport.

How to set your favorite sports teams in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Scroll down and click the Pick Your Favorite Teams banner, Navigate to an available sport (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click a team to set it as a favorite.
    • You can select multiple teams from any available sport.
  2. Navigate to Favorites to see all of the teams that you've chosen in one place.

How to set your favorite sports teams in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click on a team to set it as a favorite, Highlight favorites to see all of the teams that you are following (Image credit: iMore)

How to remove a favorite team in the Apple TV app

If you want to stop following a team, you can remove it from your favorites.

  1. Launch the Apple TV app.
  2. Navigate to the Sports section at the top of the screen.

How to remove a favorite team in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch the Apple TV app, Navigate to the Sports section at the top of the screen (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Scroll to the bottom and click on the Your Favorite Teams banner.
  2. Navigate to Favorites.

How to remove a favorite team in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Scroll to the bottom and click the Your Favorite Teams banner, Navigate to Favorites (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click on the favorite that you want to remove.
  2. Click on Remove.

How to remove a favorite team in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click the favorite that you wish to remove, Click Remote (Image credit: iMore)

How to change the function of the Siri Remote TV button

Depending on your preference, you can decide whether or not the Siri Remote's TV button opens the Apple TV app or takes you to the Home screen.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Click Remotes and Devices.

How to add shows and movies to Up Next in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Launch Settings, Click Remotes and Devices (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click TV Button to select whether the TV button should take you to the Apple TV app or the Home screen.

How to add shows and movies to Up Next in the Apple TV app on Apple TV by showing steps: Click TV Button to assign an action (Image credit: iMore)

Find it all in one place with the Apple TV app on Apple TV

Whether you are catching up with the latest movies through Disney+ or binge-watching Ted Lasso via Apple TV+, the Apple TV app makes finding content a breeze. Apple's TV app on the Apple TV puts all of your content in one familiar place so you can jump right in without having to track down which app your show is in or remember how to navigate a clunky menu for a service provider.

Updated March 2022: Updated for tvOS 15.