Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

There's nothing worse than sitting down to watch a movie on the Apple TV and having streaming issues. Lately a lot of users, including myself, have been having issues in particular with iTunes purchases. From playback errors to excruciatingly long wait times for streaming to start, there are a few things you can try in order to get streaming straightened out and back to full speed again!

1.Check your internet connection

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

Before trying any troubleshooting steps, be sure that your internet connection itself isn't the problem. Your Wi-Fi could be working but not your ISP. You could be connected but bandwidth could be low or packet loss high.

The first thing you can do is go to a site like speedtest.net on one of your computers. If you're getting more than 15 mbps on the download side, you should be able to stream HD video without a problem.

2. Check other services

To make sure iTunes is really where the problem lies, check other streaming services. If nothing works, including iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc., then the problem is likely with your Apple TV itself. If Netflix or Hulu Plus works but not iTunes, then the problem is likely iTunes.

(You can use the same procedure to diagnose Netflix or other streaming services — if iTunes or Hulu Plus works, but Netflix doesn't, Netflix is likely the problem.)

3. Restart your Apple TV

Most Apple TV streaming issues can be fixed by restarting your Apple TV. This can easily be done through the Settings menu.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Apple TV.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Click on Restart, it's located all the way at the bottom of the menu.
  4. Wait for your Apple TV to restart.

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

If your issues persist after the above steps, continue on.

4. Unplug your Apple TV for a minute or two

This is the fix that worked for me, if only temporarily. While many find it only necessary to leave the Apple TV unplugged for 30 seconds or so, I'd recommend unplugging it for a minute or longer. After plugging it back in, try streaming iTunes purchases again. If you're still receiving errors or seeing a long wait time, continue on.

5. Forget and rejoin your Wi-Fi network

Sometimes forgetting your Wi-Fi network and re-joining it solves streaming issues. It's worth a try before going with a complete restore.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Apple TV.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Click on Network.
  4. Click on Wi-Fi. It's the first option and should already be highlighted.
  5. Click on name of the network that you are already connected to.
  6. Click on Forget Network.

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

You can now rejoin the network again and test to see if the issue was resolved. If not, continue on.

6. Reset your Apple TV's settings

Resetting the settings on your Apple TV can sometimes get rid of corrupt files that could be causing the issues.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Apple TV.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Click on Reset, it can be found towards the bottom of the menu.
  4. Click on Reset All Settings.
  5. Wait for your Apple TV to reboot and try streaming again.

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

7. Restore your Apple TV

If none of the above options worked for you, or they only worked temporarily, it may be time to completely restore your Apple TV. While having to type in our passwords and rejoin networks is never ideal, it's worth it if the issues themselves are fixed.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Apple TV.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Click on Reset, it can be found towards the bottom of the menu.
  4. Click on Restore.
  5. Wait for your Apple TV to restore. Be sure you don't unplug it while the restore is in progress.

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

Problems streaming iTunes purchases to Apple TV? Try these fixes!

More help with your Apple TV

If the above suggestions still aren't working for you, or you need help with something else, our iMore forums are a great place to ask. And if you've found another way of getting iTunes purchases to stream more consistently, be sure to let me know that in the comments too!

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

25 Comments
  • Honestly, I became so fed up with AppleTV streaming issues a few months back - Netflix, iTunes, Hulu Plus - that I turned to the Amazon Fire TV and haven't looked back. Haven't had a single streaming issue with Fire TV, or our Xbox One. It's also another reason why I've been purchasing videos from Vudu lately. I've kind of given up waiting on Apple to update the AppleTV hardware line.
  • I sadly have to agree. We have moved (back) to the PS3 for streaming, and keep the AppleTV around just if AirPlay. Sent from the iMore App
  • I've been super irritated lately too - unfortunately I have hundreds and hundreds of dollars of movies purchased in iTunes over the years that I'd like to be able to watch without waiting an hour :\
  • I've even tried using Ethernet but I am sure a lot of these problems are to do with the last few updates of iOS on the Apple TV. I've even been half way through watching something and it will drop out of it as if I had pressed the 'menu' button and if I airplay something or use the Apple TV to listen to something such as music or an audio book the Apple TV will power itself down as if it is not doing anything and then start back up again. All these issues only occurred after the Apple TV's version of iOS 8 (whatever it is referred to) was delivered to it. I've tried all sorts of things and the problems just continue. I've even started using the old Roku and Chromecasts again because they don't have these issues but I prefer AppleTV. Hopefully Apple will roll out a fix or find out what is wrong.
  • I would agree. We have 3 Apple TVs in our home. Two of them are the older Apple TV 2 models that didn't receive the iOS 8 update. Those have zero issue streaming iTunes purchases. Only the newer model has the problem.
  • You only wait an hour??? I stopped trying after waiting 3-7 hours!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Why I buy tons of music through iTunes, I have avoided buying any movies or TV shows there for that reason -- while I don't think Apple is going to have a PlaysForSure-type debacle, I am leery of buying heavily into content that is locked to one system.* * Yes, I have heard of tools like NoteBurner, though have never tried them.