How to find your Apple TV's serial numberSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

Best answer: Yes, if you care about having the best possible picture and have a TV that can take advantage of the picture quality Apple TV 4K (2021) can produce. If not, sticking with your Apple TV 4K (2017) won't have you missing out on much.

Better picture is possible with the Apple TV 4K (2021)

If you already have the Apple TV 4K (2017), you may be wondering if you should upgrade to the Apple TV 4K (2021)? While the changes between the two devices are slim, there's no question that the Apple TV 4K (2021) can produce a better picture. Does that make the new Apple TV 4K (2021) the best Apple TV? Let's break it down.

Category Apple TV 4K (2021) Apple TV 4K (2017)
Processor A12 Bionic A10X
HDMI HDMI 2.1 HDMI 2.0
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 5
Dolby Vision Yes Yes
Dolby Atmos Yes Yes
Storage 32GB or 64GB 32GB or 64GB

The Apple TV 4K (2021) has an HDMI 2.1 port, which allows the Apple TV to put out 4K HDR video at 60fps. The HDMI 2.0 port found on the older model can't do this. Also, if you happen to have an iPhone 12, you can AirPlay Dolby Vision 4K video at 60fps to the Apple TV 4K (2021).

The big caveat to all of this is you need a TV that can support 4K HDR video at 60fps if you want to truly take advantage of the new capabilities of the Apple TV 4K.

Faster processor, but it may not matter

Another major difference between the two models is the Apple TV 4K (2021) comes with the A12 Bionic chip. That's definitely an improvement over the A10X you find in the Apple TV 4K (2017).

If you just use your Apple TV to watch your favorite content, you likely won't notice too much of a difference with the faster processor. However, if you're a big Apple Arcade fan, your games should run much more smoothly on the A12 Bionic.

Wi-Fi 6

If you've got a Wi-Fi 6 router in your home, then you'll be happy to know that the Apple TV 4K does support Wi-Fi 6 instead of just Wi-Fi 5 like the older model. Much like the picture quality, this only really matters if you have the ability to make use of it.

The new Siri Remote is compatible with both models

A big part of the new Apple TV 4K (2021) is that it comes with the new Siri Remote. The remote ditches the all-glass design of the previous version and comes complete with must and power buttons.

The good news is the new Siri Remote can be bought separately, and it works with the Apple TV 4K (2017), so if you don't think the new model is worth the upgrade, you can still snag the improved remote.

Our pick

Apple TV 4K 2021

Apple TV 4K (2021)

Minor, but welcome improvements

There's no doubt that the Apple TV 4K (2021) can produce a better picture than the previous model; however, that will only make a difference if you have a TV that can support it. The A12 Bionic inside will make it faster, making Apple Arcade run more smoothly, and the addition of Wi-Fi 6 is nice if you have a Wi-Fi 6 router.

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