Tip: How to manually "mark as watched" on Apple TV

Wondering how to manually force your movies, TV shows, and podcasts to be "mark as watched" on your Apple TV? You might be considering the current Apple TV (2010) is really, really buggy about doing it automatically. Watch something and it's a coin toss as to whether or not Apple TV realizes it. Hopefully Apple will fix it in the upcoming iOS update. Either way, when Apple TV fails, we'll show you how to do it yourself after the break.

Here's how to manually "mark as watched" on your Apple TV:

  • Highlight the movie, TV show, or Podcast you want to mark as watched
  • Press and hold down the menu button
  • A popup will appear asking you to "Mark as watched" or Cancel
  • Click the menu button again

And you're done.

It's extra steps, yes. It's annoying, for sure. But even if/when Apple fixes the bug it can come in handy, especially for old content you've added to your Mac or Windows iTunes collection that you want to have handy but isn't really new or "unwatched".

Bonus tip: If you've added a ton of old content, say a bunch of home movies you've ripped, it's much fasted to go to iTunes on your Mac or PC, select it all, right click, and choose "mark as watched" right in iTunes.

Let us know how this tip works out for you, and as always, ask any questions you have in the comments below or get even more help in our Apple TV Forum!

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • In iTunes we have the ability to set it up so that our media starts at a specified point (ex. 5 seconds) into the movie. Can we transfer these settings to Apple TV? If not, is there a way to specify it on the actual device?
  • Yeah, I've noticed this bug. Good tip.
    But is that really true that the new Apple TV will be updated, too? I know that the Apple TV 2G is running iOS, but it's clearly a different version.
  • Thanks for sharing the tip. Though I had already found this tip when I reported this to ya, it will be a nice tip for others. I wish I would have known about this a week or 2 ago.
    Thanks again Rene. Keep the tips coming.
  • Matthew, I imagine the Apple TV will have to be updated to support AirPlay video from iPads/iPhones.
  • this never works for me. clicking mark was watched just throws me back to the main menu and does not actually mark it as watched