Apple TV troubleshooting: the complete guide in 2021

With Apple TVs, you’ll not only enjoy videos in 4K HDR but also with Dolby Atmos sound. You will view crisper images and realistic colors in greater detail.

With features like AirPlay, you can share your videos from the Photos app on your iPad or iPhone to your Apple TV in their full resolution. But in some cases, Apple TV fails to work, forcing you to find a fix in order to continue using it.

You can encounter different Apple TV issues during normal use. For example, an Apple TV can fail to respond to the remote or it can turn on but won’t show pictures.

In other instances, it can fail to connect to a Wi-Fi network. When such problems occur, you have to figure out how to fix them.

How to troubleshoot Apple TV

Here are several issues with Apple TV and how to troubleshoot them.

1. TV not responding to remote control

Problems with your Apple TV remote can be solved through several methods such as:

  • If you are using a Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote, charge it for 30 minutes using a Lightning to USB cable and a USB wall charger. If you are using an Apple Remote, replace the batteries.
  • Ensure to use the remote within the range of your device.
  • Move any obstacle that is blocking the path between the remote and the front of your TV.
  • Unplug the TV from the wall power outlet. Then wait at least ten seconds before plugging it back in.
  • Check to determine whether you have turned Accessibility features ON. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility.
  • Try to pair your Siri or Apple TV remote again by pointing it three inches away from your device. Then press and hold the Menu and Volume Up buttons for ten seconds to complete pairing.
  • Another option is to restart your Apple TV from settings. Go to Settings > System (or General) > Restart.

If that does not work, unplug your Apple TV from the power source, wait for about six seconds, then plug back in the cord.

2. How to reboot Apple TV

To reboot your Apple TV:

  • Press and hold the Menu and Home buttons on the Siri remote. The Apple TV status light will blink rapidly.
  • Disconnect your Apple TV from the power outlet.
  • Wait for about ten seconds, then reconnect it.
  • Open Settings on Apple TV, go to System and select Restart.
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The above steps apply for Apple TVs running tvOS 12.0 and higher.

3. TV turns on but doesn’t show pictures

The first step to fixing this problem is to determine whether the status light is OFF. Do the following:

  • Press Menu on your remote.
  • Unplug the power cable.
  • Wait for about 30 seconds.
  • Plug back in the power cable.
  • Consider using a different power outlet when plugging back in the cord. The status light should be ON.

If the status light is ON, but you do not see any video:

  • Unplug the HDMI cable from both ends.
  • Plug them back in firmly.
  • Turn off the TV and unplug the power cable.
  • Plug back in the power cord and turn the TV ON.
  • Go to the television Menu and choose the HDMI input that matches the HDMI port connected to your TV.

Your TV could also turn ON, but the status light is flashing. Consider restoring your Apple TV. Go to Settings > System > Reset > Reset or Reset and Update.

If your TV is ON, but you see a black screen with sound, here is what you can do:

  • Hold the Menu and Volume Down buttons for five seconds.
  • Release the buttons.
  • Your TV will switch to a new video resolution.
  • Select OK to choose an applicable resolution.

You can also cancel the option and go with the default resolution.

4. Fix no signal on Apple TV

You can troubleshoot no signal issues on your Apple TV in different ways:

  • Disconnect and reconnect both ends of the HDMI cable.
  • Alternatively, hold Menu and Volume Down or Up (depending on your model) buttons for five seconds.
  • Your Apple TV will cycle through several video modes.
  • Hold each button for 20 seconds.

When you get a picture, select OK to stop the cycle.

5. Reset Apple TV

If your device is not responding to different fixes, try to reset it to factory settings:

  • Open Settings on Apple TV.
  • Go to System.
  • Select Reset.
  • Choose the Reset option.

Note that the Reset option will delete all settings on your Apple TV. You can also choose Reset and Update. This will return your device to factory default and install software updates.

If you are using a third-generation Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Reset. Choose Reset All Settings to erase all the settings or Restore to return your Apple TV to factory settings and install new software updates.

6. TV won’t connect to Wi-Fi

You can fix Apple TV streaming problems in different ways:

  • Ensure you have connected your internet router to the modem and powered the devices.
  • Keep your Apple TV with a small range of the router.
  • If you are using Wi-Fi, ensure you have entered the right password or selected a compatible Wi-Fi network.
  • If you are using a Wi-Fi network that requires an additional or secondary login, the device will not connect to the network. Change the network or remove the additional security.
  • Restart your Apple TV, modem, and router, and try again.
  • Check with your ISP to determine whether there is an outage in your area.
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You can also use an Ethernet cable to connect to the internet. We recommend the DbillionDa Store Cat-8 cable if you don’t have one.

7. 4K TV keeps buffering

When your Apple TV 4K keeps buffering, it becomes challenging for you to stream a video or download media content. You can do several things to find a solution.

Run a speed test

The first step is to confirm that your ISP speed is fast and stable enough to play 4K videos uninterrupted.

Go to speedtest.net and check if the speed is at least 15 Mbps, which is required to stream 4K media content without constant buffering. If it is below 15 Mbps, call your ISP for troubleshooting.

Check your wireless network

Consider checking your wireless network to ensure you have a strong connection. Your router should be in range and unhindered from transmitting wireless signals.

You can also disconnect your Apple TV from the Wi-Fi network, forget it, and go through the setup again. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Go to Settings on your Apple TV.
  • Select General.
  • Go to Network.
  • Select Wi-Fi.
  • Pick the wireless network you have connected to your device.
  • Click Forget.

You will have to scan for Wi-Fi and reconnect to the network. If this has been happening for a prolonged period, then you need a new router that is cable of streaming quality content without buffering.

We have, therefore, listed the best 4k routers for streaming. Check them out to determine what works best for you.

Reset your Apple TV 4K

Resetting your Apple TV 4K will return it to factory default. It will delete all settings you had entered and data. Follow the steps outlined in section five to reset the device.

Another option is to power-cycle your Apple TV, router, and modem. You will then have to restart them and observe whether it fixes the issue.

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Sometimes you may experience constant buffering because the service you are accessing or the app you are using to stream the video has an error. It can happen if its servers are down.

That means the issue has nothing to do with your Apple TV, router, modem, or ISP.

Here’s a more detailed guide to fix the Apple TV buffering issue.

8. TV won’t update

Updating your Apple TV ensures you are getting the latest software and new features. But if the device is not updating, here is what you should do:

  • Ensure that you have connected the device to a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network.
  • Ensure your internet connection is stable and the speed is above zero.
  • If the update progress bar appears stuck or paused, do not unplug your Apple TV. Give it more time to complete the update. If it remains the same for more than an hour, contact Apple Support. Avoid restarting or unplugging the device.
  • Your Apple TV may encounter an issue when updating. In that case, you will see a message asking you to Erase All Settings or Restart. Consider restarting the TV first. If the message appears again, choose to Erase All Settings.

If the update fails, unplug the device, plug it back in, and try updating the software again.

9. TV keeps losing HDMI signal

Troubleshoot this issue by following the steps below:

  • Use a different HDMI port on your TV. Consider starting with HDMI 1 or Input 1.
  • Consider using a different HDMI cable to determine if the initial one is causing problems.

If you are using an HDMI switch or receiver, determine whether one of the devices is causing the problem. In this case:

  • Connect your Apple TV directly to the television and bypass the HDMI switch or receiver. If the HDMI signal is stable, connect the switch or receiver one at a time.

When adding the devices, check to ensure you are not losing any HDMI signals. You can also use the steps above to try and fix the intermittent black screen.

If these options do not work, then your HDMI cable could be the source of the problem. Switch to a quality cable like the Ivanky 4K HDMI cable to fix the issue.

Conclusion

If your Apple TV is not working, you can troubleshoot the problem in different ways. For example, power-cycle your device and try again.

If the device does not update, check to ensure you have a stable internet connection. Whenever your Apple TV fails to respond to the remote, check the batteries or replace them with new ones.

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