Apple TV 4 features breathtaking high-definition aerial screensavers. Unfortunately, a defect may have your Apple TV 4 displaying a blank screen instead. This article covers how to fix a blank screensaver on Apple TV 4.
The fourth generation Apple TV is a remarkable device. I replaced my aging Apple TV 2 with an Apple TV 4. Overall, I am satisfied with my new Apple TV 4, but it’s far from perfect. In fact, I feel that it doesn’t live up to Apple’s reputation for top quality products.
Apple is not a monolith. The team that created Apple TV 4 is different from the groups that work on the iPhone and Mac. Apple is not going to put their best and brightest employees to work on a TV appliance. Apple TV 4 users can see the results. For the most part, the device works well enough to enjoy TV shows, movies, music and apps. I use mine every night. Unfortunately, like many Apple TV 4 users, I find myself restarting the device at least once a day.
Restarting Apple TV will fix most problems, however, it won’t fix the issue with the blank screen saver. Let’s take a look at how to fix this problem and possible causes.
How to Fix the Blank Screen Saver on Apple TV 4
The high-definition screensavers bundled with Apple TV 4 are a popular feature. If you are suddenly presented with a blank, black screen, this is due to a defect in tvOS. Fortunately, this can be easily remedied.
For the purpose of this article, I am assuming most people prefer the aerial screensavers. If you are experiencing a problem with a different screensaver, follow the same directions, but just select a different screensaver. Basically, this problem is fixed by selecting and previewing a different screensaver, and then returning to the original screensaver.
First, launch the Settings app from the home screen or ask Siri to “launch Settings”. Click on General > Screensaver to display the Screensaver menu. Next, click on Type to display the Screensaver Type menu.
You will need to temporarily change the screensaver in order to fix this problem. Select Apple Photos and click on Animals. Next, tap the menu button twice to return to the main Screensaver menu. Scroll down and click on Preview. You should see the Animals screen saver. Press the Menu button to return to the Screensaver menu.
Now that the screensaver has been changed, you can reset it back to your preferred setting. Click on Type in the Screensaver menu and then pick Aerial. Press the menu button twice to return to the Screensaver menu. Scroll down and click on Preview. You should now see the Aerial screensaver. Your screensaver will now work properly. You will no longer be presented with a blank screen.
Why Does Apple TV 4 Show a Blank Screen?
The problem with the blank screensaver surfaced after I downloaded, installed and used an app from the App Store. I noticed that, after I had used this app, the screensaver would only display a blank screen. It is unclear if this problem is specific to installing certain apps. I haven’t experienced the problem with any other app.
I can only speculate as to what caused this problem. Unfortunately, tvOS is not open source, so I can’t look at the code. I believe that installing and using the app may have either changed an internal value setting or cleared the cache where screensavers are stored. This issue can’t be fixed by restarting Apple TV, so it seems that some persistent change was made which caused cached data to be overwritten.
This is not a severe issue. The blank screensaver will protect your TV screen from damage. Unless you have a plasma television, it is unlikely that your display will be ruined by a persistent, static image anyway. It is possible, but the image would need to be displayed for several hours. Newer LCD and LED displays are not easily damaged by persistent, static images. That said, most Apple TV 4 users like the aerial screensavers and don’t want to see a blank screen.
We can only hope a future tvOS update will fix this problem. This is not a frequent issue, and it has only happened to me once. I also haven’t installed that many apps on my Apple TV. I expect that people who install a lot of apps will experience this problem more often. Fortunately, this problem is easy to fix and you can go back to enjoying those gorgeous HD aerial screensavers.