Apple TV 4: The Unofficial Manual

Apple TV 4: The Unofficial Manual

Apple TV 4 ships with a brief pamphlet, but no real instruction manual. The following collection of articles comprise an unofficial Apple TV 4 manual.

Apple is notorious for shipping products with no manual and limited instructions. Apple products used to be simpler. The typical weighty tome that ships with most tech products was excessive for most Apple devices. Times have changed. Apple products are much more complicated and have hidden features. They expect you to go to the Apple Store for help. This isn’t always convenient.

Apple TV 4 is a huge leap forward. The new TV appliance is much more complicated than previous models. The App Store, Siri and the new tvOS operating system add more complexity to the fourth generation Apple TV.

The new Siri remote is deceptively simple in design. With its Touch surface and just a few buttons, the remote’s controls are overloaded. They can be interacted with in different ways, however, Apple doesn’t really explain this.

It’s up to you to experiment and research to find all of the hidden functionality. The basic features of Apple TV 4 are easy and obvious, but there are a lot of features and tricks that are more obscure.

I own an Apple TV 4 and use it every day. My experiences with Apple TV are the basis for this unofficial manual. This is a work in progress. More sections will be added over time. Click on each section heading to read the associated article.

Getting Started with Apple TV 4

For those who are new to Apple TV 4, this is a good place to start. This article covers unboxing and setting up Apple TV 4, including some tips for placing the device in your home. The article also guides you through the initial setup process. If you are interested in purchasing an Apple TV, this article is also an excellent resource.

Apple TV 4: Using the Siri Remote

The new, fourth generation Apple TV comes with a unique remote. With a glass Touch surface, accelerometer, gyroscope and microphones, it’s almost like a smart phone without a screen. This article covers both basic and advanced use of the Siri remote. Whether you are new to Apple TV or not, you’ll likely find some useful information in this article.

Siri Commands for Apple TV 4

Siri has made an impact on the way we interact with Apple’s technology. The advanced digital personal assistant is now integrated into Apple TV. Siri can operate your television, find content, make recommendations and even look up information. This article is the most comprehensive list of Siri commands for Apple TV.

Apple TV 4: Restrictions and Parental Controls

Apple TV offers content from thousands of providers. Some of this material is not suitable for all viewers. Additionally, Apple’s TV appliance is like a content vending machine in your living room. This article covers how to implement Restrictions and parental controls to protect your family and reign in unauthorized app and content purchases. This is a must-read for any family with young children.

Apple TV tvOS Apps

The newest Apple TV model brings the App Store to your living room. There’s a lot of apps, however, unless you own an Apple TV, it’s not possible to see what’s available… until now. This article presents the top 10 free and paid tvOS apps, in addition to a YouTube video with screen captures of the entire Apple TV App Store. UPDATED MONTHLY

Apple TV 4: Using the App Store

The future of TV is apps. Apple TV 4 introduces tvOS and the App Store. Although the Apple TV App Store may seem familiar, it functions differently from its iOS counterpart. This article covers how to use the App Store, install apps, update apps and delete apps. It also examines how to avoid purchasing poor quality “lemon” apps.

Apple TV 4: Using AirPlay

Not every app is available in the Apple TV 4 App Store. Many networks and content providers available on your iPhone or computer have ignored Apple TV. Fortunately, AirPlay provides the ability to beam just about anything to your Apple TV. In addition to Apple devices, Android, Windows, Linux and ChromeOS all offer AirPlay compatible software. This article explores using AirPlay to beam content from just about any device or computer.

Play Spotify on Apple TV 4

Spotify is the most popular music streaming service. Unfortunately, there is no Spotify app for tvOS. This shouldn’t stop you from enjoying Spotify on your Apple TV. This article covers how to play Spotify on Apple TV. We’ll also take a look at options for displaying album covers, screensavers and settings for optimum sound.

Apple TV 4: Hidden Advanced Setting Menu

The new Apple TV offers a few hidden menus. These menus can only be displayed by using a special remote sequence in specific setting screens. The advanced settings menu, retail demo mode and diagnostics mode are covered in this article. Each setting is clearly explained so the adventurous Apple TV user can tweak their device.

Apple TV 4: Using the Remote App

The Siri Remote is the best way to control your Apple TV, but what happens if it breaks? The glass-faced Siri Remote could shatter if dropped. It’s best to have a back up plan. The Remote app for iOS transforms your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into an Apple TV remote. You need a working remote in order to set up the Remote app. Plan ahead and do this right away. This article shows you how to configure the Remote app and how to use it with iTunes Home Sharing.

Apple TV 4: Watch Live TV with Sling TV

As TV appliances mature and Internet connections get faster, it’s now possible to cancel your cable or satellite subscription. Sling TV makes it even easier to become a cord-cutter. The service provides a live TV channel lineup for Apple TV 4. Although Sling TV is missing a few channels and has limited on-demand options, at $20 per month, it’s a great value. This article is intended for Apple TV 4 owners or those thinking of buying a new Apple TV 4.

Watch News on Apple TV 4

Apple TV 4 offers a universe of content, including free, live streaming news. There’s a lot of options to choose from. This article showcases the best news offerings for tvOS. We’ll also take a look at how to find local news and go beyond the App Store, using AirPlay to beam news programming to Apple TV.

Protecting the Siri Remote

The Siri Remote is one of the most impressive aspects of Apple TV. With its Touch surface, accelerometer, gyroscope and 2 microphones, the Siri Remote has a lot in common with your iPhone. It’s also constructed with a glass face and is very fragile. At $79 it is expensive to replace. This article provides tips for handling, storing and protecting your Siri Remote.

Charging the Siri Remote

The Siri Remote is a sophisticated device. With its accelerometer, gyroscope and Touch surface, it’s not just an ordinary remote. In addition to covering how to charge the Siri Remote, we’ll take a look at how to check the battery level. Information about battery life and charging time is also presented in this article.

Rename Apple TV

If your household has multiple Apple TVs, AirPlay can be a bit confusing. You may also want to provide a reminder whenever you start an AirPlay session. This article covers how to rename your Apple TVs, using both presets and custom naming capabilities.

Apple TV 4: Peer-To-Peer AirPlay Without WiFi

Recent updates enable AirPlay to work without a WiFi network. Using peer-to-peer AirPlay and Bluetooth, it’s possible to beam content to your Apple TV without a WiFi network. This article is essential for road warriors or anyone with an unreliable Internet connection. We’ll also take a look at the limitations of peer-to-peer AirPlay.

Apple TV 4: Using Folders

If you like to keep your Home screens neat and tidy, folders may be right for you. We’ll take a look at two ways of adding apps to folders, renaming folders, moving folders and deleting folders.

Apple TV 4: Using the Home Screen Marquee

Prior to tvOS, the top row of icons could only contain Apple’s apps. These top-row icons influence the behavior of the Home screen marquee. With the advent of tvOS, third-party apps can now use the Home screen marquee, to the benefit of users. Apps such as Netflix and HBO NOW can display popular and recently played videos on the marquee. You can even quickly access a folder’s content using the Home screen marquee. Learn more about how to get the most out of the Home screen marquee feature.

Best Way to Use Apple TV 4

tvOS looks a lot like iOS, however, without a touch screen, icons can be cumbersome. Users often try to navigate the Home screen using the Touch surface, but it’s just not convenient. This article details the best way to use Apple TV, completely bypassing the Home screen and its icons.

Avoid Apple Ecosystem Lock-In

Apple device owners have a tendency to default to iTunes for content purchases. Although iTunes has a lot to offer, your Apple devices can play content from other vendors. This article will help you avoid Apple ecosystem lock-in.

Rent iTunes Movies for 99 Cents

Most high-definition iTunes movie rentals cost $5.99. If you know where to look, you can rent HD iTunes movies for only 99 cents.

PlayStation Vue for Apple TV

Sony’s PlayStation Vue is yet another cable-over-the-Internet service for Apple TV. As with all of these services, there are some limitations. This article is essential for potential cord cutters.

DIRECTV NOW for Apple TV

DIRECTV NOW is a new service offering live-streaming channels on Apple TV. This new service has a few flaws, but is also quite promising. Potential cord-cutters should read this article.

Watch Google Play Movies and TV Shows on Apple TV

Apple TV owners aren’t necessarily locked into a walled garden. It’s possible to watch Google Play movies and TV shows directly on Apple TV, without AirPlay. This article shows you how to watch Google Play purchases and rentals directly on Apple TV.

Watch Free TV Shows and Movies on Apple TV

The transition from TV to streaming, with subscription services and a la carte media purchases, may seem expensive. This isn’t always the case. A lot of streaming providers offer free content, usually supported through advertising. This article presents the most popular free content providers on Apple TV.

Watch Sports on Apple TV

Apple TV features powerful hardware and an efficient operating system far superior to any cable box. These capabilities provide a wealth of interactive content for Apple TV. The new breed of tvOS sports apps offer 60 frames-per-second video and the ability to watch two games at once. They also have some limitations. Learn more about the most popular sports apps for Apple TV.

Google Play Music Tips for Apple TV

Google Play Music is a refreshing alternative to Apple Music. Unfortunately, Google’s music subscription service doesn’t offer a native tvOS app. You can still listen to Google Play Music on Apple TV. This article presents a collection of tips to get the most out of Google Play Music on Apple TV.

Apple TV on a Budget

Potential Apple TV customers are often interested in cancelling cable or satellite and saving money. Apple TV is a specialized computing device and offers far more than any cable box. This article shows you how to get the most out of Apple TV without breaking the bank.

Best Game Controllers for Apple TV

Apple TV is a powerful game console featuring high-resolution graphics and buttery-smooth animation. It actually rivals some of the most venerated game consoles on the market. A game controller opens up a whole new world of possibilities. This meta-review of Apple TV game controllers will help you sort through the crowded marketplace.

Best Free Games for Apple TV

Video games can offer hours of free entertainment on Apple TV. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of ripoffs in the App Store. This article presents the best free video games for Apple TV.

Troubleshooting Apple TV 4

Overall, Apple products offer excellent quality, but they aren’t always perfect. Apple TV 4 is a relatively new device and runs on tvOS, a brand-new operating system. This section provides solutions to common problems with Apple TV 4.

Fix Flickering Apple TV 4

Is your Apple TV 4 causing your TV’s screen to flicker? Rest assured that this probably isn’t a problem with your TV, HDMI cable or Apple TV 4. It’s a defect in tvOS. We’ll take a look at how to fix a flickering Apple TV 4.

Apple TV 4: Fix Blank Screensaver

If your Apple TV 4 screensaver goes blank, this article provides an easy solution.

Fix Frozen Apple TV 4

Your Apple TV may occasionally freeze while using an app or after restarting it. This article covers how to fix a frozen Apple TV 4.

Apple TV 4: Fix WiFi Problems

Apple TV 4 features built-in 802.11ac WiFi capabilities, making it easy to connect to your home wireless network. This article covers how to set up and troubleshoot Apple TV 4 WiFi. Topics covered include Apple TV 4 placement, testing signal strength, optimizing WiFi router configuration and detecting WiFi theft.

Apple TV 4: Fix Distorted Audio

The new Apple TV has a few rough edges. Some users are experiencing distorted audio when playing music, movies and TV shows. Find out how to remedy distorted audio on Apple TV.

Prevent AirPlay from Dropping Out

After a recent AirPlay overhaul, Apple’s media beaming technology isn’t as robust as it used to be. More users are experiencing audio dropouts, especially when beaming music to different rooms. This collection of tips can help eliminate AirPlay audio dropouts.

More to Come

The unofficial Apple TV manual is a work in progress. Sections will be added to the manual as they are written. Make sure to check back often. You can also follow Appledystopia on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. If you find this information helpful, please share it with your friends and family using the sharing buttons. Feel free to leave a comment or request a specific Apple TV 4 topic.

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23 comments

  1. Is there some way to get purchased series to automatically go to the next episode like with Netflix and Amazon Prime? When I watch any tv series I’ve purchased on iTunes, I have to wait a few seconds and then press play again. I haven’t been able to find anything in the settings to change this.

    1. Yes. You can use the Apple TV app on Apple TV to play iTunes purchases. If you’re watching a TV series, the next episode will appear in the “up next” queue, at the top of the Home screen.

      Unfortunately, there is no true “autoplay” feature for iTunes TV shows.

  2. I am learning a lot from your article. Thank you.
    Could you tell me when I cannot connect my hearing aids to Apple TV., so that the sound goes directly to my hearing aids.

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