Fix Flickering Apple TV 4

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You can restart your Apple TV by going to Settings > System > Restart. This may prove difficult if the flickering is severe. In that case, simply hold down the Menu and Home (TV glyph) buttons on the Siri Remote until you see the front light on your Apple TV flash rapidly. Release both buttons when the light starts flashing. Your Apple TV will restart.

When your Apple TV restarts and the Home screen appears, remember to wait. Two minutes seem about right. It all depends on the speed of your Internet connection and Apple’s data center. You want to wait beyond the time it takes for the iTunes Store content to appear in the top marquee. I waited for two minutes after the Home screen appeared, and it worked. The first time I restarted, I used it immediately, and it started flickering again. From what I can remember, this same thing happened when I experienced the problem several months ago.

If rebooting does not solve the problem, it’s possible that your HDMI cable is the culprit. Swap it out with a better cable. Although I own a Monster cable, you’ll probably do fine with any quality cable. Just don’t use the cheapest one you can find. My research revealed that the HDMI cable swap fixed the problem for some people. For others, it didn’t work. My hunch is that they restarted their Apple TV and started using it immediately. They may have done this a few times. The flickering issue will persist across restarts unless you wait. I only recommend looking into the HDMI cable if restarting and waiting doesn’t work.

Other users have reported that doing a full system reset (to factory settings) fixed the problem. I recommend this as a last resort, because you will need to reinstall and reconfigure your apps. You will need to login to Netflix or other video services all over again. It’s a real hassle. Again, I think people did this because they restarted their Apple TV and started using it immediately.

You can restore your Apple TV to factory settings by going to Settings > System > Reset and choosing Reset and Update. Follow the on-screen instructions. When this process has completed, your Apple TV will need to be reconfigured. You’ll have to go through the same initial setup process again. Rest assured, you won’t lose any video game scores or in-app purchases. You still own all of your apps and iTunes purchases. You will simply have to reinstall your apps and re-authenticate with some apps. The App Store displays a list of apps that you own, but aren’t installed on your system. Launch the App Store and view the Purchased screen to view all of the apps you own. You can install them directly from the Purchased screen.

Who’s to Blame?

Participants in online discussions are well aware of the delusional enablement emanating from rabid Apple fanatics. Some people can never blame Apple for problems. They will claim that the app developer is at fault. That’s not the case here. This is due to poor quality assurance by Apple. (continue…)

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    1. Thank you for the positive feedback!

      I try to write what I know, and I have been using Apple TV for over 6 years now. Whenever I find a new tip or trick, I try to share it.

  1. I’m having the same issue. I had a similar issue on my Roku device as well. With the Roku, I believe the issue was heat. I believe this to be the issue with the Apple TV as well. This is perhaps why once you restart your device you have to let it sit for a bit before you start using it again. My apple TV is only 3 weeks old and the glitches are already appearing (this is making me seriously consider returning it).

    1. I’ve had my Apple TV 4 for over two years now, without incident. Although it is the worst Apple product, it is still pretty good by industry standards.

      I don’t think heat is a problem. Last September, we had record breaking temperatures in the SF Bay Area. Most people, including myself, do not have air conditioning. It got up to 115° on the hottest day, and my condo was 96° inside for several hours. I used my Apple TV more than normal, because the heat sapped my stamina. All I could do was sit on the sofa, sweat and watch TV. My Apple TV didn’t even hiccup. I should also note that it is inside an AV cabinet, which makes it get even hotter, yet it did not fail. The 4th generation and newer models are slightly taller than the 2nd and 3rd gen ones. This is because they added a heat sink to the device. Although it has no fan, it works well in the heat. My mom lives in the desert and she also has an Apple TV. Not one fail yet…

      It is more likely that there is a defect with your Apple TV. It happens. I would get it serviced ASAP before the warranty expires. It is also possible that you have a bad HDMI cable. Try swapping it out for another one.

      My issue with the flickering image was due to a bad Internet connection. I have fixed that problem, and it has not returned. I think there was a bug in tvOS that caused it to flicker if the Internet connection was unstable. I haven’t experienced this problem in over a year, so I figure they resolved the defect.

    2. Apple TV Flickering for no reason

      If anyone has ever had the problem where their Apple TV screen keeps flickering, meaning it briefly shows the home screen of the Apple TV, then appears cycle to the TV’s idle screen, and rebooting the Apple TV (even to factory) doesn’t work… I think it’s something to do with power phasing. Your best bet is to reboot the power source that all of the components are plugged into.

      I had the same issue intermittently with the following setup:

      – LG 4K display
      – 4th gen Apple TV plugged into HDMI
      – Sony Soundbar into the display thru HDMI 2

      When the Apple TV started acting up (usually when the subtitles were about 10-20 seconds off) I would reboot the Apple TV. When I did, the Apple TV would come back on, but even the white-on-black Apple boot logo would flicker the screen.

      I finally thought that maybe it was a power phasing issue. All of the devices use their own transformer somewhere in their circuits.

      Before this, no matter what I tried, I never killed the source to all three. The (seemingly) only thing that would work would be to leave the Apple TV unplugged for HOURS and then it would work when I plugged it back in.

      Solution— kill the power source for all of the components hooked to the TV. In my case, it was the power strip. I waited 60 seconds, turned it back on,and it all came back to life perfectly.

      There’s something odd happening with the electricity. I probably have a cheap setup and someone will berate me for it, but… for those who are just in the dark looking for a possible solution… try this. Hopefully it helps!

      1. Thanks for this insightful comment. In my case, it was a poor Internet connection. After moving out of the SF Bay Area (poor Internet everywhere), I no longer see this problem.

        But all problems can have multiple causes. Thank you for this thoughtful comment, Ryan!

      2. Same flickering problem. After restarting the appletv and swapping the cable to no avail, I restarted the appletv with the tv (cheap no name brand) switched off. When I switched the tv back on the flickering was fixed

    3. Just went into Apple TV settings and reset the “video settings” and let it do its stuff and waited a short while and then hey presto, all fixed. Worth a try!

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