How to Troubleshoot Apple TV Connection Problems

Follow these simple steps to troubleshoot connection problems

What to Know

  • First key step: leave it for a moment or two then try to connect again.
  • Next steps: reset TV, restart TV, upgrade tvOS, check network connection, restart all connected devices, check Apple Services status.
  • Otherwise, try the following: check for other device interference, sign out of Apple ID, sign out of Wi-Fi network, return TV to factory default.

This article explains how to troubleshoot Apple TV connection problems. Instructions apply to Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD running tvOS 13.3 with the Siri Remote and iTunes on macOS Catalina (10.15). However, they should work on previous hardware and operating systems, although the menu names may be different.

If you get a message saying that Apple TV can't connect to iTunes, don't take the device's word for it: Leave it for a moment or two, and try to connect again. If Apple TV still cannot connect to iTunes (or iCloud), work your way through the following tasks.

Reset a Frozen Apple TV

If your Apple TV has frozen, disconnect it from power, wait 15 seconds, and then plug it in again.

Force Apple TV to Restart

The gold-standard response to most technical problems is to force the device to restart. To force Apple TV to restart, press and hold the Menu and Home buttons on the Siri Remote for about 10 seconds. The white status light on the Apple TV device will flash. When the device has restarted, check to see if your connection problem is resolved.

Menu and Home buttons on Siri Remote for Apple TV

Upgrade tvOS

If you still can't connect to iTunes from your Apple TV, you may need to update the tvOS operating system.

To do so, on your Apple TV, using the Siri Remote, select Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software. If an update is available, download it now, or set the Automatically Update feature to On.

System > Restart button on Apple TV

Confirm That Your Network Is Working

If Apple TV can't download updates or check for new software, then you probably have an internet connection problem. To test your internet connection, on Apple TV, using the Siri Remote, select Settings > Network. Under Connection, make sure the network is correct. Then review the information beneath Status.

Network screen on Apple TV

Restart All Connected Devices

If you're still having trouble with your connection, the next step is to restart your Apple TV, modem, and (if you use one) wireless access point (WAP). Disconnect all the devices from power for a minute or so. Then, plug the devices back in in the following order: modem, WAP, then Apple TV.

Verify That Apple Services Are Working

Sometimes, a fault occurs with Apple's online services. Apple maintains a System Status site that shows the status of all its services. If there's a problem with the service you're trying to use, wait a short time: Apple tends to fix problems quickly. If all the Apple services are working but you're still having trouble, check your internet service provider's service and support page to make sure that your broadband connection is working.

Make Sure Another Device Isn't Interfering With Your Network

If your Apple TV connects to the internet over Wi-Fi, certain electronic devices, such as microwave ovens, Bluetooth speakers, computer monitors, satellite equipment, and cordless telephones, can interfere with the wireless network.

If you’ve recently installed an electronic device that could be generating network interference, try turning it off. If the network problem persists, consider moving the new equipment somewhere else in the house.

Sign out of Your Apple ID

If the network problem is resolved but connectivity to iTunes is still spotty, sign out of your Apple ID on the Apple TV. To do so, perform the following steps on the Apple TV:

  1. Select Settings > Users and Accounts.
  2. On the Users and Accounts screen, beneath Users, select your account.
  3. Beneath Apple TV Accounts, select iCloud > Sign Out.

Follow this same procedure to sign back in to your iCloud account.

Sign out of Your Wi-Fi Network

You can often solve persistent Wi-Fi problems by signing out of your Wi-FI network, then signing back in. To so so, complete the following steps:

  1. Select Settings > Network.
  2. Select your network, and then select click Forget Network.
  3. Restart your Apple TV.

When your Apple TV device is back on, complete the following steps:

  1. Select Settings > Network.
  2. On the Network screen, beneath Connection, select your Wi-Fi network from the list of available networks.
  3. Reenter your Wi-Fi and account details.

Return Your Apple TV to Factory Default Settings

The nuclear option is to reset your Apple TV device to factory defaults. When you do this, you get rid of any software problem that may be ruining your entertainment experience. You also have to set your system up all over again, including reinstalling apps and reentering your passwords.

To reset your Apple TV, complete the following steps:

  • Select Settings > System > Reset.
  • Select Reset.

The process takes a few minutes to finish. When your Apple TV device is back on, follow these steps to set your Apple TV up again.

If you've tried this fixes but are still having trouble with your Apple TV device, contact Apple Support for help.

Was this page helpful?