The 12 Best Apple TV Apps

Do more than cut the cord with these cool apps

Your Apple TV comes pre-loaded with some useful apps, such as apps for accessing Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV—the company's own streaming service. However, there are far more great apps out there for your Apple TV, providing you know where to look.

We've researched and created the best Apple TV apps list showing you what apps are on Apple TV, and why they're worth downloading. Some even provide services like free movies on Apple TV, while others provide great educational benefits.

01
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Best Movie Streaming App: Netflix

Netflix app on Apple TV
What We Like
  • Great exclusive content.

  • Easy to use app.

  • Good for adults and kids alike.

What We Don't Like
  • It's a subscription service.

Netflix is a great service wherever you use it, but it makes perfect sense to have it installed on your Apple TV. It offers thousands of different movies and TV shows, including exclusives like Stranger Things. There's no shortage of content for young and old alike, and you can watch content in 4K too, providing you have an Apple TV 4K and a subscription to the service.

02
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Best Streaming App for Kids: Disney+

Disney Plus app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Extensive Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars content.

  • Perfect content for all the family.

What We Don't Like
  • App design could be sleeker.

  • It's a subscription service.

Disney+ is the home of all the biggest franchises, from Star Wars to Marvel and every Disney movie you can think of. It's perfect for family homes with kids of all ages keen to lose themselves in the magic of Disney. The app is simple to use but lacks a few finer details that other streaming services may offer, but it's early days yet.

03
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Best Cable TV Replacement App: HBO Now

HBO Now on Apple TV
What We Like
  • No need for cable TV subscription.

  • Major TV hits available here.

What We Don't Like
  • Subscription is required.

  • App is dated.

If you're keen to cut the cables but also want the benefits of cable TV, HBO NOW is the place to go. For $14.99 a month, you get access to big TV hits like Watchmen, His Dark Materials, and Last Tonight with John Oliver, along with old favorites like Game of Thrones and Chernobyl. The app is a little rudimentary at times, but you can't beat it for quality content.

04
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Most Popular Music App: Spotify

Spotify app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Seemingly never ending supply of music.

  • Podcasts also included.

  • Easy to use interface.

What We Don't Like
  • You need to subscribe to avoid adverts.

It makes sense to try Apple Music, but many users prefer the app interface of Spotify. It offers a vast wealth of music as well as podcasts, to the point you'll feel like you'll never run out of music to listen to. Occasional adverts appear between songs, but it's a small price to pay for a service that's amazing value for all. 

05
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Best Sports App: ESPN

ESPN On Apple TV
What We Like
  • Plenty of sporting content.

  • Can follow your favorite team.

  • Exclusive content.

What We Don't Like
  • Subscription is required to get the most from it.

  • App can be clunky.

If you want to stay on top of all the latest news about your favorite sports teams, then ESPN is the place to go. It offers the basics like scores and on-demand news, but it also provides highlights and expert analysis of all the major plays. The app is occasionally a little glitchy on the Apple TV and you need to subscribe to watch live sports, but there's enough free content to make it worthwhile.

06
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Best Video Streaming App: YouTube

Youtube app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Easy to use.

  • Millions of videos to view.

What We Don't Like
  • You have to view ads between content.

Designed like the YouTube Smart TV app, YouTube is a dream to use on the Apple TV. Fast and intuitive, you can seek out millions of videos to watch at any time. There are advice videos, vlogs, music streaming channels, movie trailers, and so much more. It's a vast world that means in many ways, you don't actually need any other form of entertainment. It's super simple to save your favorites for later reference, as well as create your own playlists. 

07
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Best Network Streaming App: VLC

VLC app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Can stream content between different devices.

  • Plenty of support for different file types.

What We Don't Like
  • Not newbie friendly.

  • Takes some set up to perfect.

VLC isn't like other streaming services because it's mostly aimed at those who stream content in their home. If you have a network hard drive, for instance, you can use VLC to stream content from that to your Apple TV. It supports all video and audio formats so you don't have to worry about converting files beforehand. The app is simple to use, but setting it up can be a little fiddly unless you know your way around networks.

08
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Best Game Streaming App: Twitch

Twitch app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Can easily view gamers streaming content.

  • Clear interface.

  • Also streams cookery and art shows.

What We Don't Like
  • Some content can be offensive.

Game streaming is big business these days because it's a lot of fun watching personalities stream their favorite games. The whole process is a more social event than it used to be with millions of different streamers covering a multitude of different games. The Twitch app is as simple to use as YouTube making it easy to find your favorites on your Apple TV, before getting involved in chat sessions. Just watch out for some inappropriate content if you have young eyes looking.

09
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Best Cooking App: Kitchen Stories

Kitchen Stories app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Thousands of free recipes.

  • Informative instructional videos.

  • Plenty of free content.

What We Don't Like
  • Some content does require in-app purchases.

For when you need inspiration in the kitchen, there's Kitchen Stories. It looks a delight, clearly highlighting the recipes available, ensuring they look attractive at all times while giving insight on how to achieve the desired look. The app works as intuitively as any other part of the Apple TV so anyone can get to grips with finding useful tutorials and meal ideas. It's all very appealing.

10
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Best Educational App: TED

TED app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Thousands of inspiring videos.

  • Watch later mode.

  • Surprise Me feature is fun and useful.

What We Don't Like
  • Search tool is flaky. 

TED is a fantastic resource for inspirational talks about all kinds of subjects. You can learn a lot from the many talks from inspirational figures—both famous and not so famous. Its search function can be temperamental, but its Surprise Me feature makes up for it, allowing you to discover subjects you never thought you wanted to learn about. 

11
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Best App for Space Fans: Earthlapse 4K

Earthlapse 4K app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Fantastic views from space.

  • 4K quality.

  • Relaxing soundtracks.

What We Don't Like
  • It costs $2.

Making a change from the usual screensavers that the Apple TV provides is Earthlapse 4K. It depicts images from space on your Apple TV, all in glorious 4K HDR. Essentially, it's like looking out the window from the International Space Station. It's relaxing, fascinating and centers the mind perfectly. The app is a perfect palate cleanser from the world. 

12
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Best Party App: Smule—The Social Singing App

Smule songbook app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Plenty of content.

  • Ideal party app.

  • Can sing alone or with others.

What We Don't Like
  • Subscription needed for full playlist.

  • Doesn't make you a great singer.

For those secret karaoke fans, there's Smule—The Social Singing App. You can sing or dance along to huge music hits with people from around the world—from Ed Sheeran to the Frozen soundtrack. Some content requires a subscription, but there's enough here for free that anyone can dive straight into it. The app is very easy to use and also offers video filters and the option to make your own music video. It's fun for the whole family.