How to Install Apps on the Apple TV

Get great apps and games on your big screen

One of the best features of the 4th Generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4K is installing your apps and games using an iPhone-style App Store. You aren't limited to channels that Apple approves and automatically installs on your device – which is how previous models worked. You can now choose from thousands of apps and games that provide new options for streaming video, listening to music, playing games, shopping, and more.

If you have an Apple TV and want to install apps on it, read on for step-by-step instructions and time-saving tips.

Instructions in this article apply to fourth-generation Apple TVs and later running tvOS 13 and higher.

How to Find and Install Apps on Apple TV

The process for finding and installing apps on Apple TV is similar to doing it on an iPhone or iPad. That's because tvOS, the operating system that runs the streaming box, is a modified version of the iOS that runs Apple's mobile devices. Here's what to do.

  1. Open the App Store from the Apple TV home screen by selecting it with the remote.

    Apple TV main menu showing the App Store icon
  2. Use the six navigation options at the top of the screen to locate an app you want to add to your Apple TV. The navigations options are:

    • Discover: Contains curated lists of apps and games, along with groups of the most popular ones by category
    • Apps: Shows popular video apps and lets you browse by categories
    • Games: Dedicated to standalone game apps you can download one at a time
    • Arcade: Showcases apps that are part of the Apple Arcade platform, which gives you access to a pre-selected library of games for a single monthly fee
    • Purchased: Lets you browse apps that you've bought or downloaded on other devices that are compatible with Apple TV
    • Search (the magnifying glass): Lets you find an app if you know the app's name already
    App Store screen with search options at the top of the screen

    Regardless of how you find the app you want to download, whether browsing or searching, the instructions for downloading and installing it are the same.

  3. Select an app icon to see more information about it. If you decide you want to add it to your Apple TV, go to the button at the bottom left corner of the screen—it says Get or has a price on it—and click to download the app.

    The Food Network app information screen for Apple TV

    The download button for free apps says Get, and the download button for paid apps displays the price.

  4. A confirmation screen appears verifying the name of the app and its price (if any). Click Get to finalize the purchase.

    Download confirmation on Apple TV

    You must be signed in to your Apple ID to buy apps.

  5. When the Apple TV finishes installing the app, the button's label changes to Open. Either select that to start using the app or go to the Apple TV's home screen. You'll find the app installed there, ready to use.

How to Speed Up Apple TV App Downloads

The process of installing apps on the Apple TV is quick and simple except for entering your Apple ID password.

That step is annoying because using Apple TV's on-screen, one-letter-at-a-time keyboard is cumbersome and slow. While you can enter your password by voice or using the on-screen keyboard in the Remote app, you can skip that step entirely with this tip.

A setting lets you control how often you have to enter your password when downloading apps. You can set it so that you can skip your password entirely. To use it:

  1. Launch the Settings app on the Apple TV.

  2. Select Users and Accounts.

    Apple TV settings showing Users and Accounts option
  3. Select your name under Users.

    Apple TV Users and Accounts screen

    Starting with tvOS 13, Apple TV supports multiple users and Apple IDs.

  4. Under Require Password, tap Purchases.

    Purchase option on Apple TV
  5. On the next screen, choose Never, and you won't have to enter your Apple ID for any purchase.

    Purchase options related to password entry on Apple TV
  6. You can also stop entering your password for free downloads on your Users and Accounts screen by choosing Free Downloads and toggling it to No.

    Users and Accounts options