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 that you can now install your own apps and games using an iPhone-style App Store. Instead of being limited to "channels" 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 your Apple TV home screen.

    Settings App in tvOS
  2. Along the top of the screen, you'll see six navigation options.

    • 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 — (which looks like a magnifying glass) lets you find an app if you know the name of it already.
    Apple TV App Store front page
  3. Regardless of how you find the app you want to download — whether browsing or searching — the instructions for installing it are the same.

  4. When you reach an app's page, a button in the lower-left corner of the screen will let you download it.

    Navigate to the button using your remote and click to download it.

    Free apps' buttons will say Get, and paid apps' buttons will display the price.

    Food Network app page on Apple TV
  5. A confirmation screen will appear verifying the name of the app and its price (if any). Click Get to finalize the purchase.

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

    Purchase confirmation screen
  6. When 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 pretty quick and pretty simple, except for one thing: entering your Apple ID password.

That step can be really annoying because using Apple TV's onscreen, one-letter-at-a-time keyboard is cumbersome and slow. While you can enter your password by voice or using the onscreen 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 even set it so that you can skip your password. To use it:

  1. Launch the Settings app on the Apple TV.

  2. Select Users and Accounts.

    Users and Accounts
  3. Select your name under Users.

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

    Users and Accounts
  4. Under Require Password, tap Purchases.

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

    Purchases options
  6. You can also stop entering your password for free downloads on your user screen by clicking Free Downloads to toggle it to No.