How to Use the Apple TV App Store

Download apps on your Apple TV with ease

A selection of apps available in the Apple TV App Store.

luis2500gx/Pixabay

The Apple TV streaming box supports hundreds of apps and games to keep you entertained. However, they don't come preloaded on the hardware. That's what the onboard Apple TV App Store is for. It houses all of the major streaming services and other great apps you may not have heard of. Here's how to get the goods on your Apple TV.

These instructions apply to the Apple TV 4 and newer running tvOS 9 or above.

Finding the Apple TV App Store

Getting to where all the content lives takes a single tap on your Apple TV's Home screen.

The home page of the Apple TV App Store.
 Apple

Using your Siri Remote or the Remote app on your iOS device, select the App Store icon — the blue rectangle with the big "A" on it.

Navigating the Apple TV App Store

Once you're in, you'll see several tabs along the top of the screen: Featured, Top Charts, Categories, Purchased, and Search. You can move around by swiping up, down, left, and right on the Glass Touch surface of your Siri Remote and clicking to select menus and icons. You can get to previous screens by pressing the Menu button.

Featured

The Featured tab is the best place to start if you aren't quite sure what you're looking for and could use some advice. This tab includes some curated collections of popular apps arranged in loose categories. "What to Watch" is where you'll grab the major streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, as well as the official apps for big networks.

The menu tabs in the Apple TV App Store
Apple 

If you're looking for something to play on your Apple TV, you'll want to check out "Games We Love" for some popular entertainment apps Apple has chosen to showcase. Lower down, you'll see more general categories like "Games" and the "TV Providers" box that will let you take advantage of the Single Sign-On feature to link your TV provider with your Apple TV.

Top Charts

The Top Charts tab is a good place to start if you want to take a look at the most popular downloads for every category. If you want to look for the music apps everyone's using, for example, you can scroll down to that heading.

The Top Charts tab in the Apple TV App Store.
Apple

Top Charts also has its own tabs: Top Free, Top Paid, and Top Grossing. The three will give you an idea of where Apple TV owners are spending their time (and money).

Categories

The Categories tab is handy if you generally know what you're looking for, but don't need all the lists. Once you've selected the category you want to browse, you'll see a simplified version of the Featured tab with just a curated list of top apps and some highlighted ones along the top of the screen.

Purchased

The Purchased tab is good if you want to see if apps you've already downloaded also have Apple TV versions. On the left side of the screen, you'll see Recent Purchases, Recently Updated, Not on This Apple TV, and All Apps. Below that, you'll see a breakdown of everything you have by category.

The most useful field here is "Not on This Apple TV." It will show you apps you already own that are ready to download to your Apple TV.

If you've already paid for an app on another device, you won't have to buy it again on the Apple TV.

Search

The Search tab is for when you know exactly what you're looking for. You'll see a keyboard entry along the top of the screen and some trending searches at the bottom.

To use the keyboard, swipe down from the tab menu until the letter "a" is highlighted. You have three options here:

  • Siri Remote: Swipe left and right along the Glass Touch surface above the Menu and Home keys to highlight letters one at a time, then click them to enter them into the search box.
  • Type on an iOS device: If your iPhone or iPad are handy and signed into the same Apple ID as your Apple TV, a prompt will appear on the lock screen. Select the notification to open a keyboard on your iOS device, and whatever you type there will automatically appear in the search box on your TV.
The Apple TV keyboard on iOS.
  • Dictate: With this option, you don't have to type anything at all. If you hold down the microphone button on your Siri Remote, you can speak your search terms. As soon as you release the button, whatever you said will appear in the box.

How to Download Apple TV Apps

Once you've found the app you're looking for, it's time to download it to your Apple TV.

  1. Select the app icon.

    This will take you to a page where you can read a quick summary or swipe down to view screenshots, check out user reviews and ratings, and see what kinds of in-app purchases it has.

  2. When you're ready to download the app, highlight and select Get, Buy, or Install.

    Free apps will have an arrow pointing down and say "Get," paid apps will say "Buy," and apps you've already downloaded will have a cloud with an arrow pointing down and say "Install."

  3. You'll be taken to a confirmation page where you can either confirm or cancel your selection.