How to Set Up the Apple TV With Your iPhone

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How to Set Up the Apple TV With Your iPhone

4th Gen. Apple TV
image credit Apple Inc.

Last Updated: Nov. 16, 2016

Setting up the 4th generation Apple TV isn't hard, but it involves a lot of steps and some of those steps are really tedious. Luckily, if you've got an iPhone, you can cut out the most annoying steps and speed through the set-up process. 

What makes the set up so annoying is typing using the Apple TV's onscreen keyboard. Set up requires logging into your Apple ID, Wi-Fi network, and other accounts using the onscreen keyboard, where you use the remote to select one letter at a (very, very slow) time. 

But if you've got an iPhone, you can skip most of the typing and save time. Here's how.

Requirements

  • 4th generation Apple TV
  • iPhone or iPad running iOS 9.1 or higher (not including iPad 2)
  • Bluetooth enabled on the iOS device
  • Physical proximity between the iPhone and Apple TV

If you've met these requirements, follow these steps to set up your Apple TV the quickest way possible:

  1. Begin by plugging your Apple TV into a power source and connecting it to your TV (in whatever way you prefer; it can be a direct connection, through a receiver, etc.)

Continue to the next page for the next set of steps.

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Choose To Set Up Apple TV Using Your iOS Device

Set up Apple TV with iPhone, step 1
Choose to set up using your iPhone to cut out annoying steps.

Once your Apple TV has booted up, you'll have a series of steps to follow:

  1. Pair your remote to the Apple TV by clicking the touchpad on the Apple TV remote
  2. Select the language you'll use the Apple TV in and click the touchpad
  3. Select the location where you'll use the Apple TV and click the touchpad
  4. On the Set Up Your Apple TV screen, select Set Up with Device and click the touchpad
  5. Unlock your iOS device and hold it a few inches away from the Apple TV.

Continue to the next page to find out what to do next.

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Apple TV Set Up Steps Using iPhone

Set up Apple TV with iPhone, step 2
Here's the time savings: Set up on your iPhone.

Turn your attention away from the Apple TV for a minute. The next steps—the ones that save you all the time—take place on your iPhone or other iOS device.

  1. On the iPhone's screen, a window pops up asking if you want to set up the Apple TV now. Click Continue
  2. Sign into your Apple ID. This is one of the places this approach saves time. Instead of having to type out your username on one screen and your password on another on the TV, you can use the iPhone's keyboard to do that. This adds the Apple ID to your Apple TV and signs you into iCloud, the iTunes Store, and the App Store on the TV
  3. Choose whether you want to share diagnostic data about your Apple TV with Apple. There's no personal information shared here, just performance and bug data. Tap No Thanks or OK to continue
  4. At this point, the iPhone not only adds your Apple ID and other accounts to your Apple TV, but it also grabs all the Wi-Fi network data from your phone and adds it to your TV: it automatically finds your network and signs into it, which is another big time savings.
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Apple TV Set Up: Location Services, Siri, Screensavers

Set up Apple TV with iPhone, step 3
Choose your settings for Location Services, Siri, and screensaver.

At this point, the action returns to your Apple TV. You can set down your iPhone, pick up the Apple TV remote, and keep going.

  1. Choose whether to enable Location Services. This isn't as crucial as on the iPhone, but it provides some nice features like local weather forecasts, so I recommend it
  2. Next, enable Siri. It's an option, but the Siri features are part of what make the Apple TV so terrific, so why would you turn them off?
  3. Choose whether to use Apple's Aerial screensavers or not. These require a big download—about 600 MB/month—but I think they're worth it. They're beautiful, scenic, slow-motion videos shot by Apple specifically for this use.
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Apple TV Set Up: Diagnostics, Analytics, Start Using Apple TV

Set up Apple TV with iPhone, step 5
The home screen of an Apple TV that's ready for use.

The last set of steps to complete before you can start using the Apple TV are minor:

  1. Choose to share diagnostic data with Apple or not. As noted earlier, this doesn't have personal data in it, so it's up to you
  2. You can choose to share, or not, the same kind of data with app developers to help them improve their apps
  3. Lastly, you have to agree to the Apple TV's Terms and Conditions to use it. Do so here.

And with that, you're done! You'll be delivered to the Apple TV's home screen and can start using the device to watch TV and movies, play games, install apps, listen to music, and more. And, thanks to your iPhone, you got it done in fewer steps and with less annoyance than if you'd just used the remote. Enjoy your Apple TV!

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