How to Share Apple TV Apps

You Can Automate App Downloads

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks Apple TV, Stephen Lam, Getty Images News.
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks Apple TV, (Stephen Lam, Getty Images News).

With over 10,000 apps now available for Apple TV, Apple makes it much easier to download Apple TV apps, though it remains impossible to share apps with others from the system. Here is everything you need to access and share Apple TV apps.

iTunes Links

When the Apple TV first appeared it was not possible to share links to Apple TV apps, but this changed in 2016. This is because Apple now supports links to tvOS apps that are created using iTunes Link Maker. The new system means developers, reviewers, and customers can easily create and share a link to an Apple TV app. You can access and use these links on an iPhone, iPad or using a browser on a Mac or PC. Click them to be taken to the appropriate iTunes Preview page for the app the link is directed to.

The iTunes Preview page lets you learn about the app. You can also purchase or download it using an iOS device. If you have iTunes installed (which you will on iOS but may not on Windows PCs) then you can download or purchase the app from this page.

The apps don’t automatically install themselves on your Apple TV when you download them to the iPhone, iPad or computer. In order to make sure apps are automatically installed you should follow the instructions below, but you should also learn how to manage apps you have installed on the device, particularly if you need to preserve space on the device.

How to Make a Link

If you come across an Apple TV app you want to share you need to use iTunes Link Maker to create the link you need.

  • Go to iTunes Link Maker
  • Write the name of the app you are looking for in the Search field.
  • Below the Search field you need to choose the Store Country you wish to search. Click the Blue country text to choose a new one using the drop down list.
  • You must also choose the media type, click on this entry and choose tvOS Apps.
  • As you change these fields the search results will automatically update.
  • The app you are looking for should appear below the search, click on the relevant item and you will be taken to the Link Maker page for that item.

You can choose a large or small App Store icon, a text link, direct link, or an embed code that will take you to the item you want to share.

How to Enable Automatic App Installations

The Apple TV will automatically download apps you purchase on iPad, iPhone or via iTunes on a Mac/PC, but only if the app has an Apple TV version and only if you have this feature enabled. Here’s what to do:

  • Open Settings>Apps
  • Click on Automatically Install Apps
  • You can cycle between two settings, Off and On. Leave it set to On.

In future, each time you download an app on an iOS device connected to the same Apple ID as used on Apple TV, the appropriate version of the app will be downloaded, if available. Find out more about downloading apps on an Apple TV here.

NB: If your Apple TV becomes full of apps you will be unable to download more apps, and may experience unexpected performance and streaming playback problems. To stay in control you must delete apps you don’t need: the fastest way to achieve this is to Open Settings>General>Manage Storage and delete any apps you have installed but do not use. You can always download them again via the Purchased tab in the App Store.