How Apple TV works

You have been to a friend’s house and you have been pleasantly impressed by his Apple TV , the multimedia box from Apple which, once connected to the TV, allows you to access a wide range of apps and games to enjoy lots of entertainment content in Full HD or even UltraHD / 4K (depending on the model purchased). You are therefore thinking of buying one yourself but, before putting your wallet in your hand, you would like some more information on how the device works.

How do you say? The situation is precisely this and, therefore, would you like to know if I can explain to you how Apple TV works ? Of course yes, God forbid! If you dedicate a few minutes of your attention to me, I can tell you what exactly this device is, what it allows you to do and, above all, how to use it.

Then? How about putting the chatter aside and proceeding immediately? Yup? Great. Position yourself, therefore, nice and comfortable, take some free time just for yourself and concentrate on reading what you find below. I sincerely hope I can satisfy your thirst for information!


  • Preliminary information
  • How Apple TV works
    • Activation
    • Shutdown, restart and reset
    • App management
    • Other useful functions and settings
  • How Apple TV works on iPhone and iPad
  • How Apple TV works on Mac
  • How Apple TV + works

Preliminary information

Before getting into the tutorial, it seems only right to give you some preliminary information about Apple TV : first of all, let’s try to understand what we are talking about.

The subject of this tutorial is a device that entered the Apple catalog several years ago, but still unknown to many people. It is, in a nutshell, a media center, that is a “box” that connects to the HDMI port of the TV and allows you to access a wide range of apps, games and content: iTunes Store , Netflix , Amazon Prime Video , YouTube , Apple Music , Spotify , the main games from the App Store (with support for the Apple Arcade subscription service) and the list could go on and on.

The current sales model is to to generation and is available in two versions: Apple TV HD , which supports up to 1080p resolution and has 32 GB of internal memory, and Apple TV 4K , which is the enhanced version “” of the base device, which allows you to play content at UltraHD / 4K resolution and is available in 32 and 64 GB memory sizes.


Apple TV HD (32GB)

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Apple TV 4K (32GB)

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Apple TV 4K (64GB)

See offer on Amazon


Both versions are based on the tvOS operating system and the other main common features are the presence of an integrated App Store (like that of iOS / iPadOS), which allows you to run a wide range of applications and games not available on previous models of the device , and the remote control with touch surface, called Apple TV Remote , which allows you to interact quickly and naturally with the contents on the screen (which must be recharged via a Lightning cable).

Also noteworthy is the support for Bluetooth controllers for video games and the AirPlay function , which allows you to transmit and duplicate content from iPhone, iPad and computer on the TV. As for the connection to the Internet, it can be done via Wi-Fi (802.11a / b / g / n / ac) or with an Ethernet cable. Unfortunately, the optical audio output is missing.

Note that in some stores, especially on e-commerce portals and on sites which sell second-hand , you can still find the Apple TV to generation , which is the predecessor to the one in effect. It is clearly cheaper, but it includes a predefined set of applications that cannot be extended, as there is no store that allows you to do this. It does not support games and comes with a small remote control powered by a replaceable lithium battery.

It includes the iTunes Store, YouTube, Netflix, Vevo, Vimeo and the AirPlay feature that allows you to stream content from iPhone, iPad and computer to your TV. It supports a maximum resolution of 1080p and can be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi (802.11a / b / g / n) or Ethernet cable. However, it includes the optical audio output.

Considering that currently on the market is the Apple TV from 4 to generation, and that of 3 to generation is no longer sold officially by Apple for some time (and, in all honesty, I would not recommend buying it, being of an obsolete device), in this guide of mine I will focus only on the features of the most updated model.

How Apple TV works

At this point, I would say that we can take action and find out how Apple TV works in detail: below you will find explained how to take the first steps with the device and perform its activation, shutdown, restart, reset and even more. Enjoy the reading!


Once extracted from the sales package, the Apple TV must be connected to the power supply, using the special cable included, and to the TV, using a common HDMI cable . After these two trivial operations, the Apple TV turns on and the status indicator on the front of the device lights up.

At this point, after selecting the HDMI source for Apple TV on the TV, you can proceed with activating the device. The procedure is very simple: scroll on the touch surface of the Apple TV remote control to highlight, in the menus you see on the screen, the language and the country or area to be set on the device. Then, to choose an option, tap the touch surface of the Apple TV Remote.

After that, choose whether to set up Apple TV “manually” or using an iPhone or iPad . In the first case, you need to set up a Wi-Fi connection and type in the login credentials of your Apple ID , while in the second you need to place an iPhone or iPad near the Apple TV and press the Continue button that appears on the device screen. In this way, all information related to the Apple ID and Wi-Fi connections are “magically” transferred from the iPhone or iPad to the Apple TV (only works with iOS 9.1 and above).

Once authenticated, you must continue to follow the initial configuration procedure, deciding whether to activate the location services , whether to enable the single Home Screen function , whether to send the usage statistics to Apple and third-party developers, etc. You must also accept the tvOS terms of use and that’s it. After that, the home screen will be shown and you can start using the device.

Shutdown, restart and reset

Strange as it may seem, there are many people who, after purchasing an Apple TV, have difficulty turning off , restarting or resetting the device. If you are one of these, here is a quick explanation of how to do it.

  • To turn off the Apple TV, you must hold down the Home button (the one with the monitor ) on the remote control for about three seconds and select the option Put to sleep from the menu that appears on the screen. Alternatively, you can turn off the Apple TV by selecting the Settings icon (the one in the shape of a gear wheel ) on the home screen and select the option Put to sleep from the next screen.
  • To restart the Apple TV, you need to select the Settings icon on the home screen, then choose the System item and, finally, the Restart one .
  • To reset the Apple TV, which means deleting all the data and settings inside it, select the Settings icon on the home screen, choose the System item from the next screen and select the Initialize item from the menu that is opens.

App management

Let’s continue this tutorial on how Apple TV works by talking about applications . As already pointed out above, the fourth generation Apple TV has a dedicated store that allows you to have hundreds of applications and games at your disposal, so the management of the apps is similar to the one you have on the iPhone and iPad.

So, to install an application on the Apple TV, just select the App Store icon (the one with the “A” on a blue background ) on the home screen and locate the content of your interest.

The App Store is divided into various sections: Find out where there are the most interesting applications and games of the moment; Rankings in which there are only app rankings, both free and paid, and any recommended collections; Games where you can browse all the games available on the store; Arcade where only games that are part of the Apple Arcade subscription service are found; Purchase where there is a list of all previously purchased or downloaded apps; Search where you can directly search for apps and games by name.

Once you have identified the app or game of your interest, then click on its preview image , press the Get button on the screen that opens (or on the button with the price , if it is an app or a game payment) and wait for the download to complete. Once the download is complete, the app will appear on the Apple TV home screen and can finally be run.

It should be emphasized that multi-platform applications, i.e. those that are available both on iOS and / or iPadOS and on Apple TV, if purchased on one device can be downloaded for free on the other (so if you buy a paid game on iPhone or iPad, then you can download it for free on Apple TV).

Understanding how to download games and apps, let’s see how to change their position on the Apple TV home screen. To do this, highlight the app you are interested in, by holding down the touch surface of the remote control until the application icon begins to “dance” and always use the touch surface of the Apple TV Remote to move it to the position that best suits you. you prefer. To save the changes, press the touch surface of the Apple TV remote once again.

To delete an app you must follow a procedure quite similar to the one I described earlier: highlight the application to be deleted, hold down the touch surface of the remote control until its icon begins to “dance” and press the button Play / Pause . When asked if you want to delete the app, confirm your intentions by pressing the Delete button that appears on the TV screen.

If this may interest you, I inform you that from the same menu you can also decide to move the selected application to an existing folder, to create a new folder at the moment or, after having carried out one of these two operations, to bring the app back to the home screen. To do this, you just have to choose, respectively, the items Move to [folder name] , New folder and Move to Home from the menu.

Then, if you want a wider overview of the apps installed on your Apple TV and the space occupied by them, select the Settings icon (the one in the shape of a gear wheel ) on the home screen, select the General item from the next screen and the Manage space that you find in the Usage section in the menu that opens.

Other useful functions and settings

Now let me point you to other useful features and settings that may help you understand even better how Apple TV works.

  • To check the availability of software updates for Apple TV, select the Settings icon (the one in the shape of a gear wheel ) found on the home screen, choose the System item from the next screen and then the Software Updates one . Note that updates should be downloaded and installed automatically by default. If this does not happen, it is because the relevant option is disabled. If you want to fix it, after going to the Settings section of tvOS and then to that System , choose the Automatic Update option, so that the words Yes appears next to it .
  • To pair a new remote control with an Apple TV, select the Settings icon on the home screen, choose the Bluetooth item from the menu that appears and act from there. Instead, if you want to control the device using an application for iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch (eg Remote ), after logging in to the tvOS Settings section , select the Remote apps and devices item and use the options available on the screen .
  • To change the properties of the Wi-Fi connection(e.g. change DNS, set a static IP etc.), select the Settings icon on the home screen, choose Network from the next screen, select the name of your network wireless and change the desired parameters.
  • To change the Apple account associated with Apple TV, select the Settings icon on the home screen, select the Users and accounts item from the following screen and act from there.

These, of course, are just some of the many features and settings of Apple TV. Take a few days to become familiar with the device and you will then find out the rest yourself. However, if you feel you need further guidance, you can refer to the section on Apple’s website dedicated to official support for Apple TV.

How Apple TV works on iPhone and iPad

In addition to allowing the playback of content from the Internet, Apple TV can also play content received from iPhone and iPad . This means you can start playing a movie on your smartphone or tablet and stream it to your TV without any quality loss. Furthermore, it means that you can “project” everything that happens on the screen of an iOS / iPadOS device onto the TV in real time.

To do this, you have to go and act directly from the iPhone and iPad. The procedure to follow differs slightly depending on whether you want to stream multimedia content on iPhone or iPad or mirror the device screen to Apple TV. In both cases, keep in mind that for everything to go smoothly, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Having said that, to transmit multimedia content, start it on the iPhone or iPad (e.g. using Safari , in the case of an online video), press on the AirPlay icon (the one with the screen with the triangle below ) that appears and select the name of the Apple TV from the menu that opens. In some applications, before seeing the option relating to AirPlay, you need to press the share icon (the one with the arrow in the square ). Later, you can stop playback by pressing again on the AirPlay icon and selecting the name of the iPhone or iPad from the menu that appears.

To mirror the iPhone and iPad screen to Apple TV, however, first call the iOS / iPadOS Control Center . To do this, if you’re using a device with Face ID, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen, and if you’re using a device with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom edge of the display. Next, tap on the Duplicate Screen button and select the name of your Apple TV from the menu that opens. When necessary, you can interrupt the transmission by pressing on the appropriate item attached to the same menu.

How Apple TV works on Mac

Even using the Mac it is possible to broadcast multimedia content on Apple TV or duplicate the computer screen on that of the TV to which the Cupertino company’s media center is connected. To do this, you have to intervene directly from macOS and, above all, computers and Apple TV must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

That said, if what you are interested in is streaming multimedia content from Mac to Apple TV, start playing it on your computer (e.g. using QuickTime Player , in the case of a video saved locally), click on the AirPlay icon ( the one with the screen with the triangle below ) and select the name of your Apple TV from the menu that opens. To stop broadcasting, select the option to disable AirPlay from the same menu .

As for the duplication of the screen, instead, just click on the AirPlay icon that you find in the upper right part of the menu bar and select the name of your Apple TV from the menu that is proposed to you. Then, by clicking on the same icon again, you can choose whether to use the TV to which the Apple TV is connected as a separate monitor or to duplicate the integrated monitor . To stop broadcasting, click again on the AirPlay icon and choose the Disable AirPlay option from the menu.

How Apple TV + works

Apple TV + is the Apple streaming service with exclusive TV series and feature films produced by the Cupertino giant. It can be used directly from Apple TV, through the appropriate “standard” app, and is also accessible from iPhone, iPad and Mac, on which offline downloading of content is also permitted. It can also be used via its website and from other supported devices such as smart TVs, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Windows PCs.

It costs $ 4.99 / month with a 7-day free trial, but is available free for 12 months to anyone who buys an eligible Apple device. Of course, the subscription can be canceled at any time, even before the trial period expires (to avoid having to pay for renewal), as I explained in detail in my guide on how to cancel Apple TV + .

That said, to be able to use it on your Apple TV, all you have to do is select the Apple TV + icon (the one with the black background, the Apple logo and the word tv ) that you find on the tvOS home screen, activate the subscription or test the service by following the instructions on the screen, go to the Apple TV + section of the application, select the content to play and press the Play button


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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