How to set up an Apple TV

For many Apple users, Apple TV is worth the price. That’s because what you’re really paying for is full integration with your other Apple devices. Plus, buying Apple TV gets you three months of free Apple TV+.

If you’ve decided to take the leap and buy an Apple TV, here’s how to get started so you can install your favorite apps and get to watch. Apple currently offers two versions of its streaming device: Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD. Setup is the same for both models.

Note: Depending on the options you choose during setup, some of these steps might be omitted or come in a different order.

Getting started

Included in the box is the actual Apple TV device, a Siri remote, a power cord that connects your Apple TV to an outlet, and a lightning to USB cable for charging the remote. It does not include an HDMI cable which you also need, so make sure you have one before you get started.

You’ll also need an HDMI cable, which isn’t included.
Credit: Mashable

Step 1

Plug in your Apple TV to an outlet using the power cord, and connect the Apple TV to your TV using the HDMI cable.

Image of using cables to connect Apple TV to TV

Follow the diagram to plug everything in.
Credit: Apple

Step 2

Turn on your TV and select the HDMI input that your Apple TV is connected to. Depending on the model, tap or click your remote to activate the setup. Then, choose your language and region. Continue through the data and privacy disclosure.

Image of the Apple TV language setup screen

Credit: Apple

Image of Apple TV's data and privacy screen

Credit: Apple

Step 3

The next step in the setup is connecting to your WiFi network and entering your Apple ID. You’ll be asked to choose between “Set Up with Device” or “Set Up Manually.”

Image of Apple TV setup

Credit: Apple

Set Up with Device

If you choose to set up with your iPhone or another iOS device, make sure it is connected to WiFi and that Bluetooth is turned on. Hold the device near the Apple TV, which will trigger a prompt on your device. Tap “Set Up” to continue. Then, you will be asked to enter an authentication code that appears on your TV. Once you’ve entered the code, the authentication process should take about 30 seconds to go through.

Image of directions for automatic setup of Apple TV

Using your iPhone, follow the directions on the TV.
Credit: Apple

Screenshot of the Apple TV setup button on an iPhone

Credit: Apple

Screenshot of entering verification on iPhone

Credit: Apple

Set Up Manually

If you choose to do this manually, you’ll be asked to choose your WiFi network and enter the password. Then you’ll need to enter your Apple ID, which you can choose to skip, but it’s recommended, because it allows you to do things like make purchases through iTunes and sync to your other Apple devices.

Step 4


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Now that you are connected to WiFi, the setup is almost complete. The next screens are a series of settings you’ll be asked to choose. Here’s an explanation of what they mean:

  • Siri and Dictation: Choose whether or not to use Siri, Apple’s voice assistant.

  • Have a TV Provider? If you have a cable subscription, you can sign in and watch cable TV through the device.

  • One Home Screen on Every Apple TV: If you have more than one Apple TV, turning on One Home Screen syncs them all (through iCloud) so that all of your apps and preferences are the same on every home screen.

  • Where is this Apple TV? Choosing your Apple TV’s room automatically adds it as an accessory to Apple’s Home app. In addition to Apple TV, the Home app allows you to manage compatible smart devices like speakers, lighting, thermostats. There’s a lot you can do with it and here’s a good explainer.

  • Location Services: Enable or disable Apple to gather data from your Apple TV based on your location.

  • See the World: Allow or skip new screensaver images to automatically download.

  • Analytics: Choose to send or not send analytics data to Apple.

  • Terms and Conditions: Pretty self-explanatory. You must agree to be able to use Apple TV.

Now your Apple TV is set up! Enjoy all that the seamless compatibility of your smart devices has to offer.

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