Clean up your Apple TV's homescreen

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Apple added yet another channel to the Apple TV this week, meaning there are more than 30 icons on the device’s homescreen. That can be a lot, especially if you don’t use all of those content providers on a regular basis. Allow me to help you make that glut of icons a bit more manageable.


This is Macworld senior editor Dan Moren. With all the options on the Apple TV these days, loading up that grid of icons can often be overwhelming. Here are a couple of quick tips to organize the Apple TV’s homescreen to your liking.

First off, you can rearrange most of the icons on the Apple TV, so that the ones you frequently use are at the top of the screen. For example, if you’re a baseball fan, you might want to move MLB.TV farther up on your screen. Use the directional keys to select the MLB.TV icon, then press and hold the Select key.

Just as on iOS, the icon will begin to wiggle about. You can now use the directional buttons on your remote to move it to a new location; as you do so, the existing apps will shift out of the way. When you’ve found a spot that you like, just press the Select button again, and the icon will stay put. Note that you can’t move items in the first row of icons or move other icons into that first row: Those spots are reserved for content from the iTunes Store and your own computers.

If there are stations that you know you’ll never want to watch, you can also hide them from view by using the Restrictions feature. Just go to the General section of the Apple TV’s Settings menu and select Restrictions. Choose Turn on Restrictions and you’ll be prompted to enter and confirm a four-digit passcode. (The feature is intended for parents to control access for their kids, but you can just use 0000 or something equally simple.)

Once you’ve enabled the feature, scroll down and you’ll see a list of all the channels on the Apple TV. For most, you can choose between three options: Show, Hide, and Ask. The latter leaves the icon on the home screen, but prompts you for the passcode when you try to access it. Choose Hide for any channels you don’t want to see, and then hold the Menu key to return to the homescreen.

There you have it: a reorganized, friendlier, and overall less cluttered Apple TV interface. This is Macworld senior editor Dan Moren. Thanks for watching.

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