Once a year Apple rolls out a major update to tvOS, the operating system software that runs on the 2015 and later Apple TV models. These (free) full-version updates introduce new features, as well as tweaking the interface and fixing bugs. The latest of these is tvOS 17, and it will be available to install from September 18, 2023!
In between the yearly updates, smaller point updates roll out, such as (in the near future) tvOS 17.1. These tend to have fewer eye-catching features but they are important too, because they often include security fixes. It’s a good idea to keep your Apple TV up to date with the latest tvOS updates.
In this article, we explain how to update tvOS on your Apple TV – which, as of today, means installing tvOS 17. (If you’d like to try out forthcoming versions of the software before they launch, you need to install a tvOS beta.) We also address any issues you might encounter with the update process.
How to update tvOS on Apple TV
If you have a newer Apple TV – one launched since 2015 – this is how to update its software.
- Go to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software
- Click on Download and Install to download the update
- Click on Update Now
The Apple TV may restart during the process, and you’ll be presented with a progress bar indicating the status of the update.
Once the Apple TV update has been completed, the Apple TV will restart running the most up-to-date software.
To turn on automatic updates go to Settings > System > Software Updates and turn on Automatically Update.
How do I know what version of Apple TV software I’m running?
Go to Software Updates on your Apple TV: Settings > General > About > tvOS
Apple TV update problems
Sometimes updates can fix problems and sometimes they can cause them. It’s usually wise to wait a little while before updating your Apple TV just in case there is an issue with a new update. (Although if you’ve it set to automatically update this advice may come too late!)
If you do encounter any issues the advice below should help.
If you get a white screen with an image of a white cord, that means the software update has failed. You will need to connect your Apple TV to your computer and restore it via the Finder or iTunes.
Bricked Apple TV
If an update has ‘bricked’ your Apple TV – in other words, it no longer turns on and might as well be a brick – then you need to attempt to restore it by plugging it into a Mac or PC and using the Finder or iTunes to restore it to factory settings. See below.
How to reset your Apple TV to factory settings
- Go to Settings > System > Reset.
If you select Reset this will return the Apple TV to factory settings.
To reset the Apple TV and reinstall the software choose Reset and Update. This will reinstall the software, but you will need an internet connection.