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How to get old Apple TV to work | The Latest 2021 Guide

Struggling to turn on your Apple Tv from 2007? Check out our guide on How to get old Apple TV to work!

Apple TVs are some of the best devices that can complement your new TV. This is true especially if you have an older TV or if your TV is not a smart TV. A new Apple TV can make your TV a smart TV with the ability to run streaming apps, games, and more. 

What about old Apple TVs though, they were great for playing from iTunes and other local content saved on the device itself. In today’s world, this is not enough, especially with smart TV sticks becoming cheap. 

Related: How Apple TV Works

Old Apple TVs can still be used though, and you will need to go through some workarounds so you can take advantage of the dated hardware and software of old Apple TVs. This article is a guide on how to get the best out of your old Apple TVs

After having reviewed Apple official documents and having referred to our credible sources; my team and I found out that:

As long as an old Apple TV is still functioning, you can still use the large storage capacity to play content off it. Now, while you won’t be able to access important features that especially for it connect to apps like Netflix. You can still download content from iTunes and play it from these old Apple TV’s. If it’s not functioning, the best thing would be to trade it for a new one with Apple Trade.

Related: How to Fix the Apple Logo Screen of Death?

How to get old Apple TV to work

New Apple TV

With the new Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation) out now, all prior Apple TVs could be considered old, but not all Apple TVs are losing support. If you are someone with an Apple TV that’s from 2015 or later, you have nothing to worry about, even though some tips in this article would help you. Apple TVs (3rd Generation and before) are losing support slowly, and YouTube won’t work on these devices anymore. 

Apple TV ModelModel numberYearColorRemote
Apple TV (1st Gen.)A12182007SilverWhite
Apple TV (2nd Gen.)A13782010BlackAluminum
Apple TV (3rd Gen.)A1427 or A1469 for Rev A2012BlackAluminum
Apple TV (4th Gen.)A16252015BlackSiri Remote (1st Gen) or Apple TV Remote (1st Gen)
Apple TV 4K (1st Gen.)A18422017BlackSiri Remote (1st Gen) or Apple TV Remote (1st Gen)
Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen.)A21692021BlackNew Siri Remote (2nd Gen) or Apple TV Remote (2nd Gen)

Most Apple TVs share the same design so, it may be hard to discern the difference between them. To know which Apple TV you are using, go to Setting > General > About, and here you can see the model number. Above is a table showing the different Apple TVs and their respective model numbers. 

Now that you know which Apple TV you have, you should know what you’ll be missing out on and what are the alternatives for the same. YouTube support just ended for Apple TV (3rd Gen.) and before. And Apple TV (4th Gen.) only outputs at HD resolution. And Apple TV (1st Gen.) uses a hard disk, which is a shame in today’s flash memory-dominated world. 

So here are a few scenarios and what you can do with older Apple TVs. I am going to speak about Apple TVs (4th Gen. and before)  because they are the ones missing out on features. Here’s our guide on How to get old Apple TV to work.

Related: Are Apple Refurbished Products Good?

Apple TV 1st Generation 

The oldest Apple TV has the biggest issues. It is slow, features a hard drive, emits heat to run, and can be noisy. It also costs much more than the later models. It is laggy and lacks support for apps, so no Netflix or YouTube. 

Personally, I wouldn’t use or have this at home but if you do have one, here are some suggestions. 

Continue Using it – If you don’t want to throw away or upgrade this ancient world device, then you can take advantage of its large storage capacity and use it to play content off it. Apple TV (1st Gen.) had a hard disk which maxed out at 320 GBs giving it plenty of storage space for movies, music, and more. As it still supports iTunes, you can add movies to the Apple TV and just use it offline connected to your TV. 

This is also the only Apple TV with component video ports and analog audio ports, so if you are holding on to ancient TV too, then this is a match made in heaven for both. They will complement each other, and you can use them for a few more years in the stone age as long as you don’t mind laggy performance and peasant-like HD quality content. 

Upgrade it – The oldest Apple TV is also the only one that can be upgraded, so there is a silver lining. These hard drives can be replaced if you wanted to. So if your old Apple TV has a 40 GB hard drive, you can replace it with a 250 GB or 320 GB hard drive and enjoy more storage for music, movies, and more. And since the max video output of the Apple TV (1st Gen.) was 720p, you can have hundreds of movies and thousands of songs in a 250 GB hard drive. 

Sell it and Upgrade – If you are done with the low quality, laggy, and lack of support experience of the first generation Apple TV then you can sell it. There will always be someone with the need for something, even old Apple TVs. You can sell your old Apple TV and use the money to get a new one with more features and a better user experience. I have seen old Apple TVs go for $50 to $100 on eBay auctions. 

Apple TV 2nd and 3rd Generation

I am grouping both the 2nd and 3rd Generations of Apple TV as they feature similar hardware and similar support from Apple. They look the same and even the same ports.

The main difference between them is the video output quality, 2nd Generation Apple TV is limited to 720p output resolution, while the 3rd generation can do up to 1080p. Both devices share the same remote too. Here’s How to get old Apple TV to work!

While these devices are much better than the Apple TV (1st Gen.), they are still running old hardware and lack a lot of newer technology. They use flash storage and mobile processors but lack Bluetooth and dual-band wifi connectivity. And to make things worse, these devices won’t support YouTube anymore.  There are workarounds though, and they are:

Use AirPlay – Both Apple TV 2nd and 3rd Generation won’t support YouTube natively anymore, this means that the YouTube channel on them won’t work. AirPlay allows you to stream YouTube from a compatible iPhone or iPad to Apple TV. So while it is not as convenient as a native YouTube app, it works, and if you need to watch YouTube on an older TV with your old Apple TV, then this is the only option.

Reset Apple TV – Losing support for YouTube is not the only downfall of using an old Apple TV (2nd or 3rd Gen.), they are also laggy and unresponsive. You can overcome some of the issues like lagging by resetting the device. Resetting a device can breathe some life into it. To Reset your Apple TV, follow these steps

  • Open your Settings.
  • Click on General.
  • Now, Scroll down and click on Reset.
  • Now confirm Reset
  • You will be asked for confirmation again since resetting will delete all data, Confirm Reset again.
  • Your Apple TV will now reset. Once it is back on, you can set up the device again.  

Resetting should make your device snappier than before, make sure to create a backup before resetting. 

Upgrade to a new Apple TV – The older Apple TVs are underpowered, slow and lack connectivity options like Bluetooth and dual-band Wi-Fi. They are not smart and can’t run apps and have some basic remote controls.

These Apple TVs are also not great if you have switched to a 4K TV, as they can only output at 1080p max.  And the only way to overcome all these issues is to replace it with a new Apple TV. You can sell these old Apple TVs to fund the purchase of a new one. If you still think the newer Apple TVs are costly then you can go for something like a Roku TV or Fire Stick. 

Apple TV HD (Also Known As Apple TV 4th Generation)

Every Apple TV since the Apple TV HD runs on tvOS, which is a modified version of iOS. This means that they support streaming apps and even games. This means that they support apps like Netflix, YouTube, and more. 

While the Apple TV HD has no shortcomings in my opinion with regards to software and connectivity, it only supports up to 1080p resolution. It also runs older hardware so it can be laggy when it comes to opening, closing, and switching between apps. There are two options for you, in this case, you can reset your Apple TV HD or sell it and upgrade it.

Reset – To reset an Apple TV HD, follow these steps

  • Open your Settings.
  • Scroll and click System.
  • Scroll and click on Reset.
  • Confirm the reset.

Upgrade – As long as you have only a 1080p TV, then you don’t have to upgrade your Apple TV as it will be more than enough. But if you have switched to a new 4K display, then you need to upgrade to a new Apple TV. 

Use the new Siri Remote – Apple TV HD supports the new Siri remote that was released with Apple TV 4K (2021). This redesigned remote is one of the best features of the new Apple TV and I am glad that Apple is extending its support to Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K (1st Gen.). 

To pair the new Siri Remote to Apple TV HD, follow these steps:

  • Power your Apple TV on. 
  • Hold the new Siri remote three inches away from the Apple TV and point at it.
  • Press and hold both the Back Arrow and Volume Up buttons for about two seconds.
  • Now, the Apple TV will start the pairing process, and you will be notified once the pairing is successful.

The new has been redesigned and has fixed issues that plagued the previous Apple remote. It has dedicated buttons for power and mute along with a new touch-enabled clickpad that is better to use. It also looks and feels better in hand. You can get it from the Apple store for $59. 

Final Thoughts

The new Apple TVs, that is the Apple TV 4K (1st and 2nd Gen) are excellent devices. They are powerful and loaded with all the features you will need. 

The same can’t be said for older Apple TVs now. All of them lack features, are underpowered and slow. But they still have some life left in them, especially if you are strapped for cash. 

You can still find uses for old Apple TVs, so don’t throw them in the bin yet. If you can’t find uses for them, then you can sell them and use the cash to upgrade to a new Apple TV. Check out our entire guide on How to get old Apple TV to work!

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