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How to set up your Apple TV using an iOS device

Table of Contents

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If you recently picked up a new Apple TV or have set one up in the past, you’re probably pretty aware of how not fun it is to do just using the Apple remote. While you can use the keyboard on your iOS device once the Apple TV is set up, getting there can be a real pain, especially if you have a long Wi-Fi password.

With the newest Apple TV (3rd generation) there is a way to set it up using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 7 or above. It’s all automatic and with a few clicks you’re up and running. Interested? Here’s how you can set up your Apple TV using an iOS device.

Getting Started

1. Plug your Apple TV in to a power source and wait until you see the language selection screen.

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2. Unlock your iOS device and make sure you have Bluetooth turned on. Next, verify you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network that you want the Apple TV to connect to.

3. Set your iOS device on top of the Apple TV ( I know, weird, but it’s necessary) and wait for the Automatic Setup Screen to appear on the Apple TV and iOS device.

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Starting the Setup

4. On your iOS device, enter your Apple ID and password, and let the Apple TV know if you want to save your password and if you want to send data to Apple.


5. Once you make these selections, your Apple TV will start the Automatic Setup process. This includes the Wi-Fi password, authorizing for your iTunes account, and activating the Apple TV.


6. Once the process is complete, your Apple TV is set up and ready for you to start using, no other setup is necessary.



Hopefully the process above works without issue, but there is always the chance for something to go wrong. Here’s a few tips to help you out in case things don’t go as expected.

  • Correct devices – Make sure you’re using the 3rd generation Apple TV and an iOS device that has functioning Bluetooth and is running iOS 7 or above. The iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are not supported.
  • Prepare the iOS device – Verify that the iOS device you’re using is unlocked, Bluetooth is turned on, and it’s connected to Wi-FI.
  • Distance matters – Your iOS device needs to be no farther than 15 feet from the Apple TV during the entire setup process. If you go out of range just unplug the Apple TV, wait 30 seconds, then plug it back in to restart the process.

Other Information

This process will get your Apple TV set up and working with the basic Apple TV services. You’ll still need to turn on features like Home Sharing, iTunes Match, iCloud Photos, and other settings yourself once the Apple TV setup is complete.

Services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and others will need set up manually once the Apple TV setup is complete. This is easier to do using the Apple Remote app for iOS, so downloading this app is strongly recommended.

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Kossi Adzo

Kossi Adzo is a technology enthusiast and digital strategist with a fervent passion for Apple products and the innovative technologies that orbit them. With a background in computer science and a decade of experience in app development and digital marketing, Kossi brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the Apple Gazette team.

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