What Apple TV Model Do You Own? How to Tell Apple TVs Apart

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Apple, sadly, did not do a great job of making the various Apple TV’s visually distinct from one another: at least, not in an immediately obvious way. As a result, it can be hard to tell the difference between all of Apple’s similar-looking Apple TV offerings, especially in second-hand marketplaces like eBay. Use this guide to learn how to tell Apple TVs apart from one another.

Rapid Identification

Look for these ports when scanning the back of the device for rapid identification. For a process, answer the following questions:

Is it silvery-white with component video inputs? If so, Apple TV 1st Generation.

Does it have Micro-USB and optical audio? If Apple TV 2nd or 3rd Generation. For further differentiation, check the model number on the bottom of the device or in “Settings -> General -> About -> Model” on the Apple TV.

Does it have a USB-C port? Apple TV HD (previously Apple TV 4th generation).

Does it have no USB port of any kind? Apple TV 4K.

Checking the Model Number


If you have an Apple TV 2nd or 3rd generation, they’re visually indistinguishable. But they do have different model numbers.

To check your model number, look at the bottom of the device. At the bottom of the label, you’ll see regulatory text and logos. In the first line, scan for the “Made in China” text. Immediately after that line, you’ll see the model number prefixed with an A.

You can also find the model number within tvOS. Navigate to Settings > General > About > Model to find the model number in the format A1000.

  • A1218 is 1st generation.
  • A1378 is 2nd generation.
  • A1427 is 3rd generation.
  • A1469 is 3rd generation.
  • A1625 is 4th generation HD
  • A1842 is 4K

Two 3rd Generation Model Numbers?

The two 3rd generation models come from the Ear 2012 and Early 2013 models. The newer Early 2013 model of the Apple TV 3rd generation has an A5 processor build on a smaller 28nm process size compared to the Early 2012’s original 32nm process size. The Early 2013 Apple TV 3rd generation also adds support for peer-to-peer AirPlay.

Feature Differences

Ports that are familiar to most users or visually notable are in bold. These ports can be used to identify the Apple TVs quickly. All take the same power supply and use visually-indistinguishable Ethernet connectors.

Apple TV 4K

  • HDMI 2.0a (2160p, Dolby Vision, and HDR10)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • No USB Port

Apple TV HD (Previously, Apple TV Fourth-Generation)

  • HDMI 1.4 (720p or 1080p)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB?C above HDMI port

Apple TV (3rd generation)


  • HDMI (720p or 1080p)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Optical audio
  • Micro-USB below HDMI port

Apple TV (2nd generation)

  • Looks the same as Apple TV 3rd generation.
  • HDMI (720p)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Optical audio
  • Micro-USB below HDMI port

Apple TV (1st generation)

  • HDMI and component video (480p or 720p)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
  • Optical and RCA stereo audio
  • USB 2.0 (for service and support)
  • Rectangular shape
  • Silver and clear plastic chassis


If you have access to the Apple TV or can see pictures of the Apple TV’s ports, you’ll be able to reliable distinguish its feature set. But the most informative side is actually the bottom of the device, where the model number is printed. That can be directly translated into the exact model, with no need to try and visually separate ports. To see a complete accounting of all the differences between each Apple TV generation, check out EveryMac’s database of Apple hardware.

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