The Apple TV Crash Course (2015)

Part Three: Making the Most of the Tiny Beast

Apple TV Settings

You probably are starting to see that Apple TV is really simple to use. Remember: Apple builds their devices in a way that’s pretty disaster proof—that means you won’t ruin anything by hitting the wrong button. So take time to explore.

Before leaving you, there’s a few more things to cover; notably, the settings menu. Chances are you won’t spend much time here, but you still want to know how to change a few things.

To get started with the settings menu, navigate to the Settings app on the home screen and press Select. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be presented with the settings menu we briefly visited earlier:

As you can see, there are 7 different items within this menu. Some of these 7 items also contain their own sub-menus (and even sub-sub-menus in some cases!). Let’s take a moment to break down these 7, and then we’ll discuss the most important things you’ll find within them.

·        General – this is where you’ll find the vast majority of the changeable settings. Things like network settings, software updates, time and date – everything that doesn’t have a place somewhere else will be located here.

·        Screen Saver – After a period of inactivity, your Apple TV can display several different things as a screen-saving device. Check here for the options, including what to show, and after how long the screen saver should start. By default, it shows photos of different scenery.

·        iTunes Store – this section contains all of the changeable things about your iTunes account and the way it works with your Apple TV. Things like your current location (different countries have different items available, in tons of different languages), and the resolution of the video content you purchase; if you have slower Internet, then you might want to try lowering the resolution. You can also sign out of your account entirely, which is useful if you have a friend over who has their own collection of iTunes-purchased materials. Just sign in (temporarily) with their ID and watch their stuff seamlessly.

·        Audio and Video – this area contains settings for closed captions and languages, as well as various audio output options.

·        Airplay – this section contains all of the options for Apple’s ‘Airplay’ service, which we’ll discuss a little later. You can turn the function off or on from here, and set a password for it if you like. You can also add airplay devices—if, for instance, you have a speaker that is Airplay compatible.

·        Computers – this section contains the options for ‘Home Sharing’, another Apple service that we’ll discuss in a moment.

·        Sleep Now – Just in case it’s not immediately obvious from this item’s name, selecting this will put your Apple TV to sleep, which is the suspended animation state your Apple TV remains in when not in use. You can exit sleep by pressing any button on your remote.


Now within the ‘General’ category, there are really only a few things to concern yourself with, but let’s go over everything anyway, just to be on the safe side.

·        About – this is where you’ll find all the information about your Apple TV that you might want to know: the model number, software version, IP Address, and Wi-Fi signal strength are all located here. Nothing here is changeable; it’s just information.

·        Name – In houses with more than one Apple TV, it can get confusing, especially when you’re using the Home Sharing functionality. To help rectify this, you can change what your Apple TV is called. Choose from a list (Living Room, Bedroom, etc.) or create your own custom name. Remember that everyone else on the network will see the name you choose, so it’s probably not a good idea to name it ‘I Hate My Brother’ or ‘Mr. Pelican Pants’. This is very helpful with Airplay. If you have three Apple TVs, it will just name it Apple TV 1, Apple TV 2, Apple TV 3 by default—so if you are trying to airplay, then it gets confusing knowing which one to pick.

·        Network – This is where all the Internet-connecting stuff we did at the beginning of this guide resides. If you create a new Wi-Fi network (or experience slow performance) head here. You can change the network you’re connected to and/or perform a network test from here.

·        Parental Controls – like most modern home electronics, the Apple TV has some robust child-proofing measures. Head here to eliminate or restrict access to your Apple TV on an app by app or item by item basis.

·        Remotes – if you want to set up a new remote with the Apple TV, head here. If you happen to have lost your remote, you can navigate the Apple TV using the free ‘Remote’ app on your iPhone or iPad.

·        Update Software – as we discussed at the beginning of this guide, head here to check for updates to your Apple TV’s software. If an update is found, just follow the steps on the screen to apply it to your device.

·        Time Zone – If you ever need to alter the time zone info you entered when setting up the device, head here.

·        Sleep After – head here to change how long it takes for your device to enter sleep mode.

·        Send Data To Apple – as we discussed earlier in this guide, this is completely optional. You can change your mind about what you may or may not want to send (anonymously) to Apple from here.

·        Language – If you’ve finally become fluent in Japanese, head here to change the language. Remember, this applies to every single menu and screen on your device, so be careful!

·        Accessibility – despite the device being video-based, Apple has included a text-to-speech functionality in the device. Enable it here to hear Siri (from the iPhone!) describe all of the various screens in her soothing voice.

·        Legal – This is a bunch of user-agreement babble, only placed here because it’s required by law. If you’re ever suffering from insomnia, try pulling it up and reading it – it’ll cure you in an instant.

·        Reset – if you’re experiencing problems with the device, or if you’re planning on selling it or giving it away, head here to erase any trace of you from the Apple TV. You can also add a Bluetooth keyboard under Bluetooth if you want to type things even faster.

·        Restart – sometimes the Apple TV might become a little sluggish. Performing a restart will usually fix this. It’s also helpful restart if you plug the device in to a new television and the picture isn’t set up properly.