First released in September, 2017, the long-awaited Apple TV 4K takes standard Apple TV to a whole new level. When paired with a compatible TV, the device allows Apple fans to enjoy streaming their favorite programs and other digital content in 4K resolution.
While this feature offers truly rich, vibrant colors and stunningly sharp details, it’s so much more than a device that simply streams HD video. Its best feature is that it acts as a seamless interface between all your existing Apple devices, apps, media, and smart home appliances. Owners can use it as a central command hub for their entertainment systems, and, many aspects of their digital life!
Apple TV 4K contains the same A10x Fusion chips used in the latest Apple iPad Pros, making it easier for the device to handle large files and complex apps. This leads to more responsiveness when performing data intensive tasks such as streaming programs and playing video games.
Rather than the standard 1080p, video output is at 2160p, and it supports Dolby Vision and HDR10. It comes in two storage sizes: 32GB for $179 and 64GB at $199.
Reaping the Benefits
There are a multitude of platforms, apps and gadgets that this device can control, so it can take users a while to learn how to access all its features. The following tips shorten the learning curve and fast track your control over the device.
Organizing and Using Your Apps
Specialized apps make it easier to perform many functions and tasks, but, they can quickly add up. Dozens quickly becomes hundreds, and searching for a specific one is time consuming.
To make it easier to find your apps, create a folder for each category. Some examples of common folder names are: Games, Movies, Weather and so on. Once you have created your folders, move your apps to the appropriate folder by dragging each app icon and dropping it into the appropriate folder.
To browse through your apps using the remote, just hit the home button twice. This opens the task manager, which allows you to swipe between your apps.
It’s also simple to add and delete apps. Just navigate to the device’s Settings, choose Apps, and then select, Automatically Install Apps to toggle it on.
To delete apps you no longer want, long press the app’s icon. Hit the button labeled Play/Pause and then select delete to get rid of the unwanted app. You can also go to Settings, then General, and finally Manage Storage to see all your apps. Right Click the trash can icon to the right of each one to delete multiple apps at the same time.
Restart Apple TV
Need to quickly exit out of an app or otherwise start all over? No worries. Just hold the menu and home buttons down on the remote at the same time. Hold them for about 10 seconds. A few moments later you will notice the screen will begin blinking. At this point, the device will automatically restart, returning you to the home screen.
Use the Menu Button to Reach Accessibility Shortcuts
Features such as Closed Captions, Zoom, and Voiceover can make programming easier to access for many users. You can click the menu button three times to turn these features on and off, once you’ve enabled the shortcut.
To enable this shortcut, go to Settings. Choose General, and then select Accessibility. Click on Accessibility Shortcut. Now you can turn each feature, on or off, as you prefer.
Easily Connect Accessories
Many Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as keyboards, and game controllers, can be connected to the Apple TV 4K. Just go to Settings, and then Choose Remotes and Devices. Next, select Bluetooth.
Depending on what item you are connecting, you may need to select other devices to find your gadget in the menu. Once you’ve chosen the right device, just follow the on-screen prompts to add it and begin controlling it.
Use AirPlay to Beam Content from Your Other Apple Devices
The Apple TV 4K doesn’t offer official support for popular music apps like Spotify and Pandora. You can still listen to your favorite tunes by opening the app. As the music or other audio file begins to play, look for a Cast Icon or AirPlay within the App itself.
You can also swipe up from your iPhone’s bottom screen, and then access the Control Center to turn on AirPlay. Once you access AirPlay or other casting app, select Apple TV. You will then be able to stream music to the TVs, surround sounds or other systems controlled by the Apple TV.
Rename Your Apple TVs
If you have multiple TVs in your home or office, you might want to sync them, so you can stream the same content on all of them at the same time. To do this, you’ll first need to rename your Apple TVs.
Go to Settings, pick General, select About and then choose Name. When you open the name menu, you can choose from common, preselected names, such as bedroom, kitchen and living room, or you can select custom name to personalize your choice further.
Once you’ve renamed all your TVs you will be able to tell them apart more easily, and choose which ones you want to stream, or mirror content to.
Use Siri with Apple TV 4K
Just press the Siri button to queue Siri. Use simple voice commands to direct Siri to help you find something to watch, or switch between live programming. If you missed a crucial line in a show, just ask Siri, “what did he say,” to rewind and replay the missed content. Siri will also automatically turn on closed captioning so that you can both read, and hear, the missed audio.
Control Apple TV with Your Apple Watch or iPhone
Controlling an Apple TV 4K with your Apple Watch or iPhone is easy. Just download the app to your device and add your Apple TVs.
Once you’ve installed the app, you can use up to two iPhones to control games while using the Apple TV 4K. You can also use Siri through your phone to control it as well. Swiping on the Watch mimics the same controls as the touchpad on the remote, although there isn’t a Home button.
Turn Your Apple TV into a Control Hub
If you have smart home devices that are compatible with the Apple HomeKit, you can use the Apple TV 4K to control them via it’s Siri Remote. Just sign into your same iCloud account on both your iPhone and Apple TV.
Next, go to your Apple TV’s Settings, look in Accounts and choose iCloud. Homekit will be listed in its menu, and your home will be listed as connected.
Once you’re connected, you can then use Siri to automate and remotely access smart home devices like your lighting, climate control, entertainment and monitoring systems!
Features that Aren’t Available on the Apple TV 4K – Yet!
Despite all the unit’s cool features, there are a few drawbacks. For example, users can’t download 4K content, yet, it can only be streamed.
While it supports 4K content from the iTunes store, as well as from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, the 4K content from YouTube is still not supported at this time. Users also can’t stream their favorite Disney programs purchased in the iTunes store in 4K. Star Wars fans will have to wait until an agreement between the two companies is reached to watch these movies in 4K.
Dolby Atmos surround sound systems also remain unsupported. An update is expected in the near future that should add this feature.
Have you tried the Apple TV 4K yet? Do you have a cool tip that we left off our list? Why not share your favorite feature with fellow readers in the comments section below?