Getting Started With Your New Apple TV

Getting Started With Your New Apple TV

Did you receive a new fourth-generation Apple TV for Christmas? Here's a short guide to getting started with this new device. We'll cover setup, basic navigation, using Siri, and controlling videos and music. Some of this information is covered in more depth in these posts on 31 Top Tips for Mastering Your New Apple TV and Apple TV — What Siri Can and Can't Do.


Apple's website gives instructions for setting up. A neat feature is that you can have your Apple TV log in to your Apple and iCloud accounts automatically simply by holding your iPhone or iPad next to it. (You'll need to have iOS 9.1 or later.) Or you can configure it manually.

Connecting your new Apple TV entails plugging it into a power source and connecting it to an HDMI port on your HDTV. Note that you'll need to supply your own HDMI cable. Most people will use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, but you can also connect via Ethernet. Once you're connected, a setup screen will appear that asks you to click the touch surface of the remote that comes with your Apple TV in order to connect it to your Apple TV. If it doesn't connect, press and hold the Menu and Volume Up buttons for two seconds. Once connected, then choose the language.

After you're connected, you're given a choice to set up with your iPhone or iPad or to do it manually. If you choose to connect automatically, be sure your device's Bluetooth is turned on. Unlock your device and put it next to your Apple TV. After a few seconds you'll get a message saying Continue. Tap that and then follow the on-screen steps.

If you've chosen to set up manually, you'll be asked to identify your Wi-Fi network and enter your password. You'll then be asked to enter your Apple ID and password. Then follow the on-screen steps.

Navigation basics

You'll find the Apple TV remote to be intuitive. Navigation involves swiping the remote's touchpad to move around among the onscreen icons, and clicking the touchpad to select the one you want. If you flick the trackpad (that is, make a fast swipe), then you'll zoom through multiple icons at a time. Or you can tap the right, left, top, and bottom edges of the touchpad to move one icon at a time.

The Menu button always take you back up to the previous level. The Home button takes you back to the Home screen. Pressing and holding the Home button puts your Apple TV to sleep. The play/pause button functions in the same way it does on all your devices.

Using Siri

Press and hold the Siri button to speak your requests. Unlike your iPhone or iPad, Siri won't speak back to you, but it does respond with text on your TV. 

You can ask Siri for a particular movie ("I want to watch Hugo") or for a particular genre ("I want to watch a comedy"). You can also ask for movies with a particular actor ("Show me movies with Jennifer Lawrence.") Similarly, you can use Siri to request music by genre or artist, or request a particular song. (When Apple TV was first released, Siri only searched video, but music was added to Siri's repertoire with the release of tvOS 9.1 in early December.) I wanted to listen to some Christmas music and simply requested, "Play some Christmas music." And the Apple TV began playing a Christmas station.

See this post for a full list of all that Siri can do.


You can use Siri to control playback of videos by saying "pause" or by asking it to fast-forward or rewind a particular number of seconds or minutes. ("Fast-forward 10 minutes.") The coolest Siri feature when you're watching a movie is to ask, "What did he say?" The movie will skip back 15 seconds and replay it with subtitles.

When watching a video, swipe left or right on the touchpad to jump back or forward. Press and hold the left side to rewind. Press and hold the right side to fast-forward. Press and hold, and then swipe down to see more options.

When listening to music, hold down the left side of the touchpad to rewind and the right side to fast-forward. To go back a track, press the left side of the touchpad twice. To go to the next track, press the right side once. Also, while you're listening to a song, press and hold the touchpad and swipe up to see the rest of the album. At the top the .... button gives more options, such as adding it to a playlist and starting a station based on the song.

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Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.