Apple TV (tap to setup 001)

Yesterday, I let you in on a trick to selectively show or hide unwanted app icons from your Apple TV’s Home screen. Today, I want to talk about another great Apple TV enhancement, one just implemented as part of the newly-released Apple TV 6.0 software update: tap-to-setup. In a nutshell, you can now use an iOS device to quickly set up your $99 hockey puck.

Sure, the third-generation Apple TV does allow for greater flexibility by letting folks pair a Bluetooth keyboard in order to quickly type in any pertinent information during the setup procedure (or afterwards). Tap-to-setup, however, takes easy to the next level by automatically transferring common settings from your iOS device…

Specifically, tap-to-setup carries Wi-Fi network and password, iTunes Store account credentials and language/region format preferences over from your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to the third-generation Apple TV (older models aren’t supported). Don’t worry, none of this will mess up your iOS device preferences.

Before we begin, a quick notice: you must be running the latest Apple TV 6.0 software and iOS 7 on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. It really does work like a charm, let me show you how in five easy steps.

STEP 1: Hook up an Apple TV to your living room telly and power it up.

STEP 2: Unlock your iOS 7 device and ensure that Bluetooth is enabled (you can quickly access the Bluetooth toggle by pulling up Control Center on the Lock screen). Also important: both your Apple TV and iOS 7 device must be connected to the Wi-Fi network you want to use with the set-top box.

STEP 3: Bring your iOS device within 10 to 15 feet of the Apple TV until a prompt pops up asking you to enter your Apple ID credentials on an iOS device in order to commence the Automatic Setup procedure.

Apple TV (tap to setup 002)

STEP 4: As you can see on the screenies below, upon typing in your Apple ID account credentials (left), you can tell the set-top box to remember that Apple ID for iTunes Store purchases (middle) and send diagnostic data to Apple (right).

Apple TV (tap to setup 003)Apple TV (tap to setup 004)Apple TV (tap to setup 005)

STEP 5: The Apple TV should wrap up Automatic Setup by connecting to a Wi-Fi network, activating itself, seting up your iTunes Store account and making other configuration changes pertinent to your iOS device.

Apple TV (tap to setup 006)

Voilà – your Apple TV is now ready to use!

It couldn’t be simpler, no?

Here’s Jeff’s video walkthrough, based on an Apple TV beta firmware.

This is definitely a great time-saver compared to having to tediously spell out information using Apple’s clumsy remote and on-screen keyboard. Heck, it even beats the Apple TV set up process using a Bluetooth keyboard.

Keep in mind that tap-to-setup only configures your Wi-Fi network, iTunes Store account and region/language settings.

Consequentially, you are still required to manually set up third-party services such as Netflix, YouTube or Hulu Plus, approve Apple’s free Remote iOS app, provide iTunes Match/Home Sharing/iCloud Photos credentials, set up multiple Wi-Fi networks or install network configuration profiles.

Apple TV (tap to setup 007)

Again, this handy feature works only on the third-generation Apple TV powered by the new Apple TV 6.0 software or later. Tap-to-setup is compatible with the iPhone 4s or later, third-generation iPad or later, iPad mini and fifth-generation iPod touch. The feature is not available on the iPhone 4, iPad 2 and older devices.

Apple’s support document details the whole process and provides handy troubleshooting instructions.

According to AppleInsider, this might be the first public deployment of Apple’s new iBeacons communications standard.

wwdc2013.ibeacons

As a quick reminder, iBeacons is a new iOS 7 feature that enhance apps’ location awareness via Bluetooth LE profile, the power-sipping wireless technology, whilst enabling a series of new geofencing capabilities for app developers.

Your iOS 7 device combined with inexpensive Bluetooth LE “beacons” opens door to a whole new world of possibilities, like in-store offers, micro-location door activation and indoor navigation, location-based marketing and Passbook tickets and more.

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Some even speculate the iBeacons technology could pave the way to a contactless mobile payment system from Apple. If anything, this how-to is a nice example of how iBeacons already makes your life easier.

So, how did you like Apple TV’s tap-to-setup trick?

Give it a whirl yourself and let me know what you guys think down in the comments.

  • Med Mohamed

    tick tock that’s the sound of your life running out

  • Siddharth Desai

    This is a great feature. Typing in credentials with the Apple TV remote is a pain in the ass.

    • Guest

      Especially when you have guests over, and they can see what you type.

    • chumawumba

      Especially when you have guests over that can see what you type

      • Siddharth Desai

        Never thought about it that way!

  • Ahmmed Estrada

    Wait, is that a jailbroken iPhone? No signal bars just wifi bars

    • bllackghost

      what if i told you .. you don’t have to jailbreak to do that!

      • Jonathan

        How? Does it work with iOS 7?

      • Ahmmed Estrada

        So how do i do that?

    • chumawumba

      It’s an iPod

      • Jonathan

        But why doesn’t it say “iPod” in the top left like normal? Mine does.

  • thebootsesrules

    Did you guys really write an entire article for this? Wow iDB has really gone downhill…..

  • Jay Kay

    How come it never happened when my atv update was corrupted and i had to restore it, while setting it up i faced so much painful typing unless my sharing turned on and i used remote app on iPhone.