How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV

By , Nov 7, 2015

BBC iPlayer Auntie Player Apple TV Live

Last month, an open source app called Auntie Player was released to access on demand programs from the BBC. This app can be sideloaded on an Apple TV and used to watch BBC on demand content and even live content.

I tested out Auntie Player today, and it worked as expected. Keep in mind, however, that you’re supposed to be in the UK in order to properly access its content. There are ways to access BBC iPlayer outside of the UK, but we cannot endorse those methods.

Still, we understand that many of our UK-based readers would be interested in accessing BBC iPlayer on the Apple TV, so in this post we’re going to show you how.

BBC iPlayer Auntie Player Apple TV

Step 1: Install Xcode on your Mac

Step 2: Connect your Apple TV to your Mac with a USB Type-C cable

Step 3: Open terminal, and type the following:

cd ~/Desktop
git clone --recursive https://github.com/Auntie-Player/apple-tv.git

Step 4: On your desktop, open the apple-tv folder and double click the Auntie Player.xcodeproj file to open the project in Xcode

Step 5: Click the Play button in Xcode to build and deploy the app to your Apple TV

Note: if you get an error in Step 3 when running the git command, you may not have the proper command line tools installed.

Use the following commands in terminal to enable the needed command line tools:
sudo xcode-select --switch /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer
sudo xcodebuild -license

Be sure to type Agree and press Return on your keyboard. Then try the command in Step 3 again.

As I stated at the outset, if you’re outside of the UK, you’ll need to use a VPN or DNS service to access the feeds. We don’t endorse any particular DNS service, but I tried Overplay for testing purposes, and was able to get the BBC iPlayer on demand and live feeds working in the states.

BBC iPlayer

For the record, this app won’t be submitted to the App Store, and was created during a recent hack event:

The app we’re publishing here was built in just under 9 hours at a hack event to prove it could be done. It’s by no means complete or perfect, and it’s very much a proof of concept. It’s our hope the BBC will release an official app for Apple TV, as they’ve made iPlayer available on a wide range of other set-top boxes and Smart TVs.

What are your thoughts on Auntie Player? Would you consider using it?

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  • John

    I’m tempted to do this but the BBC announced on 10/29 via the @BBCiPlayer account that an iPlayer app will be coming to ATV4 “in the coming months”

  • Chris Johnson

    Opens the app on Apple TV but no icon appears on the main screen. Anything i can do in Xcode to ensure icon shows up ?

  • Fevostone

    The bbc is poor in the uk anyway I would rather see kodi or movie box sorted

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  • can install xcode on windows?

  • Hotrod

    Hmmm, just got off the phone with Apple & they said Apple dev accounts aren’t free, & to side load apps using Xcode you have to pay the 99.00 fee…frustrating

    • Pokeh321

      They are free. I just side loaded this with my developer ID and haven’t paid a cent.

    • Kerry Kozma

      It’s not a “free developer account” it’s just your Apple ID. Or you can create a new Apple ID specifically to use with Xcode. Iv installed 4 different GitHub apps onto Apple TV 4 this way. Check out the videos on Nandor690 YouTube channel

  • arrianadavis

    Thanks for the article Jeff. For those who live outside UK and want to access BBC iPlayer, you can use UnoTelly as I do to get around the geo block.

  • Vax Bayliss

    Doesn’t work on AppleTV gen 3!! “Unsupported tvOS version”

  • Charles Feild

    did it