With the release of Ian Beer’s new exploit, some hope for a future Apple TV 4/4K jailbreak has appeared. The exploit will theoretically work on firmwares up to and including tvOS 11.1, but not 11.2 and higher. For this reason, I advised in my jailbreak guide that Apple TV 4/4K users who want to have a chance of jailbreaking manually restore now to tvOS 11.1, before it goes unsigned. You can use our guide on the topic to do so.

Once you are on tvOS 11.1 however, you have to contend with Apple’s update policy. The Apple TV is set to automatically update its software in the background. Even if you turn that off, it will still automatically download the update in the background silently, and then routinely prompt you to install it. This cannot be disabled, and it’s only a matter of time until you or someone in your house accidentally agrees. There have even been reports of the device not respecting automatic update settings on occasion.

With that in mind, here is a nifty way to completely block all Apple TV updates, update prompts, and background firmware downloads. It works on tvOS 9, 10 and 11, and does not require a jailbreak.

Requirements

  • An Apple TV 4 or Apple TV 4K
  • A USB-C cable (not needed for 4K)
  • A Mac
  • Apple Configurator 2 (available free from the Mac App Store)
  • The iOS 11 (yes, iOS) beta configuration profile

How to block updates on the Apple TV 4 and 4K

1) First, let’s do our best with what Apple gives us. On your Apple TV, navigate to the Settings app and then go to System Software Updates, and make sure that Automatically Update is firmly set to Off.

2) Now for the real business. On your Mac, download and open Apple Configurator 2 from the App Store. Connect your Apple TV 4 to your Mac via USB-C. If you have an Apple TV 4K, follow our guide to wirelessly pair it with your computer instead. The device should now appear in the Apple Configurator 2 window.

3) Download the iOS 11 beta configuration profile. Drag the downloaded profile onto the Apple TV image in Apple Configurator.

4) Accept the terms and conditions which appear in Apple Configurator, and then a new prompt will appear, telling you to continue the process on your Apple TV. Leave Configurator as it is and turn to your Apple TV.

5) The following screen will appear, simply hit Install.

6) On the next page, hit Next to proceed.

7) Finally, press Install once more.

8) Once installed, your Apple TV will prompt you to Restart to apply changes. Do so.

9) When it boots up again, navigate to Settings on the Apple TV and go to General. Scroll down and look for Profiles. If it’s not there, it hasn’t worked and you should try adding the profile again. If it is there, select it and make sure it shows the iOS 11 beta profile listed there.

10) We can now test it. Go to Settings System Software Updates. Make sure Automatically Update is still Off, and then select Update Software at the top. If our method has worked, the profile we installed should trick the device into thinking there are no available updates, and you should get the following screen:

Of course, if you’re already on the newest firmware you’ll get this screen anyway, but this guide assumes you have quickly restored to tvOS 11.1 in hopes of a jailbreak, or are already on an even older firmware. If you’re on tvOS 11.1 or lower and this screen appears, despite tvOS 11.2 being available, you know it worked and updates are now blocked on your Apple TV! If this screen reports anything else, starts downloading an update, or already shows an update downloading, cancel/remove the download and then try the guide again.

11) Disconnect your Apple TV 4/4K from your Mac and enjoy all the features of tvOS 11.1, without worrying about a sneaky update ruining your chances of a jailbreak in future.

Reverting your changes

If you decide you want to update your Apple TV after all, reverting is simple.

1) Navigate to Settings General Profiles, and select the iOS 11 beta profile we installed previously.

2) On the next screen, select Remove Profile.

3) Confirm by selecting Remove again.

4) Reboot when prompted.

5) Head to Settings System Software Updates and check for an update. Goodbye!

This is an easy and elegant way of preventing your Apple TV from seeing updates, and from bothering you about them. It remains to be seen whether Jonathan Levin will update his LiberTV jailbreak to make use of Ian Beer’s new exploit, and offer us a tvOS 11.1 jailbreak. Do not hassle him about it in the meantime!

The bugs are there to be used however, and by following this simple precaution you’ll be prepared for a new jailbreak, if and when it’s released. And remember, downgrade now to tvOS 11.1 before it goes unsigned.

Need a hand? Have a question about this guide, or want to request another one? Let me know.

  • The Zlatan

    How does sideloading work on tvOS 11?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Use Cydia Impactor as normal, check out my guides on this site to see how. It’s the same as tvOS 10.

  • Jon20

    Which is the file I am supposed to download in order to drag it to the app? I’m confused.

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      It’s the iOS beta configuration profile, you will need to download it from the web. Try a google search, as we do not host the file. The article gives you an idea of where to look.

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      It’s a developer file, so I can’t provide it. You can find it elsewhere though. Good luck!

  • Helder Fonseca

    Is there any way to downgrade the Apple TV 4k?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Sadly not; there are currently no ipsw files available, only OTA files. Which means it can only be updated over the air, and Apple forces you to go to the newest tvOS version. Very sneaky. Hopefully they’ll make ipsw files available soon.

  • titi

    What aboat windows pc?! Is that same process?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      There is no Windows version of Apple Configurator unfortunately, so you might have to borrow a Mac, or use a virtual machine. Alternatively, you might be able to install the profile directly to your ATV from the internet, but I’m not sure how yet. I’ll let you know if I find out.

      • titi

        I think virtual machine is best option right now. Thank you ??

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        From a user above, this does not require a Mac:

        Search for a iOS11 beta profile on and save it to Dropbox. On the Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Privacy > Send to Apple > Yes. Press the Play button on the remote control. Click Add Profile > OK.

        Launch DropBox on the iPhone, press the button next to the profile to share it via a link. Launch the Remote application on your iPhone, and paste the URL (iOS 11 profile sharing). At the end of the URL, replace “0” with “1”. Hit Return. The Apple TV will ask to restart and install the profile.

      • titi

        Thanks. I did what you said and it’s worked. ??

  • titi

    Is iOS 11.0 ok?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Probably yes, but I’d advise moving to 11.1 anyway, just so you have the newest exploitable firmware and features. Download the tvOS 11.1 ipsw and then install it manually, by following the guide linked in the first paragraph of this article.

      • titi

        Thanks ??

  • kaartman

    hello, on my apple tv4, i recorded a profile develop ios on Dropbox, share the link and install on the AppleTV. exactly the same procedure to have beta dev versions on the AppleTV, except that the profile matches ios and not tvOS

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      This method also uses an iOS profile, not tvOS. So I guess they’re pretty much the same. How do you share the link to the ATV to install a profile though? That could be useful for people without a Mac to use Configurator…

      • kaartman

        Search for a iOS11 beta profile on Google and save it to Dropbox. On the Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Privacy > Send to Apple > Yes. Press the Play button on the remote control. Click Add Profile > OK
        Launch DropBox on the iPhone, press the button next to the profile to share it via a link. Launch the Remote application on your iPhone, and paste the URL (iOS11 profile sharing). At the end of the URL, replace “0” with “1”. Return key. The AppleTV is asking to restart.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Can Send to Apple be disabled again once the profile has been installed? Is it just necessary to enable the initial add of the profile? Thanks for the clever tip!

      • kaartman

        Yes, once the profile has been installed, deactivate send it to apple

      • John

        I am not getting the option of send to apple under the privacy section. There are options under Analytics data:
        Share Apple TV analytics
        Share with App Developers
        Analytics Data

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        It’s Share Apple TV Analytics. Enable them, and then press Play on the TV remote, whilst hovering on the Share Apple TV Analytics option.

      • Rafael Romero

        This mothod works to add the certificate but the apple tv still prompts for update! Any help or can someone share the correct certificate?

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Perhaps your ATV already downloaded the update, before you added the profile. Head to Check for Software Updates on your ATV and you’ll be able to delete the update if it’s already downloaded.

      • Rafael Romero

        Thanks, i was installing the tvos certificate instead of the ios! It works now!?

  • Kurt Wijckmans

    I’m getting the message that my OS version is not supported.

    I’m currently on the iOS 10.1.1 version. Do I need to upgrade to 11 first?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      This is for tvOS. Do you mean you’re on tvOS 10.1.1? If you’re on iOS 10.1.1, we have a different guide for that.

      • Kurt Wijckmans

        Yes, I’m on tvOS 10.1.1 at the moment and (like a lot others) waiting for the new jailbreak to come out.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Hmm, if it won’t accept the iOS 11 beta profile, then you could try the iOS 10 beta profile. Perhaps that is needed to block updates on tvOS 10. However, I would advise updating to tvOS 11.1 instead of waiting on tvOS 10.

      • Kurt Wijckmans

        I upgraded to 11.1 and now it seems to work fine.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Good! It must have been that then. tvOS 11.1 has the same, or greater, chance than tvOS 10 for a jailbreak now in any case, plus you get some new features and fixes too. Thanks for reading!

  • John

    I have installed the ios beta file and I can see that on profiles. However I am still getting the pop up for update.

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Try going to Software Updates and deleting any updates which have already downloaded.

      • John

        How do I do that om apple tv 4?

      • John

        Looks like i was using an outdated beta profile. Got a new one and the issue has been fixed now. Thank you!

  • Siri Tim Cook Holness

    U can do it without a mac with Apple TV remote app

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Yea, I found that out now! I think this way is still probably simpler, but I might do a guide on the Mac-less way anyway at some point. Thanks for reading!

    • Peter Å

      How??

  • Bugzy

    Does anyone know where to download the “iOS 11 beta configuration profile” from? I could not find any links on this article

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      I’m afraid as they’re Apple developer files, I can’t link to them. They aren’t to find elsewhere however. Good luck!

      • Bugzy

        Thanks for the info! I figured that after I did some more research. Are there instructions anywhere on how to get them? I have a developer account but could not find them on the apple developer website when I searched.

  • Bogdan Vasilescu

    where is the beta profile download link?

  • Chris Ryan

    worked perfectly, thanks

  • Etienne

    Great,worked for both ATV4 10.1 & ATV4 11.1