How to hide unwanted Apple TV app icons

Apple TV (Vevo channel)

I’m loving my Apple TV a lot, even more so after the past few updates have made the set-top box way more useful by bringing out a host of cool features and new content sources such as Disney, Vevo, iTunes Music Festival, HBO Go and more.

On the downside, each new channel brings with it a brand new icon. And just like that – before you know it, your Apple TV becomes littered with a bunch of icons. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow declutter the interface? While Apple makes it easy to re-arrange the icons by holding down the Select button on the remote until they start wiggling, there’s no straightforward option to remove unwanted ones from the Home screen.

Assuming you’re willing to dive into the Apple TV’s Settings menu and flip a few switches, you can do just that. Jump past the fold and I’ll tell you all about it…

The workaround couldn’t be simpler and is handled through the Apple TV’s Parental Controls, here’s how:

  1. First, go to the Settings menu and choose Parental Controls
  2. Next, chose Turn On Parental Controls. If you haven’t used this feature before, you’ll be asked to set a four-digit passcode required to edit Parental Controls.
  3. Finally, scroll down where all your Home screen apps are listed and choose ‘Hide’ to remove an app icon from the Home screen or ‘Show’ to make it visible.

That’s all there is to it, really!

Apple TV (Parental Controls)

Note: As of the newly-released Apple TV software 6.0, Parental Controls is now called Restrictions (see the image below). Moreover, you actually don’t need to turn on Restrictions in order to hide or show apps anymore (thanks, Kenny!)

Be that as it may, this is a perfectly legitimate solution, per Apple’s support document.

“By default, you do not need to turn on Parental Controls to show or hide these features,” reads the document. “If you want to prevent someone from changing these settings or accessing these features, turn on Parental Controls”.


Want to keep an icon on the Home screen but still restrict access to it (i.e. parents preventing kids from accessing questionable YouTube content)?

Relax, you’re in good hands – just choose a third ‘Ask’ option to keep the icon on the Home screen, but require the parental control passcode to be entered in order to use the app.

Last but not least, there are additional settings in the Apple TV’s Parental Controls which allow you to control access to explicit content and age-restricted iTunes media.

As you could imagine, you can just as easily use Parental Controls on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices to hide certain stock apps from the Home screen (such as the App Store) and restrict access to various other device features.

You’ll hopefully use this tip to tidy up your Apple TV’s Home screen.

Should you stumble upon a similarly neat Apple TV trick, drop us a line on and we’ll consider sharing the best tips with our readership.