Apple TV tips

Tip: use this secret Siri Remote shortcut to manually send tvOS diagnostic logs to Apple

Much like other Apple devices, your Apple TV lets you elect to have tvOS periodically send usage data to Apple and share crash logs with developers. When Share with App Developers is enabled underneath the Diagnostics Data heading in Settings → General → Privacy, your Apple TV will send diagnostic and usage information to Apple.

This data is used for the sole purpose of improving Apple's products and services. None of the collected information identifies users personally but those who are concerned about their privacy will likely have this feature disabled, just in case.

There are cases when Apple might ask you to send them these log files manually—for instance, when using the Apple TV's hidden remote diagnostic feature to help an advisor troubleshoot any problems you may be plagued with.

Thankfully, tvOS has a secret Siri Remote shortcut to override your Privacy settings and manually send those crash logs and diagnostic data straight to Apple.

How to reveal and use tvOS’s hidden remote diagnostics mode on your Apple TV

Nearly five years ago, Apple started taking advantage of a new feature that lets customers send diagnostic data to an Apple advisor to help troubleshoot any problems they might be having, without having to take their device to an Apple Store Genius.

This remote diagnostic mode, which has since been implemented across all iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices, is also available on the fourth-generation Apple TV. In this quick tutorial, you're going to learn how to access and take advantage of tvOS's hidden Diagnostics screen on your Apple TV.

How to prevent people from making In-App Purchases on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV

Every time you buy a rare sword for your hero, a full app unlock, content subscription or other intangibles in apps and games, you're interacting with Apple's In-App Purchase system. The beauty of this feature lies in its deep integration with Apple's ecosystem and the iTunes billing mechanism.

It can also pose a hazard for it's easy to get carried away and ring up a big bill for purchases made within apps. To save us from racking up lots of in-app purchases, Apple's provided a way to restrict them.

In this tutorial, we'll teach you how to disable or restrict the In-App Purchase mechanism on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac and Apple TV to prevent unintentional or unauthorized purchases.

How to limit ad tracking on your Apple devices

Every Apple ID account has an Advertising Identifier assigned to it, including yours. When you sign in with an Apple ID on an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Apple TV, Apple reads your advertising identifier so that its advertising system can track you across apps.

Relevant data collected from your devices, along with your Advertising Identifier, helps Apple target you with more personalized interest-based ads.

These interest-based ads appear in third-party apps that you download in the App Store, as well as in first-party Apple apps such as News and Wallet. Thankfully, Apple also lets you opt-out of targeted advertising by limiting ad tracking. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to opt-out of ad tracking across each and every Apple device you own.

Tip: adjusting how movies and TV shows are sorted in your Apple TV Wish Lists

Apple TV Siri Remote in hand

Aside from major new features in Apple's new tvOS 9.2 firmware for the fourth-generation Apple TV, which released to the public on Monday, March 21, there're plenty of under-the-hood improvements to be excited about.

Among them are handy sorting options for the movies in your Wish List and TV shows in your Favorites. In this tutorial, we'll demonstrate how you can tell your Apple TV to show recent TV episodes first and change sorting options for movies in your Wish List.

Tips for creating, renaming and using folders on the new Apple TV

As of tvOS 9.2, owners of the fourth-generation Apple TV can now create folders of apps, just like they would on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

This feature is indispensable to people whose Apple TV Home screen is littered with dozens of app icons.

Like on iOS, you first enter the jiggle mode and then create a folder for apps by dropping one icon on top of another. As a cool bonus, tvOS provides shortcuts that significantly speed up folder creation and other related tasks, such as putting apps into or moving them from folders and more.

In this tutorial, you'll learn the basic techniques for decluttering your Apple TV Home screen by filing apps into folders. And, yes, we'll also tell you about the aforesaid time-saving shortcuts.

Tips for using your Apple TV Siri Remote like a pro

The Siri Remote is capable of so much more than help you move around the Apple TV's Home screen.

Its physical buttons, built-in sensors, mic and Bluetooth networking, along with programmable features accessible through the Settings app, let you control media playback with precision, converse with Siri, restart your set-top box, adjust your TV volume, launch and force-quit apps and much more.

In this tutorial, you'll learn not only the basics of using the Siri Remote to navigate apps and settings on your Apple TV, but also the secrets to unlocking its full potential and use it in not-so-obvious ways.

How to enable Siri on your Apple TV if you live in an unsupported country

With a dedicated Siri button on your Siri Remote, searching movies and TV shows on your fourth-generation Apple TV is simple and fun. With Siri, you can control what you're playing, search Apple Music, launch apps and check the scores, stocks and weather using just your voice. Sadly, none of these features will be beneficial to you unless you live in a supported country.

That's because Siri on the new Apple TV is currently available in eight countries: Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Spain and Japan. As it turns out, you can work around this restriction quite easily and start using Siri on your Apple TV like a boss, even if you're located in an unsupported country.

How to update Siri Remote firmware

Apple TV Siri Remote in hand

Apple has built a hidden feature into the tvOS operating system which allows them, or the user, to update the firmware software of the Siri Remote separately of the Apple TV's firmware.

Though a tvOS update may include a new firmware for the Siri Remote to fix bugs, improve reliability and add new features, occasionally performing a manual check for new remote firmwares still makes sense.

For instance, if you're an Apple TV developer or a regular user who wants to troubleshoot their device. Or, maybe you're just curious to try out the latest beta of tvOS and play with new features for the Siri Remote before they're available to everyone.

In this post, you will learn how to see if there is an updated firmware available for your Siri Remote and, if one is available, how to install it.

How to place Apple TV in recovery mode

If your Apple TV won't start up properly, or you are a developer who wants to install a tvOS beta, you must first put your set-top box in recovery (DFU) mode. As is the case with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices, entering DFU mode makes a malfunctioning Apple TV discoverable in desktop iTunes so you can restore it to factory settings, downgrade to an earlier version of the software or side-load a beta firmware onto it.

The method to put an Apple TV into DFU mode differs from that for other iOS devices. In this post, you'll learn how to put an Apple TV into recovery mode so you can restore it to factory settings if it's acting up.

How to filter mature language for Siri and Dictation

Sometimes when you use the dictation feature on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad—or just converse with Siri and it misunderstands you—you might be in for a surprise seeing explicit language that you don't really want others to see, especially if you talk to Siri on your new Apple TV and kids are present.

Fortunately, both iOS and tvOS give you all the controls you need to prevent profanities from showing up when you use speech-to-text or Siri. In this post, you'll learn how to disable explicit language for Siri and Dictation on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and filter out explicit language for Siri on your Apple TV.

How to disable explicit music and podcasts on your Apple TV

Among other enhancements, a software update for the fourth-generation Apple TV has brought out podcasts to your living room experience via Apple's Podcasts app.

If you have kids and everyone in your household is using the same Apple TV, it might be a good idea to prevent explicit content in Apple Music and Podcasts.

In this quick tutorial, we're going to show you how to disable mature language for music and podcasts on the Apple TV by flipping a switch in Settings.