So you’ve bought the new Apple TV (2015). You’ve eagerly torn the box open and given it all a good sniff. You’re ready to dive in. But where to begin?
Here are our top tips and tricks to get the most out of the fourth-generation Apple TV box.
1. Quick set-up
Let’s save you some time right off the bat, because nobody likes to waste time entering email addresses and passwords. The faster (and much cooler) way to set up the Apple TV is to use the existing network settings on your iPhone or iPad.
First, make sure your device is running iOS 9.1 (or a later version of the software). It also needs to be connected to your home’s wi-fi. All done? Activate the Bluetooth setting and place it next to your new Apple TV.
Now click ‘Set Up with Device’ on the Apple TV’s initial set-up screen and you’re good to go. The two devices will have a chat, during which the Apple TV will copy over your wi-fi settings. You’ll be connected in minutes.
2. Easier typing
The new Apple TV comes with a shiny new remote that brings a touch-sensitive track pad into the equation. That’s great on paper but the swiping input of the remote is not great for typing – you’ll end up overshooting the letter you want to click on.
You can minimise this frustration by clicking the edges of the remote, which will shift the on-screen cursor along one at a time. It really helps to pinpoint the letter or number you really want.
Additionally, you can adjust the swipe pad’s sensitivity in the settings menu. You’ll find it in Settings > Remotes and Devices and select Touch Surface Tracking.
And finally, you can switch between lower and upper cases by clicking the ‘Play/Pause’ button. Every little helps.
3. Make yourself at home.
Apple’s new ‘tvOS’ interface finally lets you download apps, but by default they appear on screen in the order that you download them. That just won’t do, so it’s time to move things around.
Highlight the app you want to move, then click and hold down the track pad. The icons will now begin to wobble, which is your signal to move. Now you just swipe around until your chosen icon is where you want it.
You’d rather delete the app, you say? Highlight, click and hold until you get the wobble. Then click the Play/Pause button to delete.
4. Get better sound
The default sound is designed not to annoy your housemates too much, but it means you won’t get the best sound possible. This is because the ‘Reduce Loud Sounds’ option is activated automatically. It squashes the sound’s dynamic range, and you don’t want that.
Go to Settings > Audio and Video > Reduce Loud Sounds – and turn the setting off. You’ll be able to feel the full impact of the explosions. Sure, your neighbours may not thank you but your sound will be free of equalisation.
5. Add Bluetooth headphones
Sometimes you just have to be considerate and not turn it up at 3am. What to do? Take advantage of the new Apple TV’s Bluetooth capabilities, that’s what. While some streaming boxes let you plug headphones into the remote control for sort-of-wireless sound, Apple has gone entirely wireless. Go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth. Here you will be able to add a pair of Bluetooth headphones. We managed to get our B&W P5 Wireless headphones connected in seconds. No more angry housemates.
6. Say what?
Sometimes you just can’t make out a bit of dialogue. Especially if you’re watching Tom Hardy and his trademark mumbling. This is a good time to make use of the built-in Siri voice assistant. Hold down the microphone button to bring up Siri and ask: "What did they say?" Siri will then rewind a little and play the scene with subtitles, which disappear after a while.
7. Quick restart
Occasionally the Apple TV will have a hiccup or two, at which point it’s a good idea to restart the box. There is no ‘off’ switch, however. Before you go unplugging the box, try this: hold down the menu and home buttons at the same time. This should activate the quick restart setting. You’ll be back up and running in no time.
MORE: Apple TV review