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Apple TV allows you get the full experience of your smart TV with a multi-user experience, helpful Siri remote, and a huge range of apps. If you’re experiencing screen blackouts for a few seconds during use, we’ve got the reasons it happens and how to fix it.

3 Reasons Why Apple TV Goes Black

There are a few things that could cause your Apple TV to go black for a few seconds, and most of them have simple solutions.

1. Match Dynamic Range or Match Frame Rate

Apple TV has two modes that could cause intermittent screen blackouts: Match Dynamic Range and Match Frame Rate. These allow your Apple TV 4K to work better with the content that you’re watching.

The match dynamic range matches the output to the dynamic range of the content, while Match Frame Rate matches the original frame rate.

Your Apple TV will automatically determine which range/rate to use and, during these few seconds, you may experience a flickering black screen.

2. Warning Symbol/Flashing Status Light

You may experience a black screen if you received a warning symbol, error message, and/or flashing status light during a software update.

3. Hardware or Connection Issue

Other causes of a temporary black screen include issues with cables, Wi-Fi, Apple TV connection, and faulty hardware.

8 Potential Fixes

Here’s eight solutions you can try today.

1.    Check Cables and Connection

As in most cases, when you have a screen issue the first step is to make sure all of your cables and wires are plugged in correctly and intact.

Focus on the HDMI cable, making sure that it’s plugged in correctly. If you’re using HDMI 2.1, you should use an Ultra-High-Speed HDMI cable. For HDMI 2.0, use a Premium High-Speed cable.

To double-check that the cable and port are intact, you can even try an alternative HDMI, if possible. Once everything is plugged in, make sure that the HDMI input on your TV matches the port you’re using on the TV settings menu.

If switching ports, turn off and unplug both your TV and Apple TV from their power sources.

As an additional step, go to your Apple TV general settings, select Video and Audio, and choose Check HDMI Connection.

2.    Consider Recent Changes

If you’ve recently changed your Apple TV setup and started experiencing the black screen shortly thereafter, this could point you to the problem and solution. Try reverting to your old setup to see if this resolves the issue.

3.    Turn Off Match Dynamic Range or Match Frame Rate

To turn off Match Dynamic Range or Match Frame Rate, go to:

  1. Settings
  2. Video and Audio
  3. Match Content
  4. Select the appropriate range/rate
  5. Turn off both

4.    Address the Warning Symbol

If you saw a warning symbol on an Apple TV 4K during a software update, you’ll need to contact Apple support.

If you received the warning on an earlier Apple TV HD with a flashing indicator light, you can restore your Apple TV to fix it.

  1. Unplug your HDMI cable and power cord
  2. Plug a USB-C or Micro-USB cable into the back of your TV and connect it to your computer. If it is an HD or 3rd generation TV, plug in the power
  3. On a Mac, open Window Finder. On a PC, open iTunes
  4. Select your device
  5. Click Restore Apple TV. Wait until the restoration is complete before you unplug any cords.

5.    Update Apple TV Software

Software updates are important to address bugs, fix glitches, and generally keep your Apple TV working good as new. Apple TV could be set up to automatically update or you may have to manually allow the updates.

If you see a message on your TV saying that an update is available, follow the directions and go through with the update. You can also manually check for updates with the following prompts:

  1. Open Apple TV Settings
  2. Select System, Software Updates, and Update Software
  3. If an update is available, select Download and Install

Allow the update to complete. Don’t disconnect your Apple TV. If you see a flashing light, this is normal.

If you’d like to set up automatic updates, do the following:

  • Select System, Software Update, and Automatically Update

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6.    Stop Using a Receiver/HDMI Switch

If you’re using a receiver or HDMI switch, this could be causing the black screen in the first place. Connect your Apple TV directly to your TV instead first.

Once Apple TV is displayed on your TV, add your HDMI switch or receiver one at a time. After each time, check if the Home Screen still appears to pinpoint if the issue is with either item.

7.    Turn Off HDR

High dynamic range (HDR) on a 4K TV provides a more realistic image with increased contrast, brightness, and color. Some people have found that turning off their HDR and reverting to Standard HDMI Format has stopped their Apple TV from flickering black.

To do this, follow these prompts:

  1. Go to your TV Settings
  2. Select Picture
  3. Select Advanced Picture Settings
  4. Choose HDMI Function and select Off

Some TVs will have different setting selections, such as “HDMI Ultra Deep Color” or others. Check your TV’s manual or look for another version of the HDMI Function button to turn off HDR. Then, return to Apple TV and use it for a few minutes to see if the problem is resolved.

8.    When the Apple Logo Is Followed by a Black Screen

If you’re only seeing the intermittent black screen after the Apple logo appears, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the back button and volume down button on your remote at the same time.
  2. Hold for six seconds.
  3. Your Apple TV will then switch resolutions every 20 seconds. When it lands on a resolution you like, select OK. You can also select Cancel to quit.

Final Thoughts

If your Apple TV is flickering a black screen now and again, it may be because of a change in the frame/rate, a problem with your software update, or another hardware or connection issue. Luckily, the eight fixes above will address most of these issues. If all else fails, contact Apple TV Support for further assistance.