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Apple TV could easily be the center of your entertainment system – until it starts freezing. There are a few reasons why this happens, and we’re covering them all plus what to do about it.
Let’s fix your Apple TV and get you back to streaming the content you love.
Table of Contents
5 Reasons Why Your Apple TV Freezes
Here are the 5 main issues that cause Apple TV to freeze or stop working, plus some solutions so you can tackle them.
1. Resolution Is Too High
Are you a fan of streaming high-resolution, defined shows and movies? This could be causing your Apple TV to freeze up during the process.
Resolution is the number of pixels on your TV screen. The more dots, the better and clearer the picture quality.
Solution: You can toggle the video quality of your Apple TV in settings to see if this affects your device’s freezing issue.
Go to Settings and then Video and Audio. Set the video output, choose Format, and switch the resolution. You can also play around with the frame rate and dynamic range settings to see if that helps playback.
2. Full Storage
In most electronic devices like phones and TVs, you can find something called random access memory, or RAM. For the latter, this is only found in smart TVs or TVs connected to Wi-Fi.
RAM is a fundamental part of most electronics, especially when it comes to temporary memory. You need RAM to process short-term information, like running certain programs through your Apple TV. Data is saved on your RAM, making your viewing experience a breeze.
If your RAM is full or almost full, though, you could run into a frozen screen on your Apple TV.
You can check your storage on your Apple TV by opening Settings, General, and Manage Storage. This will list all of the apps on your Apple TV and how much memory each takes up.
Solution: A quick fix for full RAM is deleting a few apps that suck the most amount of memory. You could also try clearing the cache, which is described further below.
3. Device Is Overheating
Virtually all electronic devices create heat during operations. When engineered correctly, this heat should have a place to escape so that heat is transferred quickly.
Unfortunately, our devices are far from perfect, and that includes your Apple TV box. Place a hand on the Apple console and notice if it’s hot to the touch. This happens often during overuse, if the device is sitting in the fun, or if the temperature in the room is not regulated.
Solution: Your Apple TV box works best in temperatures between 32° and 95° F. It will have an internal sensor that should shut itself down as a safety measure if temperatures get too hot, but you can also be proactive.
If your device is overheating, first turn off your Apple TV and disconnect the device from your TV if possible. The device should be unobstructed, with nothing touching its sides, under it, or on top of it. Be sure it’s on a flat surface.
4. Wi-Fi Issues
Apple TV is a set-top box that allows your TV to display online content. This means that it works with your Wi-Fi network unless you’re using Peer-to-Peer Airplay. For the former, any connectivity issues could cause your Apple TV apps and programs to freeze up.
Solution: Before fixing a Wi-Fi issue, conduct a speed test. Download a speed test app and run the program on your TV.
If you want to watch in 4K quality, you should have at least 25 Mbps download speed. Some videos and movies on Apple TV+ may require an even higher speed to display the clearest picture.
If your speed is too slow, reboot the router or try using an ethernet cable, as described further below.
5. Update or Software Issue
Apple TV may update automatically or prompt you to initiate updates. These updates are important to help introduce new features, fix bugs and glitches, and improve overall performance. You can choose your update preference under Settings, System, and Software Updates.
Apple updates usually happen everything a new tvOS operating system comes out – often in autumn every year with the latest iPhone. Smaller updates may appear throughout the year.
If an update isn’t installed correctly or you haven’t updated your Apple TV in a while, you may experience a frozen screen.
Solution: You can check for updates on your Apple TV using the instructions in the Solutions section below.
9 Potential Solutions
If the simple solutions up top didn’t suffice, here are a few extra steps you can take to try and resolve the issue.
1. Clear App Cache
The cache is where temporary data is stored on your smart TV. This includes information from apps and websites you use. If this information becomes cluttered, your screen could freeze up.
To clear the cache, perform a soft reset of your TV. Usually, this includes turning it off via the remote, then pressing and holding the power button for about half a minute.
For newer TVs made in the last two years, you can either perform a soft reset or clear the cache on individual apps. To do so, use your remote to navigate to Settings. Select Support, Device Care, Manage Storage, and clear the cache on your apps one at a time.
If you have trouble with the previous steps, you can also download an app that closes down background apps. This way, you’ll be sure nothing is running and slowing down your system in the background.
2. Reboot Router
Reboot your router by unplugging it from its power source. Wait half a minute, plug it back in, wait another two minutes, then power it back on. Once all the lights are back up and running, test your internet connection on your Apple TV.
3. Re-install App
If the crash keeps happening on a specific app on your Apple TV, delete it and redownload it. Note that your login information and app preferences will disappear.
4. Update System
Head to Settings, System, and Software Updates, and choose Update Software. Any pending updates will appear here. You can choose the one you want to install and select Download and Install.
The update will take a few minutes. Keep your Apple TV on and plugged in until the update is finished. The TV should then restart on its own.
5. Restart Apple TV
If your Siri remote is 2nd generation or later, press and hold the Back button until the status light starts blinking. For older remotes, use the Menu button.
Then, disconnect the Apple TV from the power, wait a few seconds, and reconnect. Open Settings, System, and choose Restart.
6. Ethernet Cable
If you still experience connectivity issues, try connecting your Apple TV device to your router directly with an ethernet cable. Many Apple TVs have ethernet ports to support this connection.
7. Reboot Your TV
Turn off your TV, unplug it from the power source, and wait half a minute. Then, plug it back in a turn it on. If you think the issue still stems from your TV and not just Apple TV, consider doing a factory reset. Instructions for this depend on your TV brand and model.
8. Try Another TV
Strangely enough, some users report more Apple TV problems when using Chromecast or certain brands of smart TVs. If you have reached your wit’s end, try your Apple TV device on another TV with no conflicting consoles to see if the problem truly lies within Apple TV itself.
9. Contact Support
When all else fails, Apple Support is a call away. Use the online webpage to browse forums, post your questions, download the support app, or reach out to Apple through phone, chat, email, and more.
If your Apple TV keeps freezing, it could be a streaming, storage, Wi-Fi, temperature, or software issue. With our long list of solutions, you’re sure to find a fix for it soon. It’s time to fix that screen and get back to your streaming!