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Apple TV won’t turn on – possible causes and how to fix

Last Updated on January 15, 2024
Apple TV won't turn on
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If your Apple TV won’t turn on and you want to fix it, you are at the right place, as we have the solution for you.

Apple TV is a great way to enjoy streaming platforms on your TV. The overall interface feels right at home, and the integration of iCloud, AirPlay, Siri, Apple Music, and many more Apple features makes it the go-to option for those already in the Apple ecosystem.

However, it can be quite a bummer if your Apple TV won’t turn on. While the issue can be due to various reasons, in most cases, it’s just a bad HDMI cable or a broken power outlet. You can fix these problems by checking your cables and trying a different outlet, but if it still does not turn on, you will have to go for a different troubleshooting technique.

This is where we come in. We have got your back with multiple ways to fix an unresponsive Apple TV, and we’ll also explore what could be causing the problem in the first place.

Why isn’t my Apple TV turning on?

Some of the most common reasons as to why your Apple TV won’t turn on are:

  • Issue with the HDMI cable
  • Loose connections
  • Broken power cord
  • Malfunctioning wall socket or surge protector
  • Incorrect input source
  • Software glitches

How to fix an Apple TV that won’t turn on



Check your power cord

If your Apple TV won’t turn on, there could be something wrong with the power cord. Unplug the power cord and go over its length to look for any cuts or damages. While you’re at it, also look into the connector of the power cord with a flashlight for any signs of wear. 

If you find anything, it is likely, that your power cord is not working anymore, and you need to replace it. Luckily, it shouldn’t cost a lot and a quick replacement should get your TV up and running again. 



Power cycle your Apple TV

Power cycling is a good method to reset and drain your device of any residual power that the capacitors might be holding. Doing this also eliminates any bugs and glitches that might be causing your Apple TV to not turn on. Here is how you can do a power cycle:

  • Unplug both your TV and the Apple TV device from the wall socket.
  • Press the power button on the TV.
  • Wait for 30 to 40 seconds.
  • Plug everything back again.

Try turning it on after completing these steps and it should work. If it doesn’t, give the next step a shot.



Inspect the HDMI cable and port

If you’ve confirmed that the power cord is in good condition, the next step is to examine the HDMI cable. This cable links your Apple TV to your television. Carefully unplug it and inspect for any cuts, bends, or frayed areas. Also, look closely at the connectors on both ends of the cable and the HDMI ports on your devices for any bent or missing pins.

If the HDMI cable itself is damaged, you’ll have to replace it. 

However, if the HDMI port on your Apple TV is damaged, you’ll have to contact Apple support. Similarly, if the port on your TV is damaged, you can either try a different HDMI port or contact the TV manufacturer.

If everything looks good, you can try the next method.



Go over the connections

Even if all your cables and ports look good, the connections can be loose, causing your Apple TV to be unresponsive. Ensure that the power cord is seated firmly and correctly. It shouldn’t be loose at all. The same applies to the HDMI cable and all the other cables of your TV, along with the power adapter on the wall socket.



Check your wall socket

In case the wall socket you’re using is not working, it will not power the Apple TV, preventing it from turning on. You can test whether the wall socket works or not by using it with a different device. If the other device works, the socket is functional, and the issue is elsewhere. If it doesn’t, you should call your electrician for the fix.



Check your surge protector or power strip

If your wall socket or power outlet is working, but the surge protector or power strip (if you’re using one) is not, the Apple TV can be unresponsive. To check if that’s the case, you need to test the surge protector and the power strip.

First remove the surge protector and try turning on your Apple TV while it is connected to the power strip. If it works, then the likely culprit was the surge protector.

On the flip side, plug in the surge protector directly into a power outlet and see if your Apple TV works then. If it does, the power strip was the issue and needs to be fixed or replaced.



Select the right input source

The TV you use with the Apple TV should have multiple HDMI ports. So, if you’ve plugged the Apple TV into the HDMI 1 port, you must also ensure the TV’s input source is selected to HDMI 1. Here’s how:

  • Press the Input/Source button on your TV’s remote.
  • Alternatively, press the Settings button and navigate to Input/Source.
  • From there, choose the right HDMI port.

If you’re unsure which HDMI port to select, you can try them one by one and see which one works.



Select the right resolution

Your Apple TV can support up to 4K resolution. However, if your TV’s resolution does not match Apple TV’s, it may become unresponsive. To fix this, you need to go through all the available resolutions of the Apple TV and select one that works.

  • For Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, simultaneously press and hold the Volume Down and Menu buttons for 5 seconds. If you’re using a 2nd or 3rd generation Apple TV, press and hold the Up and Menu buttons together for the same duration. 
  • Following this, your Apple TV will begin cycling through all available resolutions, each displayed for 20 seconds.
  • If you see a resolution that restores the display, simply press the OK button to select it.

This should fix the resolution problem, but if nothing happens as you press the buttons and no resolutions come up, the issue is likely with something else. That said, you might be experiencing the Apple TV black screen issue, which we have covered how to fix as well. 



Restart the remote

Sometimes, the Apple TV remote or the Siri Remote also runs into problems that could make the Apple TV unresponsive. To fix this, you can restart the remote.

  • Make sure the remote has been charged for at least 30 minutes.
  • Press and hold the Volume Down and Control Center buttons simultaneously for around 5 seconds (or until the Apple TV’s status light turns on).
  • Again, wait for 5 to 10 seconds.

After that, try to turn on the Apple TV, and it should work. If it doesn’t, you can move to the next step.



Restore your Apple TV

Your tvOS can run into glitches or bugs that may prevent it from functioning properly. To clear any issues like this, you can restore it to the factory settings. This also means that all your configurations and login info will be erased, and you’ll have to set up your Apple TV again from scratch.

Only the Apple TV (3rd generation or HD) can be restored. You’ll have to contact Apple support if you have an Apple TV (4th generation). Furthermore, you need an internet connection and a USB-C (for Apple TV HD) or a Micro-USB cable (for Apple TV 3rd generation) to restore it to its original settings. Here’s how:

  • Unplug the power cord and HDMI cable of your Apple TV.
  • Connect it to your Mac or PC using a USB-C or Micro-USB cable (depending on the model).
  • On PC, open iTunes. Similarly, on Mac, open a Finder window.
  • From there, select your Apple TV and click Restore Apple TV.
  • Wait for the restoring process to finish.

After successfully restoring it, you can reconnect your Apple TV to your TV. Use an HDMI cable and a power cord for this. Once connected, try turning it on, and with any luck, it should work.



Contact Apple TV support

If your Apple TV is still not turning on, there is likely something wrong with the internals. In this case, you’ll have to get help from Apple TV Support.


Can I use Apple TV without a remote?

You can certainly use your Apple TV (4K and HD) without a remote if it has been damaged or lost. You simply need to set up your iPhone or iPad and operate your TV via those devices.


Your Apple TV might not be responding for various reasons, but don’t worry; most issues can be resolved quickly on your own. Start by double-checking all the cables, power outlet, and surge protector to ensure everything is properly connected. Next, verify that you’ve selected the correct input source and resolution settings. For those using a 3rd generation Apple TV, restoring the device is another option. If all else fails, reaching out to Apple TV support is your best bet.

Ussamah works as a content writer and editor at BGFG. He is experienced in tech, hardware, gaming, and marketing.