Apple TV is an amazing device for streaming TV, movies and music — whether it’s Apple Music or other streaming platform — from the Internet to the TV. It even comes with a bunch of pre-installed apps that will let you start using the device right away.

But what if you want to add extra features or functionality to your Apple TV? What happens if your favorite video streaming service is not installed on your Apple TV or you want to play game ? Can you download Apple TV apps from the App Store like you can with an iPhone?

Answer: It depends on which model you have.

Install apps on Apple TV 4th and 5th generation: Yes

Apple TV and Apple TV Remote

if you have Apple TV 4th generation introduced by Apple in September 2015, or Apple TV 4K which is the 5th generation model that debuted in September 2017, you can download Apple TV apps to it.

These versions of the Apple TV are built around the idea that Tim Cook said introducing the 4th generation. model, applications are the future of television.

Installing applications on the 4th or 5th generation. Apple TV is similar and easy to install on an iPhone or iPad. The operating system running on Apple TV, called tvOS, is slightly different from iOS, so the steps to install apps on it are also slightly different. A step by step guide can be found See How to Install Apps on Apple TV .

Just like on iPhone and iPad, you can redownload apps on Apple TV as well. Go to app store app on Apple TV, select menu » Purchased» and select » Not on this Apple TV.» to view a list of applications available for redownload.

Install apps on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation Apple TVs: No

The back panel of the 2nd generation Apple TV.

Apple TV second generation.
Mikepanhu / Wikimedia

Unlike newer models, users can’t add their own apps to 3rd, 2nd, or 1st generation Apple TV models (except in one case, as we’ll see). This is because the third generation Apple TV and earlier models do not have the App Store for third party applications . But this does not mean that new applications are not being added.

Although users cannot add Apple TV to these Apple TV models themselves, Apple does add them from time to time. When Apple TV debuted, it had less than a dozen channels of internet content. By the time Apple discontinued these models, there were dozens of them.

Apple no longer supports 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation Apple TVs, so new channels are no longer being added to these models. For the latest apps and most options, upgrade to one of the new Apple TV models .

There were no warnings at all when new channels appeared, and users had no control over whether they were installed or not. When you turn on your Apple TV, you will find that a new icon has appeared on the home screen and you now have new content available. For example, the streaming service WWE Network wrestling just appeared on Apple TV screens without prior notice when it launched in February 2014.

Occasionally, Apple shipped new apps with Apple TV software updates, but new channels often debuted as they were ready.

Jailbreak for installing Apple TV apps

Not everyone is happy with the idea that Apple controls what’s on their Apple TV. These people often refer to jailbreak . Jailbreaking allows users to modify the Apple TV’s operating system to remove Apple’s restrictions and allow them to make their own changes, including installing software.

Jailbreaking can be a complex process that requires some technical understanding. It can also cause problems with the device you are trying to change, sometimes even leaving it unusable. So, if you’re planning on jailbreaking your Apple TV, make sure you have the necessary skills for the job (don’t say you haven’t been warned!).

If you decide to jailbreak your Apple TV, you can choose from the following options:

When it’s done, you can install new tools like Plex or XMBC which give you access to streaming content that Apple doesn’t have. You won’t be able to install any app you want — you can only use the ones that are compatible with Apple TV, but some are better than none.

To jailbreak an Apple TV, the jailbreak community needs to release the software for the version of tvOS you are using. Not every version of tvOS can be hacked. A good rule of thumb is that the older the version, the more likely it is that a jailbreak will be available.

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