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How to set up an Apple TV device for testing
How to set up an Apple TV device for testing

Learn how to set up your new Apple TV device for testing

Nikolas Fantoni avatar
Written by Nikolas Fantoni
Updated over a week ago

"Setting up your Apple TV for testing will not be a problem for you once you read this article."


Since the first Apple TV device was announced in 2006, many new devices were developed by Apple. Running a different OS than other common streaming apps, called tv OS, setting up these devices might make you spend a lot of time searching for the answers online. In order to prevent you from spending hours on the research, we have created this article. The focus of this article will be on the basic steps required for the first-time use of the Apple TV streaming device.

Plugging your Apple TV into your TV

All Apple TV devices contain standard HDMI output compatible with most TVs. In the case that you will be streaming 4K resolution content, make sure that you have plugged HDMI 2.0 port which supports HDCP 2.2 and that your device is also 4K capable. After that, connect your device's electrical cord to the power. Turn on your TV and the Apple logo will appear on the TV screen.

First-time setup

Complete the following steps only once and you don't need to repeat them in the future:

  1. Just after the Apple logo disappears, you will be prompted with a message to select the preferred language. Using your Apple TV device remote control, go through the list and select the language.

    NOTE: If the apple remote does not work, you may need to reset and pair your remote. Please follow the instructions in this link if you need more information.

  2. The second step of your Apple TV setup is to choose your region. This step can later be changed if necessary, so please select your own region to make the first set-up.

  3. The Apple TV will then show the Data & Privacy information. You must simply select Continue to move on to the next step of the set-up.

  4. The device will ask you if you want to complete the configuration using an iPhone or set it up manually. You can choose either of them but for the purpose of this tutorial, we're going to continue with the option Set Up Manually.

  5. The next option will be optional and depend on how you're planning to use the device when you're not testing any customer's app. You can either choose to Use Siri or not when you use the device later.

  6. Now the device will request access to a Wi-Fi Network. Only the Apple TV 3rd generation and newer will have access to 5GHz networks, so make sure you have the correct frequency available to connect your device.

  7. Now it's time to enter your Apple ID. You can either use an existing account or create a new one using an external device (Mobile, Tablet or Desktop). Once you finish logging in, you must choose if the device should require your password to complete purchases. Feel free to choose the best option for you. In the Apple ID screen, you can also select Skip This Step and add an account later. Just make sure you have one Apple ID added to the device at some point before starting testing since this information will be required to download apps from the Apple Store or Testflight.

  8. Apple TV devices also allow you to sign in using TV Provider credentials and the next step will ask you to do that. You can either sign in if you have a subscription or skip this step by selecting Not Now.

  9. The device will ask where it is installed in your house. This step is important because the room you select will become the name of your Apple TV, so if you have more than one device, make sure to select different rooms or add custom names by selecting Add New Room...

  10. For the Location Services screen, we highly recommend you select Disable Location Services. Some of our customers may request you to use a VPN or change your device location, so enabling this option might interfere with your testing.

  11. You will be required to manually add a timezone. You can select any timezone that fits your location for now.

  12. There will be two screens with optional steps that you can select. None of them affects the performance or the testing flow, so you can select the one that fits your preferences the best.

  13. Finally, you'll see the Terms and Conditions page. In order to complete the set-up, you must select Agree.

You'll land on the main menu and your device is ready to be used.

Note: Before you start using your device, we recommend you update it by navigating to Settings > System > Software Updates and selecting Update Software. This is also the path in case you want to see the OS version installed on your Apple TV.

How to create an Apple ID

In order to download apps from the App store or to use Testflight properly, you must have an account with Apple. To create a new account, you must visit and select Create Your Apple ID. You will need to enter valid information, including the phone number in case 2FA is needed. Once you complete the registration steps, you will be able to sign in using the created credentials on your Apple TV device.

Installing apps on your device

When customers build their cycles for Apple TV devices, they will provide the app using one of the three ways listed in the next sections.

App Store

If the user provides you with an App Store link or asks you to search the app name on the App Store directly in the device, it means they want you to test the production app build, the same one users have access in the test date. However, some apps might not be available for you depending on your location, so you will need to change your Apple ID location or create a new one. More information about how to set up a second Apple account can be found here. You may also need to use a VPN to access the app, so keep those instructions in mind. The image below shows an example of an app page taken directly from the App Store.


If the user provides you with a Testflight link, you will need a device running iOS, iPad OS or macOS with the Testflight app installed to access the link and accept the invitation. Remember the same account that was used to accept the customer's invite should be also used on your Apple TV. After that, you must download the Testflight app from the App Store on your TV as well if you don't have it installed already and open it. The customer app will be on the list, under the apps tab ready to be installed.

IPA files

Although this option is the most uncommon one, customers can provide you with the .ipa app file to be downloaded directly on the test cycle instructions. In order to install these files on your TV, you will need to connect it via USB cable (Apple TV 4th gen) or via Wireless to an Apple desktop device (an iMac, Mac Mini or a MacBook). You will also need to install either the Apple Configurator or the Xcode apps on your desktop device to be able to install such apps.

  • For the Apple Configurator, you must open the app menu and select Paired Devices... option. A screen will be shown and you can select your Apple TV from the list to connect. If you're using a USB cable, the TV will be already connected when you launch the app. You can now drag and drop the .ipa file directly to your device and it will start the installation process.

  • For the Xcode app, you must first launch it and then navigate to Window > Devices and Simulators. After selecting your device from the list, you will see the device information. Now you can select the + icon under the Installed Apps section and choose the IPA file to install on your device.

Note: If one method doesn't work for your device, try the other one.

If you only have Windows or Linux desktop devices available, you can try installing a Virtual Machine with macOS on it and use it to connect to your Apple TV. A suggestion about how to set up the VM can be found here, but bear in mind both the Apple Configurator and Xcode might not work properly with this set up and you may need to troubleshoot it by yourself since this is not an official way supported by Apple to connect to their device. You can always reach out to us or other testers using our Discord Community Server in case you have this combination of devices.

Changing the Apple ID linked to your device

If the customer asks you to use an Apple ID set to a different country than yours, you can either change your Apple ID location or create a new one, as explained in this article here. You can keep multiple accounts and set one as your default user or you can remove all existing accounts and keep only the Apple ID that will be used for testing. We recommend the second option since it will prevent any set-up mistakes, which are usually out of the scope of the cycles.

To remove one account on your device, you must navigate to Settings > Users and Accounts and select the user you want to remove. Then you can scroll down to the last option and select Remove User from Apple TV. To add a new account, you can navigate to the same User and Accounts screen and select Add New User... or Add Default User...

Changing the device language, location and region

It's common for streaming apps to restrict the access of their content depending on the real-world location of the device. When a customer requests you to VPN to a certain country, it means you must change the device accordingly.

  • To change the language and the region of the device, navigate to Settings > General and scroll down to the Language and Region section.

  • To change the device location, navigate to Settings > Users and Accounts and look for the Preferences section.

Crash logs on your Apple TV

If you find a crash bug while testing an app, you will need to provide a crash log in your report. We have one article covering all streaming devices that can be found here. As seen in the previous image shown in this article, Xcode can also access your device logs if you have it connected to your macOS desktop computer.

How to set up a VPN connection for your Apple TV on your Windows 10 PC

An important request from customers might be to use a VPN on your Apple TV device for testing. In order to do that, you must set up a virtual router on your desktop device because Apple TV doesn’t support installing VPN clients directly.

The easiest way is to download and install the VPN client on your PC, register, log in, and connect it (works with paid VPN clients like Avast Secure Line, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, privateVPN, or Windscribe).

  1. After that, you need to click on the Wifi icon on the Taskbar and click on the Mobile Hotspot to enable it.

  2. Now enter the keyword Settings in the Search field and press Enter.

  3. Click on the Network & Internet>Mobile Hotspot>Change Adapter Options.

  4. Right-click on your VPN Name Network Adapter and then click on the Properties.

  5. Switch to the Sharing tab, and check the Allow other networks to connect through this computer's Internet connection. When the popup window shows up, click on the OK button.

  6. Underneath, you will see a Home networking connection. Click on the drop-down and select Local Area Connection* 16.

  7. Click on the OK button to save the settings.

  8. Open the Settings of your Apple TV device and navigate to Network.

  9. Select Wi-Fi.

  10. In the list of available wireless networks, select the one you created for VPN and enter your Password.

  11. Select Continue.

Note: After you finish testing, you can turn off the Mobile Hotspot by clicking on the Wifi on the Taskbar and then clicking on the Mobile Hotspot.

How to set up a VPN connection for your Apple TV on your Macbook

⚠️ Some VPN Services no longer support L2TP/IPsec connections.

An important request from customers might be to use a VPN on your Apple TV device for testing. In order to do that, you must set up a virtual router on your desktop device because Apple TV doesn’t support installing VPN clients directly.

The easiest way is to download and install the VPN client on your PC, register, log in, and connect it (works with paid VPN clients like Avast Secure Line, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, privateVPN, or Windscribe).

Important: You must connect your Macbook to an ethernet cable (This is the only way your Macbook can hotspot the WiFi connection to your other devices). Some Macbooks don't have an ethernet port and you need to use the adapter instead. Before setting up your Macbook, login into your VPN client account and obtain the following data: L2TP/IPsec Username, Password, and server address.

  1. Open System Preferences.

  2. Click on the Network icon.

  3. Click on the + button.

  4. Click on the Interface drop-down and select VPN.

  5. Click on the VPN Type and select L2TP over IPSec.

  6. Enter your VPN service name.

  7. Click on the Create button.

  8. For the Server Address enter the one provided by your VPN client (e.g.

  9. In the Account Name field enter the Username provided by your VPN client.

  10. Click on the checkbox Show VPN status in menu bar.

  11. Click on the Authentication Settings.

  12. In the Password field enter the password provided by your VPN client; in the Shared secret field enter 1234567 and click on the OK button.

  13. Click on the Advanced button.

  14. Click on the checkbox Send all traffic over VPN connection and click on the OK button.

  15. Click on the Apply button.

  16. Select the VPN network you just created and click on the Connect button.

  17. Go back to the System Preferences and click on Sharing icon.

  18. Click on the Internet Sharing.

  19. In the Share your connections, from the drop-down, select the L2TP/IPsec VPN you created above.

  20. In the To Computers using, select Wi-Fi.

  21. Click on the Wi-Fi Options.

  22. In the popup window, fill in the data as follows: Network Name (Associate it with your VPN for more visibility), don't change anything in the Channel or Security (the default should be WPA2 Personal), and enter the password you like. Confirm the settings by clicking on the OK button.

  23. Open the Settings of your Apple TV device and navigate to Network.

  24. Select Wi-Fi.

  25. In the list of available wireless networks, select the one you created for VPN and enter your Password.

  26. Select Continue.

Note: If you disabled the wireless connection, you need to enable it after completing the settings above. After that, you need to click on the Start button to start sharing your internet connection with other devices.

Note: After you finish testing, you can turn off the Internet Sharing by navigating to the System Preferences>Network>Select the name of your VPN network>Disconnect.

Extra tips for your Apple TV device

We compilated a few extra tips that will help you test with your device.

  • Pressing and holding the TV icon on your remote will show the current date and time on your screen. This is useful when you are capturing a screencast or shooting a video from an external device. This is also how you can access the Sleep function to set your device to standby mode.

  • Using a different DNS server might be enough to access some app content. To change the DNS of your connection, navigate to Settings > Network > Wi-fi and select the network you are currently connected to. Then, select Configure DNS and switch to a Manual configuration. You can enter the DNS address you will use and when you are ready, select Done. You can revert this setting by following the same steps but instead of selecting Automatic instead of the Manual option.

  • You can press and hold the touch area of your remote or the central button depending on your device when the app is highlighted. The app icon will start shaking, which means it was selected.

    • To move an app, you can use the touch area of your remote or the directional buttons.

    • To remove an app, press the Play button on your remote to open the menu and select Delete.

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