Saturday, December 6, 2014

Restart Apple TV Without Pulling the Plug

Apple TV has been a great addition to our household: streaming Netflix to our TV wirelessly; streaming content on our Apple iPad or iPhone to the big screen - it's been well worth the $99.
But it's not perfect. As with any computing device, on occasion it can hang. We'll be starting up a Netflix movie, only to see it keep loading… loading… loading. Finally an error message. After trying one more time, and getting the same thing, we know the problem: Apple TV is hung.

The problem: how to restart a device that has no keyboard?  Apple TV is just a black hockey puck-like sealed device.  Ah, no problem.  When in doubt, pull the plug!  And sure enough, that works.  Replug it after 60 seconds, wait for the Apple logo for a minute or two, and problem solved.
Well yeah, it works, but it's a bit of a pain reaching into the bowels of the entertainment center, unplugging the Apple TV, and especially trying to replug the cord without being able to see what you’re doing (your entertainment center is probably less cluttered). There must be a better way.
So after doing this for almost a year, it turns out there is an easy way to restart Apple TV – with just the Apple remote.  For Gen 3 Apple TV simply hold down Menu and the Down arrow on the remote for a few seconds to initiate an Apple TV restart. (For Gen 4 Apple TV it is different: hold down the Menu and Home buttons and release once the white LED starts flashing on/off.  Yes!  But, um…how is anyone supposed to figure that out?  C’mon Apple: a tiny little restart button on the remote – is that too much to ask?
But I guess beggars can't be choosers.  You can restart Apple TV from the comfort of your couch just using the remote: no unplugging required!