Apple TV Black Screen of Death (10 Fixes)

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The Apple TV black screen of death can occasionally happen. Most of the time, it’s not a big problem. 

Whenever my Apple TV has a black screen, I’ll go through this checklist of causes to troubleshoot and fix the problem causing the black screen.

This guide will help you fix any problems with a black screen on the Apple TV. 

I’m going to cover the most common causes and how to fix each problem. 

Apple TV Not Turning On
Apple TV Black Screen

10 Fixes for Apple TV Black Screen 

Here are the top black screen solutions for an Apple TV. 

1. Is the Apple TV Powered On?

Check the front of your Apple TV for the white status light. Is it lit or not?

If the status light is off, then the Apple TV is not powered on or there’s no power going to it. Press the “Menu” button or Home button on your remote control to wake up the Apple TV. 

If nothing happens, then check the power cable to make sure it’s plugged in tight. If it’s not, then replug the cord in firmly and try turning the Apple TV on again. 

If it still doesn’t work, unplug the Apple TV. Wait 60 seconds and plug it back in. Try to turn it on again. 

If that still doesn’t work, it could be the specific power outlet that the Apple TV is plugged into. Try a different power outlet that you know has electricity flowing through it and plug the Apple TV in there. 

If you can’t get the white status light turned on in the front of the Apple TV, it could be a faulty Apple TV. If that’s the case, you will need to take it to Apple Support to open it up and see what the hardware issue is. 

2. Check HDMI Cable and Replace

If the Apple TV is powered on, but there’s just a black screen, check your HDMI cable. You may also have a black screen with sound. 

Check for a loose HDMI cable on both ends, the Apple TV and the TV input source. 

You can try to unplug the HDMI cable and replug it back in on both ends. 

If that doesn’t solve the issue, try using a different HDMI cable. This can confirm or rule out any issues with the HDMI cable. 

If there’s still a black screen with the new cable, try using a different HDMI input source. It could be the original HDMI input port that has an issue. 

3. Is the Apple TV Remote Charged?

Another reason for the black screen could be that the remote control isn’t charged, so it can’t turn on the Apple TV.

Use the lighting-to-USB adapter to charge the Siri remote control. It’s best to use a USB power adapter that you can plug into the wall, instead of plugging it into a computer’s USB port. It will help the remote charge faster and fuller. 

Try the remote again after 30 minutes of charging to see if it will turn on the Apple TV. 

You can also remove and replace the physical batteries on the back of the remote control. The Apple TV remote uses a CR2032 or BR2032 battery. 

4. Are the Apple TV and Remote Paired?

If your Apple TV remote stopped working, you may need to re-pair it with the Apple TV device. You can do so by following these steps:

  1. Connect your Apple TV to a power outlet.
  2. Hold down the Menu button and Volume Up button simultaneously for about 5 seconds.
  3. Place your remote next to the Apple TV, which will prompt you to pair.
  4. When prompted, press and release the OK button on your remote. 
  5. Leave the remote control on top of your Apple TV and wait for the pairing to finish. 
  6. Once paired, you can use your remote to control your Apple TV.
Watch Apple TV and Eat Popcorn
Watch Apple TV and Eat Popcorn

5. Restart the Apple TV

Some software settings in the Apple TV might have become corrupted and slowed or crippled the Apple TV to function correctly. An easy fix is to restart the Apple TV. 

Apple TV doesn’t come with a physical power button, but there are a couple of ways to reboot the device. 

One way to restart the Apple TV: 

  • Unplug the Apple TV power cable.
  • Wait 60 seconds and plug it back in.
  • Wait for the Apple TV to finish rebooting. 

A second way to restart the Apple TV is with your remote control. Follow these steps: 

  • Press and Hold the Menu and Down buttons together for 10 seconds. 
  • When you see the Apple TV’s status indicator link continuously blink, release the 2 buttons. 
  • Wait for the Apple TV to finish rebooting. 

6. Change Video Resolution on Apple TV

If the Apple TV starts up and you see the Apple logo, but then get a black screen, it could be a mismatch of the video resolution conflict with the Apple TV and your smart TV. 

Here is how to change the video resolutions depending on which Apple TV model you have. 

For the Apple TV 4th Generation model: 

  • On the remote, Press and Hold the Menu and Volume Down buttons together for 10 seconds. 
  • Release both buttons to start the Apple TV switching to new resolutions every 20 seconds. 
  • Select OK once you get a resolution that shows an image. 

For the Apple TV 2nd and 3rd Generation models: 

  • On the remote, Press and Hold the Menu and Volume Up buttons together for 10 seconds. 
  • Release both buttons to start the Apple TV switching to new resolutions every 20 seconds. 
  • Select OK once you get a resolution that shows an image. 

7. Lower Streaming Quality

The Apple TV streaming quality is automatically set to high-end 4K resolution. You always want the best resolution when watching shows on the Apple TV, but it’s possible your internet connection can’t support the high speeds required. 

That would lead to constant buggering and a blank screen while it’s waiting for the high-quality video to pass through. The audio takes much less bandwidth, so you could have a black screen with sound. 

You can try lowering the streaming video quality to 720p or lower to 480p to see if those will give you any image on the TV. 

8. Update Apple TV Software and tvOS

Maybe you’ve updated your smart TV’s firmware and software, but the Apple TV software or tvOS is on an older version that’s incompatible, so there’s a black screen issue. These software issues are easy to fix. 

Follow these steps to update the Apple TV software: 

  • Open Settings on your Apple TV
  • Select System
  • Select Software Updates
  • Select update Software
  • Select Download and Install to start the download and update process. 
  • Make sure not to disconnect your Apple TV during the update process. 

9. Logout and Login Again to Your Apple ID

Your current logged-in session on your Apple TV could have been idle too long and Apple TV isn’t recognizing your login.

To fix that, log out and log back in.

  • Open the Apple TV app
  • Select Account
  • Select Sign Out

Restart the app and log back in with your Apple ID and password. 

10. Factory Reset the Apple TV to Factory settings

After using the Apple TV for some time, settings will get corrupted and cause weird things to happen, including a black screen with the Apple TV. 

A factory reset is a good option if you’re having problems with your Apple TV, and it rarely works like it should. Wiping everything clean can reset the Apple TV back to when it was new. 

A factory reset removes all personal data from the Apple TV, including apps, media files, saved passwords, etc. 

Factory resets are permanent and cannot be undone. Perform the factory reset with these steps: 

  • Open Settings
  • Select System
  • Choose 1 of the 2 Reset options.
    • Reset: Resets the Apple TV back to its original factory settings. 
    • Reset and Update: Resets the Apple TV back to its original factory settings AND updates the Apple TV to the latest software. 
  • Don’t disconnect the Apple TV during the reset process. 

Apple TV Black Screen Final Thoughts

If none of these fixes work, then you’ll need to take your Apple TV into an Apple authorized service center for repair. Find where one is located at Apple Support

To learn more about fixing other TV brands that have a black screen, check out these articles: 

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Written by:

Greg Randall
Greg Randall is deeply immersed in Smart Home Technology, with years of experience in home automation, from smart displays to TVs. He enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with like-minded enthusiasts. Beyond smart homes, Greg loves snowboarding and exploring new culinary scenes with friends, bringing a zest for adventure and fine dining to his tech-savvy lifestyle.