AppleTV Problem FIXED

another screenshot saying 7 hrs and 10 min till I can watch my movieLast week I whined yet again about my AppleTV woes, where every time we try to start playing a rented movie, it tells me it will be hours till the movie is ready to play. Several people over the last few months have suggested that I call Apple but I poopoohed that idea. I did write to customer support on iTunes but while they happily kept refunding me my rentals, they didn’t know a darn thing about why this kept happening.

This week Lynda wrote in and really pushed me to give tech support a call. I did my usual arguments about how it’s not under AppleCare so why would they help me, but then I realized I had nothing to lose by trying. Heck, I’d tried everything else, right?

Whenever I call tech support I spend some time up front trying to convince the person on the phone to go quickly with me and skip all the easy steps. After my long diatribe explaining how my AppleTV insisted it would take hours to play my rented movie, the woman from Apple tech support said, “yeah, some AppleTVs do that.” I couldn’t believe it! She didn’t talk to me like someone reading from a script, she used very natural language which was odd and yet enjoyable of course. Then she said that she’s answered a ton of calls about this and one thing has worked for all but 2 people total out of everyone she’s helped.

She said to hold down the menu button and the down arrow at the same time for 6 seconds and release. This causes a restart of the AppleTV, but not the same kind of restart as the settings software restart. I explained that I’d tried the entirely hard reset and unplugging of the device but she said this is different.

Steve and I went hunting to try and find a movie at $3.99 or less so we could use up those 3 movie credits Apple gave me for not being able to watch movies. We had already seen X-Men the Last Stand but didn’t mind seeing it again for free, so we rented it. And…the AppleTV suggested we take a break for 7 hours and 10 minutes. Yay, at least it failed when I needed it to.

I held down the menu and down arrow for 6 seconds, let go, the AppleTV restarted in just a few seconds, and I was brought right back to the movie where I hit play – and it WORKED! I couldn’t believe it. Now it pains me to admit this but actually just a week or so before, SwitcherMark did send me the remote control trick Apple told me about but he didn’t really put it in context to tell me what to expect so I ignored him. He and I have an “interesting” relationship anyway, so ignoring him is one of my enjoyments in life. But I do have to admit he told me first. One more thing – the next time we tried to rent a movie (this time X-Men First Class also for $3.99) we never got the delay problem, nor did it come up on the third movie we rented this weekend, a new movie with Nicolas Cage called Joe, which is oddly priced at $0.99 right now!

So for anyone else looking for the fix, down arrow and menu button for 6 seconds, release, wait for restart and enjoy your movie.

110 thoughts on “AppleTV Problem FIXED

  1. Steve - September 14, 2014

    Maybe a nitpick but I would call this a work-around rather than a fix. It’s a bit bothersome we have to reset the Apple TV to get it to function properly. Nonetheless, we at least now have a way to watch movies rented through the Apple TV. Thank you Lynda, Apple Tech Support (and Mark).

  2. podfeet - September 14, 2014

    true…but the 2nd and 3rd time we rented it still worked. Might have been an aberration though…

  3. Peter Boodts - September 14, 2014

    Yeahhhhh ! πŸ™‚
    Now you can watch these great movies directed by Belgian directors like The drop and The Loft πŸ™‚

  4. Allister - September 14, 2014

    Interesting. I wonder if that would fix my local streaming problem. I will have to try it.

  5. Pat Putnam - September 14, 2014

    What down arrow?I assume you mean the down dot on the remote? πŸ™‚

  6. podfeet - September 14, 2014

    Yes Pat – the down dot. I have to retract my earlier statement. Steve is right, it’s a workaround. Just tried to play a TV show we bought and it said 8 min till we could watch. 6 seconds of down dot and menu and it played. sigh.

  7. Rob s - January 9, 2015

    Didn’t work for me. It did reset but offered the same wait on restart.

  8. podfeet - January 9, 2015

    Shoot, Rob. Maybe try it again? Mine has been flawless for the four months since I posted this.

  9. Adrienne pfaeffli - February 8, 2015

    I tried this several times. It resets but still says 2:19 mins to play a 2:03 min mover! ARRRRRGHH,

  10. podfeet - February 8, 2015

    Darn! Sorry it didn’t work Adrienne, at least it was easy to try…

  11. Chris - March 26, 2015

    This is so frustrating to me. I love Apple but they’re the absolute worst when it comes to communicating to customers about fixes coming. They say nothing, you occasionally get an update thinking “Yes! They’ve found the very obvious issue and are fixing it!” but it does nothing. I own 5 Apple TVs. We have close to 400 movies and several entire series of TV shows we’ve bought and primarily watch movies with our Apple TV. We have a wired network in our house. After update 7.0.2. the Apple TVs would become a brick on ethernet without constant restarting. I finally gave up and unplugged the ethernet cables and went WIFI after reading a number of posts about there being a glitch with the ethernet port after an update. It seemed fine…until…the issue is back. I just watched a movie when I got home, 4 hour wait. Restarted, did a speedtest on the WIFI network, 30mbps strong, no drop outs. The movie started. I watched it, turned on another right after 14 hour wait. Restart fixed nothing (Although, I didn’t find this until after that) so I plugged the ethernet in, the movie started immediately. I don’t get it. Its so annoying. Does Apple not care since its their cheapest product?

  12. Allison Sheridan - March 26, 2015

    Oh man, Chris, that’s awful! This was their market to lose and they’ve been lost in the dust by things as simple as the FireTV Stick.

    I hope this fix makes yours start working again, at least on Wifi?

  13. John - April 18, 2015

    The down arrow 6 worked for me! Thank you!!

  14. Allison Sheridan - April 18, 2015

    Fantastic, John! So glad it helped!

  15. Andrew Ledson - August 23, 2015

    Thank you Podfeet

    I swear this is the best tip i have EVER been given. Tried everything and worked perfectly !!!

    Kids are so happy now they can watch New moon tonight !!!

    great stuff..

    Andy – Bucks, UK

  16. podfeet - August 23, 2015

    Yay Andrew! This one is the gift that keeps on giving. The image of your joyful children warms my heart.

  17. Kelly - September 8, 2015

    Whaaaaa! Didn’t work for me! It reset the Apple TV but now the loading message wheel keeps turning and then says the movie will play in 35 min.

    Thanks though

  18. Allison Sheridan - September 9, 2015

    Bummer. Maybe try it again?

  19. Jill Moore - September 20, 2015

    I just bought a tv show in iTunes I really want to watch–and every time I try to on my apple tv, it tells me anywhere from 2 hours to 12 hours to load. I have yet to be able to watch a minute of it. I tried the menu and down dot, it restarted, but I got the same thing. Oh….it just added another half hour to load while I was typing this.

  20. dcooke1953 - September 23, 2015

    Tried it 3 times and it still has delays to play a purchased movie from my apple tv. the current attempt went from39 minutes to 1 hour and 10 mins. Apple TV is a joke

  21. Mike - September 27, 2015

    This works folks!!!!! I had a 6 hour wait time for a kids movie and had lots of boos for the first 15. I decided to quickly google it and a found the 6 second menu and down dot press for restart. It reset and when it came back on 1 minute later, it played movie instantly. I couldn’t believe it. It never is that easy. What a simple thing to try.
    Bravo for the post with the quick fix. 5 happy kids, one hero dad.

  22. podfeet - September 27, 2015

    Mike – this is officially my favorite comment on one of my posts of all time! Congratulations Hero Dad!

  23. Morten - October 30, 2015

    Worked here too. Thanks a lot for the help. Clearly, there’s a bug in the streaming protocol somewhere and Apple should obviously acknowledge and fix it.

    I’m so tired of not getting what I pay for and poor excuses made by incompetent help desk people. This country needs consumer protection. Now.

    FWIW, I flipped between different wifis in our house and even with a 150/150 connection and picking lowest (standard) res in settings (as suggested by Apple as a workaround when downloading is slow), the streaming remained stalled.

  24. Allison Sheridan - December 17, 2015

    Oh shoot Kathleen! I feel your pain (the sick kid part AND the AppleTV part). I suppose you tried more than once?

  25. Martin - January 8, 2016

    How do you do with new Apple remote control that has not downs arrow?

  26. Bianca - January 8, 2016

    This so worked! I could never rent movies on Apple TV and by golly this solved it!!!

  27. Allison Sheridan - January 8, 2016

    Yay! I’m so happy Bianca! Thanks for letting me know that it helped you.

  28. Allison Sheridan - January 8, 2016

    Martin – I haven’t had the same problem with the 4th gen AppleTV – are you having that problem?

  29. John - January 30, 2016

    On the new remote,hold down menu and play button

  30. Anonymous - February 12, 2016

    So I have had same problem. I tried the down dot for 6 seconds and bingo it worked. But will it work next time. Or do I buy a new gen box?

  31. podfeet - February 12, 2016

    You should ALWAYS buy a new gen box because it’s cool! But seriously, the fix appears to be permanent. I’ve never had to redo it/

  32. Courtney - February 14, 2016

    It literally just worked for me (play and menu button). I’m shocked. Thank you.

  33. Vishal - February 17, 2016

    Worked. Thanks.

  34. michael - February 18, 2016

    Wow I can’t believe this worked on the new apple tv too when I held down the menu button and the top button to the right of it. prior to doing this it said 4hrs 35min to download after checking for 3 days and even trying to tether off my iphone rather than time warner cable internet.

  35. Allison Sheridan - February 18, 2016

    Now that’s REALLY interesting, Michael. I never thought this problem would still exist AND the key combo would still work. Crazy.

  36. Anonymous - February 28, 2016

    just worked for me too, new remote, hold down menu and play for 6 seconds, let it go and walla, movie started immediately with no wait after I hit play.

  37. Stephanie - March 2, 2016

    This is bullshit. It was working fine a few weeks ago. Restart trick didn’t work for me.

  38. podfeet - March 2, 2016

    ARGH! I’m sure you’re frustrated, Stephanie (I picked up on that). Several people said they tried it a second time and it DID fix it. Hope that works for you.

  39. Brian - March 8, 2016

    Has not worked restarted twice :/

  40. Jam - March 20, 2016

    I’ve had Time Warner 50Mbps service for years…no problems…satisfied customer. Recently they boosted their fastest service from 50 to 300Mbps at no additional charge. Speedtest on all my devices…PCs, Ipads, Iphones, AppleTV all sent to about 118Mbps. Very nice I thought but to max it I need to upgrade the cable modem. Upgraded from SB6141 to SB6183. Wired speeds went to about 360Mbps, Wireless (AppleTV, Ipads, Iphones) all went to about 187Mbs. Very nice. Over the next few weeks I noticed severe degradation in video streaming performance. First noticed on the AppleTV would get “Ready in 1 minute” and wait forever. Video would hang and stop and buffer all the time whether itunes or HBOnow or Showtime app. And yet Speedtest app for AppleTV is showing about 180Mbps. Discovered that problem extended to other devices as well. Like watching any video clip from any source (ESPN, CNN, etc.) would stop or show in lower res. even though Speedtest is showing 150 – 180 mpbs. Huh. Replaced the router (latest gen Airport Extreme) with EERO mesh network. Problem still existed…not the router. All data speeds show blazing, video streaming is crap. What the hell? Re-activate my SB6141 cable modem…speeds on all devices drop back to about 118Mbps….all video playback problems disappear.

  41. podfeet - March 20, 2016

    Wow, Jam, that’s crazy. I wish I could say you didn’t give enough detail, or that you didn’t know what you’re talking about but clearly you do know and you did document the process. If it were just one device that wasn’t behaving properly we’d have a culprit but this is very strange.

    I just went through an EXTENSIVE process to figure out why my Internet of Things devices were only working intermittently, and I turned out to be a USB hub that was somehow interrupting my 2.4GHz network. So this stuff is weird. Here’s the process I followed: https://www.podfeet.com/blog/2016/03/what-could-kill-just-2-4ghz-network-on-an-airport-extreme/

    That makes me start wondering whether you could follow the same kind of process by turning off devices one at a time and seeing if your speeds came back (using the new modem)?

  42. Rodrigo - April 19, 2016

    podfeet.

    Thank you so much for your help. Have been searching for hours for a solution and yours was the only one that actually worked, and by far the easiest! You are a hero in my house.

    Rodrigo – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  43. Rodrigo - April 19, 2016

    Really sad to say that after the first 13 minutes of the movie, it once more stopped working.

  44. Allison Sheridan - April 19, 2016

    Oh no, Rodrigo – I want to still be your hero! Did you try it a second time?

  45. Anonymous - May 28, 2016

    Omg I can’t believe it worked!

  46. Anonymous - June 3, 2016

    Unplugging the power cord for a few seconds is what helped me

  47. Annie - June 25, 2016

    This did not work. Our movie had 7 hours to download. After your fix/workaround it went back to 10 hours to download. Essentially we lost the three hours we’d already downloaded.

  48. Monica Watts - June 25, 2016

    So over it. Ready to play in 21 hours, 32 hours or another ridiculous duration. Just been out to buy a brand new modem because we thought that was the problem. This has been going on for too long now. How can I get a refund on my rental?

  49. Allison Sheridan - June 25, 2016

    Annie, Some people have had success trying this fix a couple of times. You didn’t really lose the 3 hours, those times don’t represent real time. I saw them jump forward and back a LOT by themselves.

    Monica, go into iTunes, open your account and look for “Report a Problem” .

    Good luck both of you!

  50. Anonymous - June 26, 2016

    This actually worked…after endless tries this was our last hope. I am a hero in my daughters’ eyes. Thankyou so much !

  51. Anonymous - July 3, 2016

    Thank you for posting! Very glad I stumbled across this. It solved my Apple TV problem!

  52. Anonymous - July 10, 2016

    Does this work on Apple TV 4th Gen too? I’m having the same issues, it even go to a point where it was apparently going to take 30,792 hours! πŸ™‚ I’m positive it’s not my network or internet connection as I’m on a 100Mbps connection and everything else on the Apple TV works fine, including Netflix so it’s just an iTunes movie issue.

  53. podfeet - July 11, 2016

    It has helped people with 4th Gen Apple TVs. No harm in trying, hope it works for you.

  54. Nick - July 22, 2016

    Wow this worked!!!
    Thanks

  55. Anonymous - August 6, 2016

    Thanks!!!!!!!

  56. Glenn - August 7, 2016

    I read you post and was in hope that I’d stumbled on the answer…you were right, did the MENU + HOME buttons until the LED started rapidly blinking on the Apple TV 4th Generation unit and the movie went from “Ready to Play in 2hrs” to “Ready to Play in 1min”.

    BUT………

    It still would not play!

    Instead it bumbled around for a few minutes, flopped up to ready in 9min and then, like a dagger to the heart, went back to ready in 49min.

    I am starting to regret buying an Apple TV!!!!

  57. Allison Sheridan - August 7, 2016

    Oh no – so close! Some people have had success after doing it a second time, hope that works for you. It shouldn’t be this hard!

  58. chrystal - August 7, 2016

    Oh my goodness, I did this 3 times and 3rd time it worked like a charm, thank you SOOOOOO MUCH!!!

  59. podfeet - August 7, 2016

    Woohoo Chrystal! I’m so happy for you. I hope Glenn tries again.

  60. Anonymous - August 27, 2016

    Second time lucky!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

  61. Alex - September 9, 2016

    I have Apple TV 3rd Gen. Same issue for me as others have had. Rented movies take forever to load. Tried pressing the down arrow and menu key, restarted and the movie is now playing instantly. Thank you so much for positing this fix

  62. Baxter - September 20, 2016

    Ok, I just want to make sure that I have read things right. On older Apple TVs you push Menu and Down Arrow and on fourth generation you push Home and Menu?

  63. Anonymous - September 21, 2016

    I have the same problem playing Netflix on apple tv. I will try it and see what happens.

  64. Nestor Moya - September 25, 2016

    The “MENU” + “DOWN ARROW” did not work in my case. My problem is playing videos from my iMac hard drive to Apple TV; it is slow to load and videos hang up during play. I can play the same video from YouTube through Apple TV or by AirPlay from YouTube through mi iPhone and to Apple TV and both work OK. However, the same video through the iMac AirPlay from the hard drive doesn’t actually hang up, but the image is jittery.

  65. Roarz01 - September 25, 2016

    Thank you so much. We had to try twice but it worked in the end. It had been saying 1min for 3 hours. Even after we unplugged it. I highly suggest this.

  66. David Spencer - October 18, 2016

    So, does this only work for rented movies, or does it work for purchased movies,as well? I’ve done this 3 times (getting ready to do it a 4th) and to no avail so far. I was just wondering if there was a difference in “purchased” and “rented”?

  67. David Spencer - October 18, 2016

    So, does this only work for rented movies, or does it work for purchased movies,as well? I’ve done this 3 times (getting ready to do it a 4th) and to no avail so far. I was just wondering if there was a difference in “purchased” and “rented”? I hope this works. Phantasm remastered is at stake, here.

  68. Allison Sheridan - October 18, 2016

    I honestly never had trouble with purchased movies (mostly I buy Blur-rays). I sure hope it works for you. We feel your pain David.

  69. Fiona - November 11, 2016

    Oh wow!!! Thank you so much!!!

  70. Anonymous - November 15, 2016

    Worked, best thing i’ve ever read on the internet. thank you

  71. Anonymous - November 22, 2016

    For me it didn’t work and I just kept doing it. On my 5th attempt, I decided to leave the “ready to play in 7 hours” on for 5 minutes and it eventually played

  72. Anne - November 28, 2016

    Thank you!!!!

  73. Jane - December 2, 2016

    Have had identical problems- Apple TV bought Niv 16 not sure what version but 32Gb. Have re-started 3 times using Menu & Home buttons simultaneously- to no avail. Am on 4th try will advise result. Am wondering if other computers connected simultaneously to network may be an interference issue? If 4th try doesn’t work will try turning off computers to see if my theory is correct.
    Jane

  74. Jane - December 2, 2016

    Have re-read Apple trouble-shooting info & my Monster Powernet 50 Ethernet Anywhere (Ethernet via home wiring) & realized WIFI not reliable enough. Need to connect Apple TV via Ethernet – sorting out connections if all devices now & s/be OK.

  75. podfeet - December 2, 2016

    Thanks for the update, Jane. I wonder though. Apple TV, even the 4 has only 100mbps Ethernet. I suppose if your WiFi goes up and down a lot that’s worse, but that may not be the culprit. Hope you report back on what you learn. Nice to meet another geek!

  76. Jane - December 5, 2016

    Still nowhere yet – I am now trying to re-sync my Powernet Monster Ethernet devices to convince me our ethernet connection is working satisfactorily. AppleTV settings shows the connection but rented movie still showing increasing no. of hours to play time. Got quite excited about seeing 1 hr 55 mins a short time ago but now 2 hrs +
    I am frustrated but not giving in – yet!

  77. Anonymous - December 7, 2016

    Whoever posted his is a true genius! It works! Much love!!!!!

  78. Allison Sheridan - December 7, 2016

    To anonymous – so happy you’re sorted now and I accept the compliment!

  79. Rodney Brown - December 13, 2016

    I was having the slow buffering problem with movies rented from iTunes, but but didn’t have the problem with movies rented from Netflix. I ran into a different solution that worked for me. I read a post somewhere that said that the person had his Apple TV siting on top of his cable box. He decided to move it a ways away and it cured the problem. I had an older model Apple TV. It was sitting on a shelf about an inch above my DIRECTV box. I moved the Apple TV about 2 feet away from my DIRECTV box, and it solved the problem – no more long buffering with iTunes movies. I have since purchased a new Apple TV 4th generation and kept it a couple of feet away from my DIRECTV box and have had no problems.

  80. podfeet - December 13, 2016

    Rodney – I’d say that’s crazy story but after a USB 3 hub took out my 2.4GHz network I’ll believe anything! Thanks for sharing this, I bet it ends up helping someone else.

  81. Rodney Brown - December 13, 2016

    I know that it sounds crazy, but it actually worked for me – and the person who originally posted the tip.

  82. Deven - December 18, 2016

    Worked like a charm! Thanks

  83. BobC - January 2, 2017

    I can NOT believe. I’ve been trying everything imaginable for at least an hour while my move e is trying to load. I did this and now I’m watching my move. I LOVE you.

  84. Gary - January 3, 2017

    Can you do this using my iphone as the remote? The AppleTV remote broke.

  85. Allison Sheridan - January 3, 2017

    BobC you made my day with that comment!

    Gary – I haven’t tried it with the iPhone, but no harm in trying. Hope you’ll report back on whether it works.

  86. Renee - March 4, 2017

    My Apple TV doesn’t have a down arrow, just volume (plus and minus) and a the finger pad for swiping etc. Now what? πŸ™

  87. Renee - March 4, 2017

    Never mind, found a post from 2016 that says hold down menu button and play button. It reset, but fixed nothing. So annoying, it’s brand new.

  88. Anonymous - March 14, 2017

    Thanks for the help!!!

  89. Dan - April 23, 2017

    Legend- thank you!

  90. Celine - May 1, 2017

    My Apple TV remote does not have a down arrow. What do I use as an alternative? The buttons on my remote are Menu, Screen, Mic, Play/Pause and + and – would love to know how to rectify this issue using my remote control. Thanks.

  91. Allison Sheridan - May 1, 2017

    I haven’t tried it myself. It maybe the + would work as the up arrow.

  92. J - May 23, 2017

    didn’t help on a 2nd gen appletv. loads the movie, but then starts pausing to load every 20 seconds or so. so annoying since it has worked perfect for years..

  93. Allison Sheridan - May 23, 2017

    Oh shoot! Some people have tried the fix a couple of times and suddenly it DOES work. Worth a try?

  94. Marco von Untenhiemel - June 10, 2017

    That helped. THANKS!!

  95. Anonymous - June 13, 2017

    Omg this worked like a charm! Thank you.

  96. Anonymous - July 16, 2017

    This worked! Thanks so much!

  97. Jake - August 1, 2017

    This worked immediately, but I had downgraded playback to 720P… So I went back into the settings and boosted the playback back to 1080P and it promptly failed again. Reset a second time… no joy. I went back into the settings intending to downgrade playback quality again and noticed that it was still trying to download my purchased program. From the settings menu I killed the download that was listed at an hour and 17 minutes remaining. It worked again! But only for 7 minutes at which point the program hung up again! Boo, iTunes! I say BOO!!!
    Netflix, Showtime, Youtube… All work without any buffering. iTunes is worth crap in comparison!

  98. Pablo Honey - October 6, 2017

    Yes! I was about to throw my AppleTV into the garbage disposal.

    Thank you for sharing this hack.

  99. Andrew - October 6, 2017

    On newer models, Home + Menu until the led on the Apple TV begins to flash.

  100. podfeet - October 6, 2017

    Nice! Thanks, Andrew! I haven’t had the problem yet but I’m sure I will!

  101. Kelly D - December 29, 2017

    This worked!! Many thanks from Austin, Texas!!!!!!

  102. Anonymous - March 2, 2018

    Word πŸ™‚

  103. Dave - March 26, 2018

    Didnt work for me.
    Anything else?

  104. podfeet - March 27, 2018

    Many people have said that while the trick didn’t work the first time, after repeated attempts it eventually fixed it for them. Other than that…

  105. Anonymous - April 1, 2018

    All you have to do is go to the start screen, by continuously pressing the ‘menu’ button. After this just unplug the Apple TV, wait 10 seconds, and plug it back in. Now everything should work fine.

    (NOTE: If it says there is no internet connection, repeatedly click the ‘menu’ button, if this does not work follow instructions on your TV screen).

  106. Stephen - April 16, 2018

    I tried it twice on a b&w movie: went from 3 hrs loading to 5 hrs. Does not work for 3rd generation apple tv.

  107. Anonymous - July 21, 2018

    I jus tried this, it went from a 1 hour to 6 hour wait…

  108. Allison & Steve Sheridan - July 22, 2018

    Try it again. Sometimes it works on the second (or third) try.

  109. Anonymous - March 4, 2019

    This was awesome advice! Thank you so much. Have been ready to snap the remote in half. Have reset both the apple box, router, computer multiple times in the past week. Changed the battery in the remote. No luck. Tried to watch Bohemian Rhapsody and it just kept stalling. This worked perfectly. Appeciated!

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