If your Apple TV light is blinking and it’s giving you problems, this can be very concerning.
Thankfully however, Apple TVs (and other Apple devices) are designed to have great longevity, and rarely experience issues that cause them to completely break.
So if your Apple TV isn’t working and the light is blinking, chances are it’s something simple that’s causing the issue.
Within this article, we’ll go over several reasons why your Apple TV light may be blinking, and provide some troubleshooting tips that will help you solve the problem. Typically, each one of these solutions only take a few minutes to implement.
Without any further ado, let’s get to it!
Apple TV Status Light – What Each Thing Means
Before we get into causes and solutions for the blinking light issue, it helps to familiarize yourself with what the status light is for, and what each thing means.
If the light is completely off, then the Apple TV is powered down or in standby mode.
If the light is on consistently and is not blinking, this means that the Apple TV is operating normally. If nothing appears on the screen, this can point to an issue with the HDMI connection, or your TV not being set to use the right HDMI port. This can normally be fixed by pressing the ‘input’ button on your television remote.
If the light blinks once, this means it registered a button press on your Apple TV remote.
If the light is blinking quickly, this usually means that a software update is in progress. If an update is in progress, you shouldn’t attempt to unplug the device or power it down. If the light is blinking and a software update isn’t in progress, it points to other issues, which we’ll cover in a moment.
Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves with the status light, let’s look more into the possible issues that would cause it to blink rapidly.
Causes And Solutions
1. It Needs To Be Reset
Like many tech problems, sometimes this one can be solved by simply turning the device off and back on again. However, you should only do this if your Apple TV is not currently updating.
If your Apple TV is in the middle of an update, the Apple logo will appear on the screen along with a progress bar, and a warning message telling you to ensure the TV does not get unplugged during the update.
If the update message isn’t there, you can safely restart the Apple TV. In this case, we want to do what’s known as a ‘hard reset.’
To do this, hold down both the menu and the home button on your Apple remote for 6-10 seconds. The status light on your Apple TV should start blinking rapidly – let go of the buttons, and your Apple TV resets.
If it boots back up as normal and the light is no longer blinking, then congratulations! The error is fixed. A hard reset alone is often enough to fix an Apple TV that is experiencing the blinking light problem.
2. There’s A Connection Issue
Next, you should identify connection issues that may be causing your Apple TV light to blink.
To start, ensure that you’re using the right HDMI port on your television, and that you’re viewing the right screen. Usually, you can swap between HDMI ports by clicking the ‘Input’ or ‘Source’ button on your television remote (not the Apple TV remote.)
If you’re sure you’re connected to the right port, gently remove the HDMI cord from the television as well as the Apple TV. Then, carefully plug both back in.
If it still doesn’t work, try plugging the HDMI cord into a different HDMI port on your television. This will rule out the port itself being broken or damaged.
Finally, if neither of these work, try using a different HDMI cable entirely – even if you have to borrow it from a different device temporarily. It’s possible that there could be an issue with the cord itself that is causing connection issues. If a different cord fixes the problem, you can be certain that the issue was caused by the HDMI cord.
3. A System Update Was Interrupted
This one is rare, but it does happen. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to diagnose unless you know what to look for.
When system updates are interrupted, it can cause your Apple TV to be completely unusable until the issue is fixed. This is because your Apple TV has it’s own operating system (tvOS), just like a computer does. If updates are interrupted, the operating system can become corrupt, leaving the TV unusable.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem.
To solve it, download iTunes on your computer. Then, plug your Apple TV into your computer via USB.
iTunes will then give you status information about your Apple TV. If an update is available, they will present you an option to update it (which you should do.)
Otherwise, you will also be able to completely restore it from within iTunes.
If there are critical software issues that cause the TV not to work, doing a full system restore essentially resets everything to the factory defaults, fixing the overwhelming majority of issues.
Unfortunately, you may need to redownload apps that didn’t come with the Apple TV, and sign back into services that required a login.
Still, this should fix most issues. Note that this fix will work even if you don’t have the remote available.
4. The Resolution Needs To Be Changed
Finally, one last thing that you can try is changing the resolution of the TV.
Issues regarding resolution occur most frequently the first time you plug your Apple TV in, or the first time you use it on a new TV – especially if the new television uses a different screen resolution than the one the Apple TV was connected to previously.
In order to change the display resolution that your Apple TV uses, hold down both the menu and volume down buttons for about 5 seconds, then release it. When you are on the proper resolution for your TV, press ‘OK’ to keep it.
Apple TV Warranty Information
If nothing is working and you need to send your device in for repair, don’t worry!
All new Apple TVs come with a one-year warranty that protects against manufacturing issues, and the total coverage can be extended if you purchase AppleCare.
However, even if your Apple TV is out of warranty, it can still be repaired or replaced for $119-$149, depending on the Apple TV you own. The one exception to this is the 3rd generation Apple TV, which is only $49 to repair or replace.
Full details on Apple’s warranty for the Apple TV can be found here.
Although the Apple TV light may blink rapidly, most issues can be fixed by trying the things above.
However, if none of these work, you should visit an Apple store for advanced diagnosis and assistance.
I hope that the fixes within this article were able to solve your problem. If you have any other questions about Apple TV or other smart TV devices, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister