If you were lucky enough to receive one of the new Apple TV developer kits I’m sure you noticed that it wasn’t plug-and-play out of the box. Apple ships the developer kit without a copy of tvOS installed. It makes sense that they did this on purpose to ensure that everyone who received the kit also had a valid developer account. Once you download the tvOS beta from the developer portal you can load it onto the Apple TV using iTunes. I’m running iTunes 22.214.171.124 and had no issues. Once plugged in, the Apple TV shows up under devices and you can load the newly downloaded tvOS file by holding “option” as you click “Restore Apple TV…” Select the unzipped tvOS file and load away.
The next challenge came as Apple released tvOS Beta 2 today. I wanted to update the Apple TV to the latest version and ran into a few issues. There are 2 methods for updating to tvOS Beta 2, either over the air or through iTunes. Both methods require a trick to work.
Over the Air: If you have your Apple TV connected to wifi and select software update from the Settings –> System menu you will get as far as the update downloading and you pressing install. The update will immediately fail and you will get a message that you should reset your device and try again. It will fail every time unless you are able to connect your Apple TV to the Internet with an ethernet cable. This is most likely a bug that will be resolved in the next release, since the Apple TV seems to disable the wifi connection before attempting to apply the update and it fails.
Update through iTunes: After the first failed OTA update attempt, I tried updating the software through iTunes like I had done when first receiving the device. After downloading the tvOS Beta 2 file from the developer site I connected the Apple TV to my Macbook. When I launched iTunes the Apple TV never showed up as a device. It will never show up unless you place the Apple TV in recovery mode by pressing the Play/Pause and Menu button at the same time until you see the LED flash rapidly. The device will immediately pop up in iTunes and you can hold option and click Restore to restore the Apple TV using the new tvOS file. If you decide to go with this method it does warn that all of your device will be wiped and restored using the new software version. I opted for the OTA update once I figured out how to make it work.
Check back later for more Apple TV Developer Kit tips.