Apple TVs are one of the most popular smart TVs around.
If you have settled down to watch a few hours of your favorite content and the TV is lagging, it can be incredibly frustrating.
Why do Apple TVs lag, and is there anything you can do about it?
Your Apple TV is lagging because you have a poor WiFi connection, outdated TV firmware, or the app caches are too full. It could also be because you’re trying to play content at too high of a resolution, or you have too many apps downloaded, or your Apple TV needs a reset.
Read on to discover more about why your Apple TV is lagging and find helpful solutions.
Six Causes of Lagging in Apple TVs
In the introduction, I mentioned six causes of your Apple TV lagging. I’ll discuss these reasons in more detail below:
Poor WiFi Connection
Apple TVs depend on a strong and stable WiFi connection to stream content. Even if you watch live content, a strong internet connection is essential.
Your Apple TV might have a weak internet connection due to the following:
- Slow WiFi speed
- Oversubscription to the WiFi network
- Obstructions between your Apple TV and the WiFi router
Let’s take a look at these causes in more detail below:
Slow WiFi Speed
Apple recommends internet speeds of:
- At least 8 Mbps for 1080p HD content
- At least 6 Mbps for 720p content
- At least 2.5 Mbps for SD (standard definition) content
You can use this online speed test to measure your internet bandwidth.
Most routers surpass these recommended values, but internet bottlenecks can disrupt this. If you find that your WiFi speed is consistently slow, you might consider upgrading your plan.
Alternatively, use an ethernet cable to siphon the connectivity to your Apple TV.
Oversubscription to the WiFi Network
If too many devices are connected to your WiFi network, it can slow the speed. If you have never checked which devices are connected to your network, you’d be surprised. They range from smartphones and smart speakers to laptops.
You can resolve this issue by disconnecting unnecessary devices.
Obstructions Between the Apple TV and the WiFi Router
Checking for obstructions between your Apple TV and your WiFi router could resolve the lagging issue. Examples of obstructions include heavy furniture and walls, but you could also try positioning your router closer to the TV to boost the connection.
Outdated Apple TV Software
When was the last time your Apple TV’s software was updated? If you’re experiencing lagging, there’s a good chance your TV’s firmware is outdated. Updating the firmware reduces annoying glitches, removes bugs, and helps your TV function more efficiently.
You can program Apple TVs to update their software automatically, or you can do it manually.
To update your TV’s software, follow the steps below:
- Using your remote control, head to System, Software Updates, and then Update Software.
- You will be able to see if an update is available.
- If there is, click Download and Install.
- The process only takes a few minutes, and your TV should return to normal after this.
Too Much Video Resolution
Apple TVs allow users to choose the resolution in which they want to watch their content. If your resolution selection was overambitious, you may have a choppy viewing experience, especially if your WiFi connection is not particularly strong and stable.
Here’s how to adjust your TV’s resolution:
- Use your remote to navigate to Settings.
- Select Audio and Video settings, and then Format.
- Choose Other Formats, and adjust your resolution.
Your App Caches Are Too Full
If you have had your Apple TV for a while, there’s a good chance that your app caches will be full. Each time you stream content from an app, it saves information so that it can perform faster the next time you use it.
Full app caches can make your TV laggy but thankfully this issue is easy to remedy. By deleting the app, downloading it, and signing in again, the app will work like new, and your TV may well operate faster.
You Have Too Many Apps Downloaded
Depending on your Apple TV model, it has either a 32GB or 64GB storage capacity. Each app on your TV takes up storage space and, if you have too many, the TV may start lagging.
This situation is easy to fix if you are willing to delete the apps you don’t need. Here’s how to delete apps on an Apple TV:
- Navigate to the Settings section on your TV.
- Select the General option, and then choose Manage Storage.
- You will now see how much free storage space you have, and a list of your downloaded apps.
- Delete any apps you don’t need, and check if your TV is still lagging. If so, move on to the solution listed below.
Your Apple TV Needs a Reset
If your Apple TV is overdue for a soft or hard reset, it can play laggy content. A soft reset (or power cycling) is essentially turning your TV off, unplugging it from the wall, and then switching it on again. This often fixes minor glitches and bugs, such as lagging.
However, if a soft reset doesn’t work, you may need a hard (or factory) reset. Remember that a hard reset will restore your Apple TV to its original settings, and you will lose anything you’ve downloaded or saved.
Here is how to hard reset an Apple TV:
- With your remote control, navigate to the Settings block on the main screen.
- Select the System and then the Reset option.
- The TV will double-check that you want to reset it, and once done, it will take a few minutes for the hard reset.
- After this, the lagging issue will likely be resolved.
Why Apple TV Is Lagging? Final Thoughts
Apple TVs don’t typically give problems, but they can occasionally play lagging content. Common reasons include the following:
- A weak internet connection
- Outdated TV software
- Playing content at too high of a resolution
- Your Apple TV has too many apps downloaded and their caches are full
- Your Apple TV needs a reset
When this happens, it can be annoying, but by following the guide above, your TV should be up and running in no time.