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Does Apple TV Work without Internet?

Apple TV is part of the smart electronics category. That might leave you wondering if you can use your Apple TV without an internet connection. Don’t smart electronics need the internet to function? 

An Apple TV does work without the internet . You’ll have limited functionality. You’ll likely have some error messages pop up when the TV tries to connect to the internet. You can’t live-stream content but you can view previously downloaded shows and movies. 

Your Apple TV isn’t useless just because you don’t have an internet connection. There are a few ways to use an Apple TV without connecting it to the internet. Read on to find out what they are. 

How to Use Apple TV without Internet:

Apple TV is convenient for streaming your favorite shows and movies right through the apps on the screen. You can browse the internet, play online games, shop, and more with your Apple TV when it’s connected to Wi-Fi. But what about when it’s not? 

You can use your Apple TV without the internet in the following ways. 

Downloaded Movies and Shows 

When you are connected to the internet, take the opportunity to download shows and movies you want to watch. Once they’re stored on Apple TV, they will stay there. You can view them whenever you want without having to connect to the internet.  

Downloaded Games 

Download games to your Apple TV, as well. Once you add games to your gaming library, you can access them whenever and wherever you want. Again, you’ll have to connect to the internet to do the downloading, but after that, the internet is no longer needed.   


AirPlay is a casting function meant for Apple device users to cast videos from their phones and tablets to their TVs. Generally, you will do that through an internet connection. 

You don’t have to have the internet to use the AirPlay function , though. You can do a peer-to-peer cast over Bluetooth. In fact, the Bluetooth option has been known for being a stronger and more reliable connection. 

How Do I Use AirPlay on My iPhone? 

Some apps make it very easy for you to use the AirPlay function to cast videos on your Apple TV. You’ll open the app or video and look for the AirPlay button. It has a rectangle with a small up arrow in the bottom center. You’ll tap that. Your video should show up on the TV once you choose which device you want it cast on. 

Apps that don’t include the AirPlay button can still be used. You’ll have to choose whatever there is in place of AirPlay. There’s usually an alternative casting option for these.  

Your Apple TV might ask you to enter the code needed to proceed with the casting. If prompted, get the code off the TV screen and put it into your phone. Hit OK and you’ll be watching your video on TV.  

The same steps work for most iPads, as well as for iPod Touches. 

How Do I Use AirPlay on My MAC? 

AirPlay on your MAC is easy to use, too. While the video is open, click the AirPlay button. It’s usually in the bottom right corner. There will be a drop-down list of options for available devices. Choose the one you want.  

You’ll be prompted for the code from the TV. When you’re done casting your video, click the AirPlay button again to turn it off.  

Can I Use AirPlay from Windows? 

You can use a Windows PC with AirPlay. However, you’re limited to iTunes content only. Here’s how: 

  • Open iTunes. 
  • Select a video and push play. 
  • Choose the device you want to cast the video on. 
  • If prompted, enter the code from the TV. 
  • Your video should be playing on the selected device. 
  • Click the AirPlay button again to stop the video casting. 

What If AirPlay Doesn’t Work? 

Sometimes it’s tough to get your device to cast its video to your TV. If that happens, there are some steps you can take to try and fix the issue. 

1. Update device and TV to latest iOS version. 

2. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, restart both devices. 

3. Select AirPlay on Apple TV. Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on iOS device. 

4. “Forget” Wi-Fi network in device. 

5. Try to cast video through AirPlay again. 

What Do I Get When Apple TV Is Connected to Internet? 

Apple TV is meant to be connected to the internet. That’s when you’ll get the full extent of what it has to offer. It’s the only device that uses iTunes and has its own app store.  

You can use the app store to find downloadable apps for all the major cable networks. Those who pay for cable service will have access to on-demand content that’s included with their package. All the cable apps also include free content. 

You’ll get easy access to all of your streaming services through available apps. Your iCloud Keychain transfers over to your Apple TV, too, so you can use it for any of the passwords you’ve stored for streaming services. 

Your Apple TV becomes a control center for your HomeKit when you connect it to Wi-Fi. Control your lights, the music you like, and view your cameras right from your Apple TV.  

Apple TV Must Connect to Update 

As with all of Apple’s other devices, you have to connect your Apple TV to the internet for it to receive any updates. If you notice any issues while not connected to Wi-Fi, try connecting and see if an update is available. 

You won’t get the full Apple TV experience without connecting it to the internet. Your TV should be updated as often as possible, so you get the most out of it. 

Final Thoughts 

Apple TV works without the internet but not to its full potential. You can use it to watch downloaded content or play downloaded games. You can also use your other devices to cast videos onto your Apple TV. Don’t forget to connect to the internet enough to get your updates. Apple TV is at its best when connected to the internet, so get connected if you can. 

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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