As with all Apple products, in theory “they just work!” Except when they don’t. And the Apple TV is prone to quite a few audio quirks and failures that are, fortunately, usually pretty easy to solve. Follow this guide to sort out your Apple TV acoustic woes and get back to high-fidelity surround sound.
- Fixes to No Sound on Apple TV
- 1. Check the Cables Are Still Connected and Reset the HDMI Connection
- 2. Try Restarting Your Apple TV and Check Your Have the Latest Firmware
- 3. Check Your Audio Settings
- 4. Ensure the 'Reduce Loud Sounds' Setting Hasn't Been Activated
- 5. Try Changing the Settings for Individual Apps
- 6. Fix Clipping After Playing Dolby Atmos Audio Shows
- 7. Restart All of Your Home Entertainment Equipment
- Related Questions
Fixes to No Sound on Apple TV
1. Check the Cables Are Still Connected and Reset the HDMI Connection
The most common reason for not getting sound on your Apple TV will be that the cables are worn or have come out of place, check the connections to ensure everything is secure.
This includes network cables and HDMI, as well as SPDIF digital optical if you have an older Apple TV model. If you experience this problem regularly, swap the cables out with replacements one by one to see if there is a weak joint or frayed connection somewhere.
Hint: You can check the HDMI connection in the Apple TV ‘Settings‘ menu. You can also unplug the HDMI lead and reconnect it to reset the digital connection.
2. Try Restarting Your Apple TV and Check Your Have the Latest Firmware
If you can’t see a likely culprit, then the next step is to restart your Apple TV.
To do this:
- From the home screen select ‘Settings‘
- Choose ‘System‘
- Select ‘Restart‘
At this point, you should also check to see if you have updated to the latest tvOS firmware, as Apple’s updates often include audio performance and stability fixes.
It usually updates automatically, but if the box has been off for a while there may be an update waiting.
3. Check Your Audio Settings
Assuming the cabling looks strong, check the audio settings on both the Apple TV and the audio output device. On the TV, navigate to Settings, Video and Audio and ensure the Audio Output option matches your current playback, usually TV Speakers, but it can vary depending on your setup.
The Audio Format setting, again – depends on your setup, with Stereo and Dolby Atmos the usual options. Only change these settings if you think the audio coding on a movie or game is causing the problem.
Another option is the Audio Mode. This is usually in Auto to change to the appropriate mode, but if your sound is glitching try a lower 16-bit mode to see if that can fix the problem.
4. Ensure the ‘Reduce Loud Sounds’ Setting Hasn’t Been Activated
If you notice the audio playing differently compared to what you might expect, you could have tweaked a setting previously such as the Reduce Loud Sounds option in the Video and Audio menu. This is useful if using the Apple TV late at night or with audio-sensitive friends or family, but it can have an impact when you want the full audio experience. Make sure you turn it off when not needed.
While not specifically an Apple TV issue, you might also want to check your TV or audio device’s settings as these can have their own audio profiles that might change the sound balance, levels or other settings.
5. Try Changing the Settings for Individual Apps
A recent issue with Apple TV saw some content not playing for various apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The problem could be with how those apps use Apple’s audio hooks for the hardware or the many different audio encoding systems like Dolby and DTS in use that may confuse the apps.
One workaround that solved the problem for some people was going to the Audio Format menu and using the Change Format option to see if any other setting helps restore the audio.
Other people also found the audio was going to their wireless headsets or earbuds, so check those aren’t getting the sounds that should be coming from your main speakers (and check the settings in each app to make sure).
6. Fix Clipping After Playing Dolby Atmos Audio Shows
Some Apple TV users find that after they have played a show featuring Dolby Atmos audio, then the next thing they watch in stereo may experience audio cutouts or clipping.
One fix for this is to change the Apple TV sound option to Dolby 5.1 only removing the option for Atmos playback.
This should solve that particular issue, until you want to watch more Atmos content. Or you can restart the Apple TV and it should work as normal until you enter the same Atmos-other-audio scenario.
Note: A 2021 firmware update fixed this issue permanently, check your Apple TV is running the latest firmware.
7. Restart All of Your Home Entertainment Equipment
Another common issue with Apple TV is the audio track falling out of sync with whatever you are watching. In most cases, pausing the current show, rebooting your wireless gear (be it HomePods or wireless earbuds) can resolve the issue.
Older Apple TVs with SPDIF optical out can also have sync problems with soundbars or home cinema audio equipment. Reset the equipment or soundbar first to see if it catches up, if not exit the app and restart from where you left off to resync the audio.
Why is Apple TV Not Playing Sound on Netflix?
Netflix uses its own audio features which may compete with Apple’s settings. One way to fix this issue is to change the audio output mode setting for the Apple TV by switching the Audio Output setting from Auto to 16 bit.
Why is Apple TV Not Playing Sound on Movies?
This may depend on the current settings within the Apple TV’s audio menus. One common fix for this problem is to change the Audio Format option to On and pick one of the new format options that appear, such as Stereo which can solve issues with more complex audio schemes.