In the eternal battle to find the right streaming box for your home, you chose Apple TV. This is understandable, as you may have already bought into Apple’s ecosystem with an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. However, one daunting task remains: figuring out which apps to install on Apple TV to get the most out of it.
The good news is that an Apple TV supports many of the same apps as your other Apple devices. If you love something on your iPhone or iPad, especially something related to watching movies or TV, chances are it’s also available on Apple TV. The same goes for apps you might have loved in a previous, non-Apple streaming box.
Whether they are new or old to you, these important Apple TV apps are guaranteed to give you something to do on the lonely nights inside.
. Apple Arcade
You probably bought an Apple TV for the “TV” part. This is a device that exists mainly for streaming content. We understand that. That said, what you may or may not know about Apple TV is that it is kind of also a video game console.
No, this is not going to do anything close to what the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X can do. But Apple TV does not support the Apple Arcade app and subscription service that Apple launched late last year. For $ 4.99 per month alone, you get access to a library of downloadable games that grow and change over time. You may not be very interested in Apple Arcade right now, but if you end up subscribing to the new all-inclusive Apple One service, you have access to it whether you care or not.
Those who take the plunge should do two things: Connect a controller and explore. PS4 and Xbox controllers work with Apple TV if you have one, so take a few minutes to set it up. When done, do what you would on Netflix and browse the Arcade Market until you find something cool. Sayonara Wild Hearts is a good starting point. It’s a sick rhythm game about riding down neon roads on motorcycles told by Queen Latifah.
By the way, if you’re already using Apple Arcade on another device, your storage files will be transferred to Apple TV.
2. YouTube TV (or equivalent you want)
We are sure that many people out there still subscribe to cable, and we respect that. Sure, it’s expensive, but it does deliver the goods. For the rest of us, there are a bunch of (marginally) cheaper options like YouTube TV, Sling and Hulu with Live TV. If you subscribe to one of these, you will need to install it on your Apple TV immediately. If you do not, most of them offer at least free trial periods, so you can have a week-long stream of fun before uninstalling the app.
This is important because these apps can change Apple TV from an “sometimes” device to an “always” device. People who cut the cord can find solace here, as services like YouTube TV provide a similar amount of content without hidden installation fees and annual contracts. If you use one of these streaming services, Apple TV will basically become a more spiffy and useful cable box.
3. Netflix, Hulu, Disney + etc.
We probably do not even need to tell you to do this, but on your first visit to the Apple TV App Store, make a line for all the typical streaming services you can use. These may include:
And that’s just to name a few. But seriously, your brand new Apple TV probably does not have any of the essential streaming services pre-installed. Considering that you have more than likely bought Apple TV to watch these services, you can arrange it yourself.
(And if you need recommendations on what to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or other streaming services, you can let our streaming guides help.)
Set-top boxes are for watching movies and TV shows, right? Yes absolutely. But Apple Arcade shows that we can sometimes do other fun things with them as well. Our next app on the list of Apple TV essentials can literally give you dinner.
Yes, Grubhub is available on Apple TV. You might think it’s more convenient to just use a phone, tablet or laptop to order delivery via Grubhub’s app. We can not exactly say that you are error, but consider a scenario where several people order meals at once. Normally you have to ask someone to dictate exactly what they want so that you can order for them. Alternatively, you just want to give them your phone and get them to do it yourself.
None of these solutions are ideal. Who knows what kind of push notifications you can get while someone else is carefully ordering sushi from your phone? With Grubhub on Apple TV, you can transfer this process from your private device to a large screen in the living room. You may feel decadent about ordering food from your TV, but … yes, you’re right. Still, give it a shot.
5. Apple TV with Apple TV +
All right, all right, you have us: We can not tell you to install an app pre-installed on all Apple TVs. But you should still take a few minutes to browse the Apple TV app, because it does a little more than you might think. This may seem obvious since the app literally has the same name as the device we are talking about today, but the Apple TV app with an Apple TV + subscription is very convenient to have around.
First, we want to mention that this app is not just a home for original Apple content. It is a completely built-in “Channels” system that allows you to access content from a variety of different services, such as Showtime and CBS All Access, without installing separate apps for it. It is a convenient home for a variety of things you can subscribe to, or which are inclined to try out in the free trial.
But if you pay $ 4.99 per month (or $ 14.95 per month for Apple One), you get access to Apple TV +. This is Apple’s streaming service with a number of original shows and movies that may appeal to you. Throw in Tom Hanks World War II vehicles Greyhound for example, if you are a dad – or want to entertain a dad. The world is your oyster.
An Apple TV is a versatile device, between game options, streaming options and even help services such as ordering food. To get the most out of your new Apple TV, you really can not go wrong with any of the apps listed above. Order a burrito bowl through Grubhub, cast on Apple TV + Beastie Boys Story documentary, and just get wild.