This account cannot be used on AppleTV
Update November 2015 – Apple TV 4 is out now YouTube gone forever from ATV2
Apple were early to market with the 1st gen Apple TV. The 2nd and 3rd gen versions came along but then seemed to leave their ‘project’ out in the wilderness whilst Google launched the Chromecast and Amazon their Fire TV units.
This month the 4th generation Apple TV goes on sale and it’s a major upgrade from previous versions. It now has more memory and a fast, modern processor so it can do more than just play media. It will be interesting to see what developers can do with the new device over the coming months.
In Apple TV Software version 6.2.1 on the Apple TV 2 MC572B/A there is no longer a YouTube app. Vimeo is still there and it works great along with Daily Motion and Vevo but there’s no sign of YouTube.
Airplay still works with iOS devices so you can send YouTube clips to the Apple TV but there’s no app on the ATV 2 itself. Our Macbook Pro couldn’t send YouTube clips via Airplay when tested (from Safari). We suspected that this could be a BT HomeHub router issue. There’s always been a bit of tinkering required to get Airplay up and running smoothly – rebooting the ATV or the Mac is quick and might fix it but more often than not the router needed a reboot (not quick) to restore normal service. On this occasion restarting the router did not fix the AirPlay problems. It seems to us that OS.X El Capitan and AirPlay aren’t working too well – certainly on some Apple TV models. In Chrome on a Macbook there’s no Airplay button on YouTube videos. The button is there in Safari but it didn’t work in our tests.
Update December 9th 2014 – New YouTube app for Apple TV
Google have released an updated YouTube app for some versions of the Apple TV. We haven’t seen it on our Apple TV 2 in the UK yet. It may only be available for the Apple TV 3.
If you’ve just bought an Apple TV 3 then it may need to be updated to get the new version of the YouTube app. The first thing to do is go to Settings/General/Update Software and follow the on screen instructions. The current version (as of 25 December 2014) is 7.02. This installs the latest operating system onto the device. It can take a while but once completed you should find some new and updated apps in the main menu.
If the new app works in a similar way to other (modern) Smart TV devices then it should be possible to verify your account using a simple onscreen code. We’ll update this post when we have more information.
Updated Autumn 2014
If you have an existing YouTube (or Gmail) account but don’t have a channel set-up then you may not be able to login to the YouTube application on your Apple TV.
You can also run into this problem if you have more than one Google user profile enabled on the same account where one of the profiles does not have a channel enabled.
The fix is really easy. Sign in to YouTube on a desktop computer and click your user logo and then the gear icon. It’s at the top right hand side of the page below your username/photo. This will take you through a simple set-up process for your own channel (you don’t need to upload anything).
Note: If you have more than one YouTube account linked to the same Google login/user profile then you will need activate “My Channel” for all linked accounts. Once completed you should be able to log into YouTube on your Apple TV unless you have 2-step verification set up on your account.
Older Apple TV devices do not support Google’s 2-step verification system so Google provides a special type of password. Application-specific passwords (ASPs) are a single use 16 character password. To get an ASP for your Apple TV please click Application-specific passwords.
It worked fine so why did this suddenly happen?
Existing users like us found that the YouTube app stopped working when Google introduced tighter integration between Google+ and YouTube. To have a business Page on Google+ we needed two user profiles – one for the main account and a second one to manage the G+ Page.
The same option to switch profiles/accounts has recently become available from within YouTube. Once we enabled “My Channel” on our second profile we could sign in to YouTube properly on the Apple TV.
Other devices that are affected
We have a first generation Panasonic Blu-ray recorder running the older VieraCast YouTube app. It would let us sign in to YouTube but showed “error code -5” when we tried to access Subscriptions or Favourites etc. This was also fixed by setting up the “My Channel” process described above.
Update: Dec 2013 – New blog post – fix for Vimeo not working on Apple TV
Feedback welcome – Apple TV & YouTube
We hope that you found this post helpful. Please let us know what you think in the comments below.
January 2014 Autumn 2014
We’ve had some great feedback on this article in the comments below. The additional information has been really helpful and has allowed us to add and clarify various points. One particular annoyance for some users has been that if they have two channels their Apple TV doesn’t give them the option to select the one they want to see. The good news is that YouTube provide an option to select which channel is accessible to older devices including Apple TV.
To select which channel your Apple TV can see you need to go to YouTube on a computer, make sure the main user channel that you want is selected and choose advanced.
You should see an option to make default channel.
On the next screen under your username will be an “Advanced” option. When you click that it will take you this screen where you can decide which account is shown when logged in with older devices (even though the ATV is a current device).
This blog post is updated on a regular basis. We do try to keep up with changes to the YouTube user account interface whenever possible. If you have a question, spot something here is out of date or have suggestions to help other users then please let us know in the comments below.
Thank you again for the feedback on this. We’ve shared what we’ve learned and hope that it’s been helpful.