How-To

Apple TV No Sound (EASY FIX – Audio Format Change!)

If you’re unable to hear sound from your Apple TV, you’re not alone – Apple TV has been known to have a few audio issues from time to time. Luckily there is an easy fix.

Apple TV no sound – how to fix

If your Apple TV has no sound it’s because your audio is set to Dolby Digital 5.1 and your older TV can’t process it. To fix this, click Menu on your remote > Settings > Video & Audio > Audio Format > Change Format (x2) > New Format > and change it from Dolby Digital 5.1 to STEREO.

Change Apple TV audio format to Stereo

Apple TVs attempt to automatically play sound in the highest quality that’s supported by your TV, or home entertainment setup.

Right now, the highest quality audio format is called Dolby Digital 5.1. Unfortunately, in some cases older TVs / home entertainment systems don’t support the Dolby audio format.

If your Apple TV has no sound, it’s most likely because of this. You’ll need to manually change your audio format from “Dolby Digital 5.1” to “Stereo” in order to fix it.

  1. Start by selecting MENU on your Apple TV remote
  2. Then navigate to SETTINGS
  3. Select VIDEO & AUDIO and then AUDIO FORMAT
  4. You’ll then want to select CHANGE FORMAT twice and then NEW FORMAT
  5. Finally you should select STEREO as your preferred audio format
Apple TV audio format Stereo

“Stereo” is an audio format supported by all televisions, movies, TV shows, etc. It is a universal standard, so by implementing it your Apple TV sound should come back.

But just incase it doesn’t, here are a few more troubleshooting steps you can take if your Apple TV has no sound.

Change your TV audio output to PCM

Sometimes changing your audio format within your Apple TV settings just isn’t enough, and you have to change your TV’s audio settings too.

You’ll need your original TV remote for these next steps.

Keep in mind that every TV is slightly different, but ultimately the goal here is to change your TV audio to PCM.

PCM stands for Pulse-Code Modulation and is just the technical term for “Stereo” audio.

  1. Start by selecting Settings on your original TV remote
  2. Then find Sound Settings and select Audio Out
  3. From here we are looking for Optical and finally Digital Sound Out (PCM)

It’s very likely that the steps for your exact TV will be slightly different, so don’t be afraid to poke around a bit within your TV’s settings.

You’re looking for a way to set the audio to PCM (Stereo). Open things up until you find it and then go ahead and make the change.

Soft reset your Apple TV device

If you’re still having trouble with your Apple TV sound then you should start soft resetting / power-cycling all of your devices.

A soft reset just means that none of your saved settings will be wiped out during the process.

To soft reset your Apple TV, simply turn everything off and then unplug the power supply from the back of your Apple TV device.

Wait at least a full 60 seconds before plugging it back in then move on to the next step.

Soft reset your actual TV

To soft reset (also called a power-cycle) your TV start by unplugging it and waiting a full 60 seconds.

After the 60 seconds are up go ahead and press and hold the power button on the TV itself for 10 seconds. Make sure you are pressing the power button on the actual TV and not the remote!

This step will help to drain any residual power stored in your TV’s capacitors, fully resetting it.

Once you’ve finished this step, move on to any other devices connected to your TV.

Soft reset any hardware connected to your TV

In most cases I’m referring to a sound-bar, or some type of stereo/speaker system here.

It’s important that you unplug these devices as well and give them a full 60 seconds before plugging them back in.

Your sound issue could be tied in some way to one of these devices, and not your Apple TV. So it’s good to give these a soft reset as well.

After you’re done will soft resetting your Apple TV, your actual TV and any connected hardware, go ahead and power everything back on.

Wait a bit for everything to reestablish connections and then see if your sound issue is fixed.

Hard reset your Apple TV device

Sometimes a soft reset just won’t cut it and a factory reset is needed.

A reminder that a hard reset (factory reset) will reset your Apple TV back to its original settings.

Make sure that you keep your Apple TV plugged in and that you maintain an internet connection until the factory reset process is complete!

  1. Click MENU on your Apple TV remote
  2. Select SETTINGS
  3. Scroll down to SYSTEM and then RESET
  4. Finally, select RESET AND UPDATE

This will return your Apple TV to its factory settings and also install any available software updates.

Once the reset process is done, check to see if your sound is working again. If it isn’t double check that the AUDIO FORMAT is set to STEREO.

Check your sound system connections

For those of you who are having this issue and are using a sound system, make sure that you double check all of your sound system connections.

Incorrectly mapping the input port on your sound system to the output will most definitely cause sound problems.

If you’re not positive how to do this, I would refer directly to the manual that came with your sound system. If you no longer have the physical manual, search for it on Google and download a digital copy.

Try playing different types of content

If you haven’t tried already, go ahead and try playing content from a variety of different sources.

For instance try music, podcasts, iTunes Store movies, other videos and shows etc.

The goal here is to see if your no sound issue is specific to one type of content, or if you have no sound for your entire Apple TV.

If you find that you’re able to narrow it down to a specific content source, then the issue likely lies with that source of content and not the Apple TV itself.

Contact Apple TV support

If none of the above troubleshooting tips help, reach out to Apple TV support directly and speak with one of their experts.

You can call Apple Support at 1-800-APLCARE.

Keep in mind that most Apple software and hardware products include unlimited complimentary support incidents within the first 90 days of product ownership.

If you’ve owned your Apple TV for longer than that you might need to purchase Apple Care before you can get the help you need.

Conclusion

It is not uncommon for Apple TV owners to eventually run into sound issues with their device.

If your Apple TV has no sound, it’s most likely because the audio format is set to Dolby Digital 5.1 and your older TV is not capable of processing it.

To fix this you’ll need to manually change your audio format from “Dolby Digital 5.1” to “Stereo”. You can do this within the Audio Format settings of your Apple TV.

If that doesn’t work you should also try the following:

  • Change your TV audio output to PCM (Stereo)
  • Soft reset your Apple TV device
  • Perform a soft reset your actual TV
  • Soft reset any connected devices (like sound-bars and sound systems)
  • Hard reset your Apple TV device
  • Check your sound system connections
  • Try playing different types of content.

If none of that helps, you should reach out to Apple TV support and see if one of their experts can help you troubleshoot further.

Did any of these Apple TV no sound troubleshooting tips help? Let me know how you fixed the problem in the comments below!