Apple TV 3 owners plagued by YouTube errors

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Apple TV
There is a workaround.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A growing number of third-generation Apple TV owners are experiencing errors when attempting to watch YouTube content.

It seems the problems occur when watching certain videos, while others play just fine. One user who contacted Apple was told that the problem is on Google’s end — not with Apple TV.

The third-generation Apple TV is over seven years old at this point, and not compatible with the latest tvOS software, so it is perhaps not too surprising that it’s not as capable as its more recent siblings.

Although the 2013 set-top box does have an official YouTube app, a large number of users report that it no longer works as it should. There may be a workaround for YouTube addicts, however.

YouTube broken on Apple TV 3

“An error occurred loading this content,” reads the message hundreds of users are seeing when using YouTube on their Apple TV 3. “Try again later.” But trying again later doesn’t make a difference.

It seems certain types of content, including music videos and those from specific channels, are most problematic — suggesting to some that the issue could be related to DRM protections.

Users report that reinstalling the YouTube app, clearing its cache, restarting Apple TV, and even performing a factory reset do not fix the problem. Apple has told some users it is Google’s problem.

Apple “said that the problem is with YouTube,” writes one user in a thread on the YouTube Help forum, spotted by MacRumors.

“I talked to an Apple technician today,” explained another. “It’s definitely a YouTube problem. I’ve tried everything … I hope they fix this issue soon as I use the YouTube app all the time.”

Try this workaround

YouTube is yet to respond to the complaints, but it’s entirely possible that Apple TV 3 is just no longer supported given its age. If that’s the case, it is not going to get a fix for this issue.

Hope is not lost, however. Users report that can enjoy any YouTube video on a third-generation Apple TV by streaming it from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac instead.