Apple TV 3 loses YouTube support, but there is a workaround

Apple TV 3 loses YouTube support, but there is a workaround


Apple TV Siri Remote
Sad times for third-gen. Apple TV owners.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

YouTube is now officially dead on the third-generation Apple TV. Users who attempt to watch the app will be greeted by an error message that confirms Apple’s aging hardware is no longer supported.

That’s hardly surprising given that the third-generation Apple TV is close to a decade old now. But there is a workaround (sort of) for those who still want to watch their favorite YouTube channels on the big screen.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

The deprecation of this particular Apple TV model is disappointing for those who still use one. But the device, released in 2012, has well and truly outlasted other video streaming boxes from the same era.

Even late adopters will have gotten plenty out of their investment, then. And although YouTube might be the latest in a growing list of services to drop support for older Apple TVs, there are options for those who aren’t ready to upgrade.

YouTube dead on third-gen Apple TV

Unlike the latest Apple TV models, the third-generation device is not powered by tvOS, which means there is no App Store. You cannot access third-party YouTube clients, or even recently updated web browsers.

The only way to continue enjoying YouTube on this device, then, is to stream videos to it from another Apple device using AirPlay. iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or a Mac will all work just fine.

Other options

The other alternative is to simply upgrade. And now that the Apple TV app is available on third-party streaming devices, you don’t have to splash out on official Apple hardware if you don’t want to.

More affordable options, like the Amazon Fire TV devices (which start at just $24.99), provide access to YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and more. Others, like the Roku Ultra at $93, also support AirPlay 2.

Want to stick with Apple TV? The latest model starts at $149 with support for HD video, but upgrading to 4K will cost you $179. We would suggest avoiding these right now, however. Rumor has it a big Apple TV refresh is coming this year.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.