Solving Activation Failed On Apple TV: 4 Steps To Follow

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Couple stuck with Apple TV+ issue on TV

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to solve the “Activation Failed” error on your Apple TV?

You’ve come to the right place for answers. Not being able to enjoy all of your Apple TV’s features, such as your AirPlay, can be really annoying.

This is a known issue, but the good news is there’s some quick fixes we can try. 

The 4 simple fixes to solve the “Activation Failed” error on your Apple TV are: Restart your device, change your payment method, or install a third-party app. You can also try factory resetting your Apple TV.

Keep reading to solve the issue!

#1 Restart Your Device

As you may already know, your Apple TV is constantly executing multiple background processes at the same time.

However, if these crash due to a bug or corrupted file, your device won’t be able to work at its best.

But, what if I told you that you might solve these by simply restarting it?

Yes, that’s all it might take.

You see, by doing this, you’ll be able to speed up your device’s performance, and clear memory and corrupted data that may be preventing your Apple TV from activating.

Follow these simple steps to restart your Apple TV:

Method 1:

  1. Press and hold the Menu (1st generation remote) or back (2nd generation remote) and the Control Center (TV icon) buttons on your remote. If you have an aluminum or white remote, press the Menu and Down buttons.
Restart your Apple TV

Method 2:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select “System”.
  3. Click on “Restart”.

Method 3:

  1. Unplug your Apple TV box and TV from the power source.
  2. Wait at least 10 seconds.
  3. Plug them back in.

Once you’ve restarted your Apple TV, please make sure that the issue was solved. If you’re still unable to use your AirPlay and solve the “Activation Failed” error, don’t worry.

Keep reading to learn more about other troubleshooting techniques.

#2 Change Your Payment Method

Believe it or not, your Apple ID might be to blame.

Through our research, we’ve found that in order to activate an Apple TV, it will need to be able to connect to your Apple ID. But, this process can be quickly interrupted if there’s a problem with your payment method.

To check if that’s the case, try changing it. Follow these quick steps to do it:

iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings and tap on your name.
  2. Tap on “Payment & Shipping”.
  3. Sign in to your Apple ID.
  4. Select your current payment method.
  5. Tap on “Remove Payment Method”.
  6. Add your new payment method.

Windows PC:

  1. Go to iTunes.
  2. Click on “Account” at the top of your screen and sign in to your account.
  3. Go to “Account” again and select “View My Account”.
  4. Click on “Manage Payments”.
  5. Click on “Edit” or “Delete” next to your payment method.
  6. Add a new payment method.


  1. Go to the App Store.
  2. Click on your name or the sign-in button at the bottom of the sidebar.
  3. Select “View Information”.
  4. Click on “Manage Payments”.
  5. Sign in to your Apple ID.
  6. Click on “Edit” next to your current payment method.
  7. Select “Remove” and add your new payment method.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, please turn on your Apple TV and sign in to your Apple ID again.

#3 Install a Third-Party App

If the fixes above didn’t do the trick, this just might.

Many people who were in the same situation as you found that installing a third-party app solved the issue. This might sound challenging, but don’t worry. I’ll be more than happy to guide you through every step.

Follow these simple instructions to install a third-party app that will help us solve the “Activation Failed” error on your Apple TV:


  1. Go to the App Store and search for “Apple Configurator 2”. Then, click on “Install”.
  2. Plug your Apple TV into the power source and into your Mac using a micro USB cable.
  3.  Launch Apple Configurator 2 and click on “Prepare” at the top of your screen.
  4. A message will pop up, please click on the “Restore” option.
  5. Once the process is completed, follow the instructions displayed on your screen. You’ll be asked to unplug your USB cable and power.
  6. Turn on your Apple TV and wait until the status lights stop flashing.
  7. Plug in the USB connection to your Mac again.
  8. Click on the Apple TV icon displayed on your screen.
  9. Select “Apps” from the menu and wait for the “Apple TV not activated” message to appear.
  10. Click on the “Activate” button.
  11. Unplug your Apple TV box from your Mac and plug it into your TV.
  12. Set up your Apple TV again.

Windows PC:

  1. Install 3uTools on your computer.
  2. Plug your Apple TV into the power source and into your laptop using a micro USB cable.
  3. Launch 3uTools to find your Apple TV.
  4. Click on “More”.
  5. Select “Batch Activation”.
  6. Click on “All” and select “Start”.
  7. Wait until the process is completed.

#4 Factory Reset Your Apple TV

If the issue persists, or you were unable to install a third-party app on your computer, try factory resetting your device.

You see, sometimes bugs and glitches can be stubborn and won’t go away easily. If that’s your case, performing a factory reset to your Apple TV can get things back to normal.

Please note that by doing this, you’ll lose your personal information. But, you can write this data down before resetting your device. This way, you’ll be able to remember this information without further trouble.

Follow this quick guide to factory reset your Apple TV:

  1. Turn on your Apple TV and go to Settings.
  2. Select “System” and click on “Reset”.
  3. Select “Reset” again to confirm the process.

Or, you can also use your computer to reset your Apple TV:

  1. Turn on your PC or Mac.
  2. Connect your Apple TV to your computer with the original USB cable.
  3. Open iTunes and click on your Apple TV icon.
  4. Go to “Summary” and select “Apple TV”.
  5. Click on “Restore Apple TV”.


Now that we’ve covered everything, hopefully, you’ve got a bit more confidence in solving the “Activation Failed” error on your Apple TV.

Remember that changing your Apple ID payment method, installing a third-party app, and restarting or resetting your Apple TV should do the trick.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. If you found it helpful, please make sure to check out our other related content.

Here at Tech Detective, we’re passionate about solving all sorts of technological issues.

Have a great day!