Recovering content from Apple TV
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: Hi, I had my home computer synched with Apple TV. All of my videos, music, and pictures are on the Apple TV. My home computer crashed and I had to buy a new one. I would like take the Apple TV data and restore it on my new computer. Thank you in advance!
A: Unfortunately, there is no easy way to accomplish this task. The Apple TV is a networked device and does not offer any of the “disk mode” or other capabilities that could be used to recover content from it like you would for a traditional iPod.
However, while not simple, with a little bit of effort it is certainly possible to get your content back off of your Apple TV. The most straightforward way to do this would be to crack open the Apple TV, remove the hard drive, and then connect it directly to your computer. The best way to do this is to simply place the drive into an external USB drive enclosure and then connect it via USB.
Note that the Apple TV hard drive is formatted for HFS+, since the Apple TV runs a variant on Mac OS X. If you are using a Mac, you can read this directly, but if you are trying to recover data onto a PC, you will need to use a tool such as MediaFour’s MacDrive in order to read the attached hard drive.
Once your drive is connected, you should be able to browse into the folders which contain your media content and copy it back in a manner similar to using the “Brute-Force Approach” described in our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer. You will not be able to recover information such as play counts or playlists using this method, but you should be able to recover the content itself. As an added bonus photos are copied to the Apple TV in their original full resolution, so you will be able to recover these in their original quality, unlike recovering them from an iPod or iPhone where only a lower-resolution version is normally available.
Note of course that opening up your Apple TV will void your warranty, and it is very difficult to disassemble and Apple TV without making it obvious that you have done so. However, that may be a small price to pay for getting back your media content.
There are also software options available that will allow you to access to your Apple TV without opening it up by applying a USB “patchstick” that will install additional applications on your Apple TV such as SSH and SFTP that would allow you to access the content over the network and copy it back to your computer. However, it is best to avoid these if you are concerned about recovering your content since there is a risk of erasing any existing content on the Apple TV in the process of “patching” it.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple releases iOS 10.0.2 to fix headphone controls, iCloud Photo Library
- Report: Apple’s Siri home hub has reached the prototype stage
- Apple acquires machine learning company Tuplejump
- Apple releases iOS 10.1 public beta
- iOS 10.1 beta adds ‘Portrait’ Depth of Field effect
- Apple releases first iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, tvOS 10.0.1 developer betas
- Report: Apple considering acquisition of high-performance car maker McLaren (Update: and Lit Motors)
- Google brings Allo messaging app to iOS
- Apple working on fix for Lightning EarPods glitch
- DisplayMate says iPhone 7 has the ‘best performing mobile LCD display’
- Thought Out Simplex Tablet iPad Stand
- SmartX Galaxy ZEGA Starter Kit
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case
- Apple Watch Series 2
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- Twelve South HiRise 2 for iPhone + iPad
- Nomad Pod Pro for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Sevenhugs hugOne Sleep Monitoring System
- Kanex GoPower Watch Portable Battery for Apple Watch
- Nuvyyo Tablo Over-the-Air Television DVR
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps