Installing tvOS 11 beta on an Apple TV 4 without a USB-C cable

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Update (26 Jul 2017):

This how-to article should also work with the latest tvOS 11 beta versions.

I recently installed the public iOS 10 beta to try all of these fancy new features. Unfortunately I had to find out that remote controlling my homekit devices stopped working. Normally Apple TV acts like a hub for it when I’m on the way. After googling I found out that iOS 10 homekit handling was overhauled and requires an iPad or Apple TV with the latest beta installed to get it working again. Poison for the impatient … so I had to install the latest beta of tvOS 10 on my Apple TV 4.

Unfortunately with the revamped port configuration of the forth generation, Apple introduced a USB-C port. That’s really unusual because the only other Apple device that also uses this port is the 12 inch MacBook. The USB-C port isn’t even used for power-supply on the Apple TV.

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Luckily there is a nifty solution to install the developer profile and update the latest tvOS beta over the air.

You cannot restore / downgrade to tvOS 9 without an USB-C cable! But the risk is very low, a USB-C adapter costs around 5 bucks, but be warned!

Installation

What you need:

  • an Apple Developer account to get access to the tvOS beta profile
  • a cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive that has an iOS app and supports download links
  • an iOS device with the Apple Remote-App installed and paired with your Apple TV

Installation steps:

1. On your mac, download the latest tvOS 10 beta profile from the Apple Developer Site. Store the downloaded profile in your Dropbox / Google Drive cloud storage.

2. On your iOS device, open the Dropbox / Google Drive app and generate a download link for the profile. Normally the link will be automatically in your iOS clipboard.

3. On the Apple TV, go to Settings → General → Privacy → Send to Apple. Now press the play button on your remote, select Add Profile and press OK. Completely delete the displayed URL.

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4. Back on your iOS device, launch the Remote-App and connect to your Apple TV. Paste the download link from step 2 in the input field. (If you use Dropbox, replace the trailing 0 with a 1. Otherwise it won’t work, because of Dropbox’s proxy download page.) Confirm the input.

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5. Your Apple TV now installs the profile. If it takes longer than 5 mins. press the back button on your Apple TV remote. The profile should be installed anyway. Your Apple TV will request a restart, if not restart it manually.

6. After restart, go to Settings → System → Software Update and install the update.

Enjoy tvOS 10 beta.

This is just a workaround for impatient geeks like me that don’t want to wait for the USB-C adapter shipping. I recommend to buy a USB-C adapter for easier future updates, resets and tvOS app development.

Written by

I’m a Software Engineer from Düsseldorf. Passionate about programming languages & technologies with vocation for agile topics.

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