YouTube app being pulled from older Apple TVs — what to do now

YouTube app being pulled from older Apple TVs
(Image credit: Future)

Older Apple TV owners will have to do more work to watch YouTube on their televisions. Fortunately, there is a workaround. 

This news comes from Twitter user Niels O'Man (via 9to5Mac), who reports seeing a warning message about the upcoming change while using his device. The change comes in March of this year, so you have time to learn how to use the workaround.

The alert message on the Apple TV reads that "starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation)." The fix comes in Apple's AirPlay tech, which can "stream YouTube from your iOS device directly to any Apple TV (3rd generation or later)."

The only issue here is that AirPlay typically requires the device sending the stream to have the app in question open while it broadcasts. That's a lot less convenient than when you send a signal via Chromecast. 

Testing this out at home, but with the Apple TV 4K, I didn't experience this flaw. That may be because this Apple TV uses AirPlay 2, which the Apple TV 3rd Gen. doesn't have. 

One Reddit post suggested iOS 12.2 introduced a multitasking component for AirPlay 2, but Apple's own iOS 12.2 release notes claim no such addition.

Either way, when it comes time to AirPlay from your YouTube app to your Apple TV, here's how to do it. 

  1. Make sure your iPhone is on the same wireless network as your TV.
  2. Start a video in YouTube app.
  3. Tap the Cast button (a rectangle with signal rings on the bottom right).
  4. Tap "AirPlay & Bluetooth devices."
  5. Select your Apple TV.

And there you have it, you should be able to AirPlay the YouTube app to an older Apple TV. Now's a good time to try this out for yourself, to make sure you know how to use it before it's your only way.

Or, you could just get the Apple TV HD or Apple TV 4K. Both are excellent, though admittedly expensive, streaming boxes — and the latter earned its spot on our best streaming devices rankings for its speed, range of apps and customizable interface.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.