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Uh oh: Apple TV purchases and rentals have no sound — what to do

Apple TV 4K (2021) review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple TV, the successor to the iTunes store for movie and TV shows, may have a really annoying issue on its hands. Or at least that's what Twitter users are reporting at the moment.

For example, Tweeter @AlouyMartinez posted online that they were renting F9: The Fast Saga (a new addition to video on demand services) on Apple TV, but it has no sound at all. Music producer @shaunbless is also crying foul, noting that The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard has no sound either.

We've tried to replicate this issue on our own Apple TV/iTunes purchases, but audio works across all applications in our testing.

The issue, reported yesterday (Aug. 1) by 9to5Mac, has apparently been happening since mid-July, and has affected not just Apple TVs, but Roku devices too. User @Dolla_DP vented their own experience issue and noted "they wonder why we bootleg," in their post.  User @kb1854 claims that the issue doesn't mute movie previews.

The issue is apparently affecting users beyond just Apple TV store shoppers, as Ben Meighan-Carey tweeted that "Netflix and Prime video aren’t playing sound too. Makes the Apple TV useless, only YouTube works on it for me now."

Audio does turn on, though, he claims, when AirPods are connected. Apparently, apps such as Youtube and ITV Hub that don't play sound with Apple's standard method don't have this issue. 

Tom's Guide has reached out to Apple for comment, and will update this article if we learn more. 

How to fix the Apple TV's sound issue

There appears to be a workaround available, at least on Apple TV devices. That said, some audiences might not want to go with this answer if they've got a fancy audio setup. They might just want to try a different online retailer, such as Amazon Prime Video.

Meighan-Carey got sound to work when switching the settings to Stereo. Here's how to get to that menu.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Select Video and Audio
  3. Under Audio, select Audio Format
  4. Select Change Format
  5. Confirm Change Format
  6. Select Stereo

Of course, downgrading your audio output (from 5.1, presumably) to simply stereo is not ideal. We're guessing that users may want to forego this all together, and try renting movies on a different app. We could not replicate this fix, as we don't have this issue on our devices.

You may just want to go directly through Apple Support for your fix, but 9to5Mac is reporting that "not everyone is getting refunded" at the moment.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.