A guide to managing Apple TV with Apple Configurator.

I’ve been managing Apple TVs for about twelve months now, and still this little snippet of information passed me by.

This process allows you to manage a large number of Apple TVs easily and apply settings which are not available from the normal Apple TV user interface, including advanced wireless configuration settings and proxy server details.

Note: Apple TV configuration profiles are only supported by Apple TV software version 5.1 and above.

Preparing Apple TV to Apply a Configuration Profile

You can only apply a configuration profile to an Apple TV once you have accessed the main menu. If your Apple TV is fresh out of the box you will need to do the following:

  1. Connect the Apple TV to a TV or projector and power it on.
  2. Select the language the Apple TV should use.
  3. Skip the remaining configuration by pressing the  Menu button on the Apple Remote.
  4. Power off the Apple TV

Now we’ve done that let’s continue.

Apply a Configuration Profile to Apple TV

  1. Connect the Apple TV to a power source. Now connect a micro-usb cable to the usb port on the back of the Apple TV.  Make sure you do it in this order to prevent the Apple TV going into recovery mode. If it does power off and try again. If you don’t have a micro-usb cable (they come as standard with most non-Apple mobile phones) you can pick one up very cheaply from many online stores.
    apple-tv-back
  2. Connect the other end of the micro-USB cable to a Mac running Apple Configurator.
  3. In Apple Configurator, select the Prepare tab.1
  4. Make sure Supervision is set to off. You cannot supervise an Apple TV.
  5. Set the iOS pop-up menu to No Change.
  6. Set the Restore pop-up menu to Don’t Restore Backup.
  7. Click the + at the bottom of the Profiles menu to import or create a profile for your Apple TV.2
  8. Enter the settings you require.
  9. Once you have finished click the Prepare button at the bottom of the screen. Your configuration profile settings will now be installed on your Apple TV.

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About Author

Profile photo of Karl Rivers

Karl is an award winning Director of IT for the Royal Grammar School Guildford, based near London, England. He has been working in education for more than ten years and founded ClassThink in 2013 to share technology best practice with other schools. In 2014 he won the NAACE Impact Award for support services in schools, and writes edtech articles for Education Executive Magazine.

32 Comments

  1. Hey Karl, Thanks for having this info out there. Had a couple of questions for you as I configure 20 ATV’s for a school on Monday. Do you just put in the network settings into your profile or are you using other restrictions as well. I haven’t done this just yet and wanted to ask before I try it out myself and find it doesn’t work.

    • Profile photo of Karl Rivers

      Hi Jamie,

      We’ve just added the network settings to our Apple TVs. We like to manage passwords on a per device basis and manage them ourselves because they are the first thing teachers ask for and the first thing they forget!

      It’s worth noting that not all of the available management profile settings will work on Apple TV. Try it out on one device, test, and then push it out to the rest. If you find there are additional settings you need later on it’s just a case of plugging the Apple TV to the Mac and updating. Really simple and quick.

      Let me know how you get on!

      Karl

      • Hello Karl,

        Since I have a small setup still in implementation, 10 Apple TVs, 50 MacBooks and 150 iPads, I’m taking the production server, clients, Apple TVs and everything else to OSX 10.9 and iOS 7 And Apple TV OS 6 in January 2014.

        I bought Terry Walsh’s “Using OS X Mavericks Server at Home” even if it doesn’t discuss Apple TVs

        I am waiting to see if Peachpit’s “Apple Pro Training Series: OS X Server Essentials 10.9: Using and Supporting OS X Server on Mavericks” has anything absolutely recent when it will come out.

        I built a small setup with another server, a couple MB Airs, iPad 2 and Minis to most recent update and fell I’m getting a better glimpse of the global picture now.

        This being said, I can’t wait to see Classthink’s articles and I find that you guys ( and girls i guess ) have guts to publish such short lived documents 🙂

        I googled “Apple TV” “Profile Manager”, not to avail. But it’s only Thursday…

        I guess I am learning that living at the cutting edge means eating thin slices.

        Francois.

        • Profile photo of Karl Rivers

          Hi Francois,

          Sounds like an exciting set up you have. I’d be interested to know more about your implementation.

          Part of the reason I set up ClassThink was that I couldn’t find the resources I needed online to set up iPads in my schools. So, I’m glad you’re finding the site useful!

          I should be putting together a more detailed guide to Apple TV soon, so I’ll let you know once it’s online.

          Karl

          • Hello Karl,

            I’m usually am encouraging person but this time, I feel caution is needed in writing a guide. I read so much that I feel an active database of if-then-else would be more appropriate.

            A good Deployment guide has to consider 3 versions of OS X (.7, .8, .9), 2 or 3 versions of iOS (5, 6, 7), ask if you use iTunes, Apple Configurator, Server with Profile Manager or other MDM, iCloud, cover 2 VPP eras, 2 or 3 gens of Apple TV in 2 OSes.

            I hardly see people stating their complete setup before asking complete or complex questions.

            When I visit Apple for education IT resources, I understand why there is so little new stuff.

            When I read discussions dot apple dot com, I’m amazed that some people end up finding solutions.

            You can write the story of your implementation … but others need more of an on-site integrator than an example.com theoretical course in my humble opinion.

            Francois.

          • Profile photo of Karl Rivers

            Hi Francois,

            Love your thinking.

            Apple technology when it goes right is fairly straight forward, and I suppose that’s what I’m trying to represent on ClassThink. Where you get problems, however, is when it becomes very difficult to get good support from Apple. Once we get to the point of “no return” a solid community of like minded technicians is required to sort through problems, and that’s where we need to go next.

            I hope you’ll hang around the site and post some of your ideas in the forums. It’s quiet in there at the moment, but there are a lot of people viewing the site just waiting for a few people to break the ice.

            Karl

      • Richard Tidd on

        Karl

        Thanks for the info.

        Via the Configurator:
        I see how to set up the profile for my enterprise WiFi:
        I can set the my Apple TV name for the device
        Get the latest version to install

        The name & updated version transfers, however, the enterprise WiFi settings do not.

        What am I missing?

  2. Hi!

    We recently configured out Apple TV 2’s with a proxy profile and we are using iPad 2’s. We are able to fully connect to out network and utilize all of the apps and features on the ATV but we still can’t get the airplay feature to work. Any suggestions?

      • Hi! I´m having the same problem as Kristev, since using configurator to connect my AppleTV to a secure network (configured by SSID and certificate – proxy ID was not needed to connect to this network). All devices are connected to the same network, all devices sett to Airplay, but no Airplay icon while playing ex.videos on my iPad. Any tips?

  3. When i read “A guide to managing Apple TV with Apple Configurator.”, my heart bounced at the idea of finally understanding why, in Apple Configurator 1.4.2, does it seem like all the same payloads as for iOS 7 can be applied to Apple TVs !?!.

    Then, the deception.

    Then the hope by subscribing to future article coming up here.

    Thank you for trying.

    FB

      • Sorry, Karl,

        I’m still searching a walk through for Apple Configurator 1.4.2 and Apple TV 6.0.x. Your site claims having an article about it coming up and I’ve subscribed in my email to get notice when it comes out.

        Do you configure Apple TVs with Configurator?

        Francois.

        • Called Apple Education, spoke to someone who answers Apple Configurator section, layer down my OS, Apple TV specs and was told that beside setting the name and some network configs, there wasn’t much else for now.

          Please let me repeat the question if all of you don’t mind.

          Why is it that in Apple Configurator, I see a truckload of iOS -like payloads for Apple TV if it doesn’t necessarily apply?

          Francois.

          • Profile photo of Karl Rivers

            The settings you can apply to Apple TV are limited. But I haven’t found any documentation which specifies which can be used. Apple Configurator doesn’t narrow down your options unfortunately.

  4. I am trying to set this up for our school, installed the profile – worked fine and shows in the menu now but it still wont set the date and time. This seems to be stopping it signing into iTunes etc – still wont access the outside world! Any help would be appreciated.

      • It applies the profile successfully and the settings are listed correctly in the menu. However, it fails when ‘preparing’ the device in configurator. I am wondering if it is failing because the device time and date are not set so thinking of connecting it to my phone as a hotspot so it can set time date then trying to ‘prepare’ it again. It’s weird though because my organisations proxy settings are unfiltered port is listed correctly in the settings (after installing the profile).

  5. I am currently trying to get the apple TV set up on a school network.
    im not having any luck at the moment, I’m quite new to apple and have been looking after windows servers and workstations in education for quite a while now.
    I need to set the apple tv so it can see the DNS server and also set the Proxy settings so the apple tv will see our SQUID server?
    is this done in wifi settings or in the global http settings?

    Thanks

    Craig

  6. Trying to set up 25 Apple TVs, Device Configurator is ALMOST the solution I need, however I can’t find a way to specify the iCloud/itunes accounts, do these have to me entered manually?

  7. Hi Karl,

    What are your suggestions for setting it up with a windows PC? Should it work the same way as with a Mac? I am a teacher and our IT person is not familiar with Apple TV’s though I have many friends use them in their homes. We think it is the proxy settings on the school’s network preventing me from signing in with my Apple ID and syncing up completely and so I need a way to access it. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Profile photo of Karl Rivers

      Hi Dan,

      You’re probably right. You can use Apple Configurator to enter proxy server settings on your Apple TV. You MA find that your proxy server blocks the Apple TV as well I’m which case you would need to create an allow rule for it.

      Hope this helps.

      Karl

  8. Hi Karl

    I cannot find any Apple TV when connected to my MacBook Air via a micro usb cable. There is no “1” at the prepare box and I cannot see any devices when searching for it either. What am I doing wrong? Apple TV is running 7.0.1. I have no Internet on my ATV yet (that’s kind of the main reason for me to make a configured profile on the device).

    Thank you for your help.

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