Some Apple TVs spontaneously awakening and powering on HDTVs, users complain

“Some owners of the fourth-generation Apple TV are complaining that the device is spontaneously waking up itself and/or connected TVs, an inconvenience that could burn unnecessary electricity and could potentially cause screen burn-in for people with plasma sets,” Roger Fingas reports for AppleInsider.

“The issue is the subject of numerous threads on Apple’s support forums, and can also be confirmed by AppleInsider,” Fingas reports.

” Plasma burn-in is a risk because tvOS may not always run its screensaver as it’s supposed to,” Fingas reports. “The exact cause of the problem is uncertain, with owners blaming everything from Bluetooth to AirPlay. Some people have reported success in closing some (or all) apps before putting their Apple TV to sleep, or else restarting their unit first, or even turning off ad tracking. Those just concerned with keeping a TV off can disable HDMI-CEC in tvOS settings.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Works fine for us, but we are exclusively using Sony 4K TVs with our Apple TV units. With other brands, your mileage may vary.

Is this happening to you?


    1. As a kid, I sometimes stood near my friend’s window with my universal remote and would turn off and on their TV. When he told me at school, I would blame alien technology. I bet that ATV must be that new alien technology now. (or maybe is is just some kids having a bit of fun)

  1. Had this problem with my Sony turning back on after I powered it off with a Logitech Harmony Hub Remote App. A software update to the TV (Android…unfortunately) and turning off “Bravia Link” appears to have fixed the issue.

    1. Yep, happened to me lots of times. First I blamed the kids, then the dogs. Finally realized its a bug when the ATV remote was in a secure location during night and it still turned on in middle of night.

      Hasn’t happened lately though. Hopefully its fixed through an update.

    1. Same for me on 3rd gen – reboots itself almost everyday. The 4th rebooted itself maybe 2-3 times since the release. No spontaneous wake ups though.  remote control sometimes does not turn on the TV (have to use TV remote).

    1. I turned off my CEC settings on my receiver due to my new Apple TV turning it off when I was still using it..

      I have multiple things hooked up to my receiver, i frequently swap between them and the Apple TV is the only one that shuts it off… when i’m NOT using the Apple TV…

      Playing the PS4, or watching something on my DVR.. Apple TV shuts the receiver off.

      Wish I could just disable CEC settings on the Apple TV instead of on the receiver.

      1. I bought two 60″ plasmas about a year-and-a-half ago. I love good quality plasmas. Plus, the burn-in issue was essentially solved many years ago. The plamsa HDTV, itself, runs a program that verses input to the pixels to avoid burin-in of a static image. I have never had even a hint of burn in.

        Also, my ATV3 had been pretty much rock solid. I probably rebooted it a few times, but it has been a long time.

  2. Happened 2/3 times but it might be because I touched the trackpad accidentally when putting it away. I love the fact that by touching a single button on the remote, (1) AppleTV turns on, (2) TV turns on, (3) TV switch to the right Source. It’s magic!

      1. Sounds convenient. My Sony switches to the Blu-ray player input when I insert a disc in the player, but doesn’t auto switch simple by turning on the player.

        I also have a Mac mini connected, but it doesn’t auto switch to that. Maybe it’s because the mini is always on… or asleep. The TV just turns on to whatever it was set for when it was turned off.

  3. TV goes on, or switches to Apple TV input when I use the Remote. The cat has turned on the TV or changed the input to the Apple TV by stepping on the remote. I like the feature. All I have to do is start using the remote, and the TV automatically goes to the Apple TV input.

    1. That’s it. How many of the users experiencing this have cats?

      Once you go to bed, you have no idea what their evil little minds are up to. Cat Fancy commercials in the middle of the night.

  4. Dunno about ATV issues, but sometimes iTunes (which I seldom use) starts itself on my Mac – sometimes every day for weeks – and then not for awhile.

    And then starts doing it again. Annoying…. …and just kinda weird….

  5. i have a plasma set and ATV4. i was listening to a 30min podcast and unhappy that the screen never changed its text and icons for the duration. cable stations like the history channel do the same with its logo.

  6. My ATV 4 does that. Found out that I was inadvertently turning it on by placing any object on the remote or the remote on an unlevel surface, such as a couch or couch pillows. It also happens if the remote is face down. Since I put the remote face up on a flat surface, away from papers, magazines etc., I have not had the problem. Also think there is a setting you can turn off which will keep the ATV remote from accessing the TV.

  7. The HDMI-CEC feature is pretty neat. I was surprised when the AppleTV was able to switch on the TV. I haven’t see the switch on issue but then don’t use a lot of apps.
    My problem is slightly different. We had to upgrade to Xfinity (Comcast in CA). The cable unit can also use CEC but I found that the TV would switch back to the cable output about 10 seconds after switching to the Apple TV. Very annoying. After chatting with the Comcast support for an hour who didn’t have a clue, I finally worked out that I had to switch off the CEC feature on the TV. There was no way I could find to disable or modify behavior on the cable box.
    I will try disabling CEC on the Apple TV and switch it back on on the TV to see if that will work.
    Hopefully at some point the TV and the cable box will be updated to be able to recognize 2 units that have CEC control and give preference to the unit that is activity displaying video.

    But let’s face it guys – these are still nascent tech with wrinkles to iron out. All kinda neat but still with a few problems. Be patient and soon the issues will be resolved.

    1. “I will try disabling CEC on the Apple TV and switch it back on on the TV to see if that will work.”

      this is the problem, well part of it.. Could just be a bug of some sort that can be fixed, but I do not see any CEC functions on the Apple TV itself.

      Apple should just have a menu pop up when you hold the power button. “all off” (tv/receiver and Apple TV) or just Apple TV off. Hell make the all off the default, but let the user have the ability to decide if they want all off or not..

      Before I turned the CEC function off on my receiver, I had two options when switching from apple TV to another source.
      Turn off the apple TV, and then turn the receiver back on..
      or what would happen most of the time cause i’d forget.. switch to the other source and the Apple TV would then shut the receiver off later *while* I’m still using the TV.

      CEC is great, when the user is in control of it.. Every device that uses CEC should be required to allow the user to select if they want to use it or not. Default should be “on”, just give the user the ability to control it.

  8. I’d like to know the cause. My best guesses are that either something on the TV is accessing the net without user request, OR EM (electromagnetic) noise is triggering the TV. There are a lot of very noisy EM wave emitting devices these days, a constant source of complaints behind the scenes. I still regularly pick up mobile phone connection noise on one of my home radios. That should NOT happen. The terms ‘lazy’ and ‘cheap’ regarding manufacturing and design come to mind.

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