Best Apple TV apps: 11 essential downloads for your new streaming box

The new Apple TV 4K is finally here – and it’s a huge improvement on the old one.

Featuring an advanced A10 chip to power the graphics need to play high-resolution games and stream 4K HDR content, a motion-sensitive Siri remote control, and more games, it’s a far more versatile device than the 4th-generation Apple TV. It also comes in 32GB and 64GB, with prices starting at £139.

Throw in the introduction upcoming integration with Amazon Prime Video and the Apple TV becomes one of the best streamers on the market. But like many Apple products, the appeal of the Apple TV will be determined by apps as well as hardware, and Apple’s streamer is getting more apps every month. Here are 11 of the best.

1. 4 News


It’s taken a while, but we’re now seeing some of the best catch-up apps come to the Apple TV. Channel 4’s offering makes it easy to keep abreast of current affairs with the Channel 4 news team – and even has the weather, too. 

2. BBC iPlayer


No streaming dongle is complete without the BBC iPlayer app. Featuring all the TV shows you’ve missed, as well as live and “delayed” broadcasting, the BBC iPlayer app for the Apple TV does everything you’d expect.

3. Touchpress – Classical Music Reimagined

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One of the more unusual apps on the Apple TV, Touchpress takes a dissector’s approach to classical music, splitting masterpieces such as Liszt’s sonata in B minor and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons into their composite parts using a range of beautiful visualisations.

Play Beethoven’s ninth symphony, for example, and you can swap between a video of Leonard Bernstein conducting the first movement, a scrolling score and a beatmap showing which parts of the orchestra are playing. 

4. Bean Dreams


Kumobius’ outrageously addictive platformer has finally bounced onto the Apple TV. You play an irrepressible jumping bean, and while that sounds a touch silly, the cutesy graphics and lavish retro-sounding chip-tune soundtrack adorn one of the finest platform games ever made. Completing each level is satisfying in itself, but going back and earning all the awards for completing each of the 100+ stages with a minimum of ‘jumps’ is hugely challenging. Buy it for £2.29, and you can also play it on your iOS devices. 

5. Beat Sports

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The Apple TV comes with an increased focus on games, and Beat Sports is already looking like one of the best. It’s made by Harmonix – makers of the hugely successful Rock Band – and early footage is certainly impressive. What’s more, Beat Sports makes use of the accelerometer and gyroscope functions built into the Apple TV’s new remote, so users will have to swing their way to a high score.

6. Airbnb


While Airbnb isn’t the first app you’d associate with home entertainment, it’s going to be one of the best Apple TV apps. Choosing accommodation tends to be a shared decision, so the ability to see different rooms and prices on the big screen makes deciding where to stay a more collaborative and fun process. You’ll never have to pass the iPad back and forth again!

7. Periscope


Periscope lets users watch livestreams from around the world, and even broadcast their own. The mobile app features strong integration with Twitter, and also lets users easily follow their Twitter friends. Although early reports suggest that Periscope for tvOS doesn’t yet have a login function, it’s clearly a perfect fit for Apple’s streaming device.

8. 7 Minute Workout

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If workout videos like Insanity have taught us anything, it’s a) that we should cut down, and b) that exercise is no longer limited to just the gym. The front room is now a legitimate place to work out, and there are already some great apps that harness the power of the Apple TV to keep you in shape. 7 Minute TV Workout is one of the first, and uses a clean interface and interactive programs to help you get in shape.

9. Galaxy on Fire – Manticore Rising

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Ever wanted to take on a gang of space pirates? If so, Galaxy on Fire – Manticore Rising should be one of the first things you download for your Apple TV. It’s another game that makes use of the devices’s fully-featured remote, and even supports a third-party controller. Although its graphics won’t worry the likes of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it looks very impressive.

10. Transistor


One of the the best-looking games on tablets and smartphones now comes to the big screen. Transistor sees you to battle your way through a futuristic city, complete with engaging combat, puzzles and mysteries to keep you hooked. But one of the best things about Transistor is just how good it looks. Super-giant games have created a huge, immersive gaming world, and the scale is emphasised on a larger TV.

11. Netflix

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One of the most popular video-streaming sites on the internet, Netflix has helped change the way we consume our video content. As you’d expect, the Apple TV will have a Netflix app, allowing viewers to binge-watch their favourite televisions shows a season at a time and watch films by the dozen – all from only £7.49 per month.

Read next: Best Apple Watch apps

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