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Apple has made it harder to use Apple TV 4K without an iPhone, and it’s a step back

Since Apple now requires you to agree the T&Cs on your phone, and doesn’t provide an alternate choice, some users are reporting that their Apple TVs are disabled in some ways if they don’t have an iPhone.

We’re glad to recommend the Apple TV 4K as the greatest streaming device since it’s never been overly dependent on other Apple products.

It requires an Apple ID, but so does every other streaming device; more crucially, unlike the Apple Watch, it didn’t need an iPhone to function. In contrast to Apple’s AirPods, you may use it with any device and still benefit from its top features. You may log in to your services and enjoy some of the highest video quality available on a gadget of this kind.

However, that seems to be changing. The picture at the top of this article is the mildest manifestation of the problem; it is the message I saw in the Settings app on my Apple TV 4K (2021) today on one of the user accounts, prompting me to update my Apple ID by holding my iPhone or iPad near to the device.

Curiously, I didn’t get the alert on my own account, so I guess I’ve already agreed to the revised rules. Probably; I don’t recall actually doing this, but I do use my iPhone to control my Apple TV somewhat often, so it’s possible that this showed up and I accepted it without reading it.

At the moment, this isn’t preventing anybody from using their Apple TV; the issue is just asking in the background and turning off a tiny new function after an update. However, other users have reported experiencing considerably greater issues.

The individual who sent the following tweet was apparently unable to use their Apple TV unless they accepted the updated terms and conditions using “a smartphone running iOS 16 or later, or iPadOS 16.” Except, they say, they just have an Apple TV and no other Apple products.

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The worst-case scenario of such an approach would be to make utterly useless a costly gadget on which people depend.

In the headline, I said that this new strategy was a regression since the Apple TV is popular among movie buffs who don’t possess Apple computers or phones. I’ve encouraged others to get one, and I personally know a few folks who use them exclusively for watching movies they bought or rented from Apple. Having to temper my enthusiastic endorsement in light of this proposed adjustment is a clear indication that the latter is not the case.

It’s not a setback if you already own an Apple TV and are prevented from utilising it in this way (see picture).

But since that tweet has gone viral, an Apple Security Engineer and the Apple Support Twitter account have stepped in to help a number of customers who have posted comments to it about various issues they’re experiencing with their Apple TV.

So it seems like Apple is aware of the issues this update is creating and is considering offering a different solution at some point in the future; however, how far in the future that would be is anyone’s estimate.

We contacted Apple for comment, but haven’t heard back as of this writing.