How to Rearrange, Add, and Remove Channels on Apple TV

When you first use your Apple TV, you’ll notice there are a lot of channel tiles on its main menu. If you want to change things up however, you can rearrange, add, and even remove them to better suit your tastes.

RELATED: Is it a Good Time to Buy an Apple TV?

The Apple TV in its current iteration is a fairly nice all-around streaming multimedia option for your living room and usability can be improved significantly by adding a Bluetooth keyboard or Apple’s iOS “Remote” app to navigate its somewhat clunky interface.

That said, despite its recent $30 price drop, we still believe that if you don’t currently own one, you should hold off until Apple releases an updated version, hopefully sometime later this year.

Still, there’s a lot you can do with it other than simply watching Netflix, such as accessing your iTunes content or setting your iCloud Photo Stream and shared albums as your screen saver. Customizing the main menu then can do wonders for your overall user experience letting you put your Apple TV’s strengths literally above everything else.

Adding, Removing, and Moving Content Tiles on the Main Menu

Like we said, the main menu already comes with many (most) channels already showing. We guarantee you won’t use all these, and we suspect that the vast majority of Apple TV users will only ever need a handful of them.

Luckily, the main menu can be altered to suit your whims, allowing you to easily hide, show, and move channel tiles. This is obviously very helpful when whittling down your options to only the stuff you have accounts for and want to use.

To start, click the “Settings” tile on the main menu screen.

Here is the “Settings” screen, now click the “Main Menu” option.

On the next screen, you’ll see all the various channels you can “Show” or “Hide” on your Apple TV’s main menu.

On the “Main Menu” screen, you’ll have well over 50 channels you can add to your main menu, or remove them.

In this example, we’ll show the “iCloud Photos” channel, which let’s us explore our Photo Streams, shared albums, and set either as a screen saver or slideshow.

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Remember, if a tile is shown on the main menu, it will say “Show” and if it isn’t, it will say “Hide”.

Normally, the “iCloud Photos” tile is hidden so when you show it, it will likely appear low on your main menu. You can leave it there, or if you select it by holding the big button on your Apple TV’s remote, the tile will begin to shake, which means you can now move it to another part of the main menu (using the remote’s direction keys).

Though it doesn’t appear to be shaking (trust us it is), you can tell it is selected because of the “Press play/pause for more options.” message along the bottom of the screen.

Note, in the previous screenshot, we’re informed we can access more options by pressing the play/pause button. These options turn out to be the ability to hide an item or cancel out to the main menu.

Honestly, we don’t recommend hiding many tiles this way. It’s actually quite a bit more time-consuming than using the “Main Menu” settings.

Once you’ve maneuvered your new tile into place, you can once again click the remote’s “Select” button. The tile will stop shaking, and remain where you leave it.

If you really want to clean up your main menu, you can eliminate the clutter and only show the stuff you ever really use. You don’t have to be as spartan about it, such as in the following screenshot, but at least this gives you a clearer idea of what we’re describing.

You can really go to town and cull the clutter but the “Settings” tile must remain.

Of course, on the other hand you can just leave everything showing and even add more. Also, remember if there are only one or two tiles you want to hide, you can quickly do that without actually entering the “Main Menu” settings.

At some point, the Apple TV will probably be a force to be reckoned with, but right now its relatively slow reaction speed and clunky interface kind of make it an also-ran among the Chromecast and Roku crowd. Still, you can do a lot of stuff to customize it to your liking, plus it integrates well into the Apple ecosystem, which makes it a natural choice for Mac and iOS-centric households.

We’d love to hear from you now. Got a comment or question you would like to share with us? Please leave your feedback in our discussion forum.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.