The best Apple TV apps: Games, entertainment and 4K essentials

The apps and games you need to download

The best Apple TV apps
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Apple's home invasion isn't just about HomeKit and the Siri-enabled HomePod. The company has been invading living rooms for years with the Apple TV, and the Apple TV 4K takes it up a notch by also acting as a smart home hub.

And don't forget about that App Store, which gives you access to a myriad of apps designed for tvOS, Apple's TV operating system. These apps are built to play big and colorful on your shiny 4K TV. They're a window into the world from your living room, from entertainment to sports to news and weather and more.

Read this: Apple TV 4K review

It can be difficult to know where to get started with the Apple TV's App Store, so we've picked out some of our favourites for you to try out. And don't forget to check out our guides to the best 4K smart TVs and 4K projectors.

Pro tip: Don't forget to head to Settings on your Apple TV, then head to Apps and make sure Automatic Downloads is set to on. That way you can download apps onto your iPhone or iPad and have them install on your Apple TV.


Apple TV apps: Entertainment

The best Apple TV apps and games

Netflix

Probably the first app anyone downloads on any smart TV or streaming box/stick; Netflix is a default option. At this point it's more surprising if you haven't downloaded Netflix onto your TV device. You'll also get to see Netflix's massive library in wonderful 4K, not to mention getting access to some great shows and movies exclusive to the big red platform.

Free (requires subscription), Download Netflix

Disney Plus

The new kid on the block, Disney Plus is a repository for everything built by, and owned by, the House of Mouse. That means the entire Star Wars catalogue, Marvel movies, and a bunch of Fox properties including the entire Simpsons library (20th Century Fox and Fox Television are now owned by Disney, keep up). Even some of Fox's Marvel movies are making their way onto the platform. At just $6.99 a month it's also easier to justify lumping it on top of Netflix etc. If you're in the UK, you won't be able to get access until March.

Free (requires subscription), Download Disney Plus

HBO Now/Go

HBO comes in two flavors: Go, which is basically the on-demand version of the cable or satellite channel you're already paying for; and Now, which is the cord-cutters' dream come true, as you'll be able to get the channel all by its lonesome for $15 a month.

Free (requires subscription), Download HBO Now or HBO Go

Amazon Prime Video

For a long time, Amazon held out on developing a full Amazon Prime Video app for Apple TV, leaving Apple fans out of the loop on one of the best streaming services you can sign up for. No longer, however, as you now can access Prime Video from your Apple TV. However, due to Apple's annoying restrictions you can't purchase content through the Amazon app – you'll have to do that on another device. You do get 4K streaming though.

Free (requires subscription), Download Amazon Prime Video

Hulu

In recent years Hulu has put out original series that can match the best from HBO and Netflix, The Handmaid's Tale being a good example. But it's also still one of the best places to see the latest in TV the day after it airs. Unfortunately, no 4K support yet.

Free (requires subscription), Download Hulu

YouTube TV

If you're going to completely ditch cable or satellite, but you want an internet TV option, YouTube TV is going to be your best bet: $40 a month gets you over 40 channels. The best bit of YouTube TV is unlimited cloud DVR, and YouTube will automatically download and store episodes of your favorite shows for viewing later. You can even take your TV on the go with iPhone and iPad apps. Only bad news? No 4K support yet.

Free (requires subscription), Download YouTube TV

Movies Anywhere

If you haven't heard of Movies Anywhere, that's okay. It's a new service from most of the major Hollywood studios, and it basically gives you a convenient place to store your digital movies, no matter where you buy them. So if you buy them from iTunes or Amazon or Vudu, or even use a digital code you get in a Blu-Ray, all of them will live here in Movies Anywhere, making it a convenient way to take your film collection with you digitally. Tip: Make sure your iTunes account is connected to Movies Anywhere. Apple will upgrade all your movies stored in the service to 4K for free, even if they weren't bought from iTunes originally.

Free, Download Movies Anywhere

Plex

Plex has long been a favourite app of those who use a media server, and for a while there Apple TV users had to turn to unofficial apps to get their fix. No longer, as Plex is now officially on Apple TV. You can watch your media a number of ways, from streaming to casting to sharing. There's also a premium TV service and 4K HDR compatibility.

Free (optional subscription for Plex Pass), Download Plex

Tubi

There are so many streaming services nowadays it's enough to make you want to scream into your credit card statement. Tubi is a neat alternative, offering free streaming of TV shows and movies - and it's all perfectly legal. The big catch here is that you'll need to watch some commercials, but at least you'll save some money.

Free, Download Tubi


Apple TV apps: News and info

The best Apple TV apps and games

CBS News

CBS News' app is about as simple as you can get. It's essentially one giant streaming news channel. It constantly churns through the news of the day, and it also loops fairly often so if you leave it on in the background you're sure to get your fill. And it is purely news, too; you're not going to get any opinion programs here.

Free, Download CBS News

Reuters TV

Reuters TV asks a simple question: How much time do you have to watch the news? All you have to do is answer that question and the app will tailor you a custom news program, packed with all the information and analysis you need to know, in that timeframe. If only everything worked like that.

Free, Download Reuters TV

Bloomberg: Business News

Keep up with the latest from the business world (and check how those stocks are faring). As well as the Bloomberg TV livestream, you can select from various Bloomberg series like Surveillance, Moonshot and Good Money It's also one of the best looking apps on this list, in our opinion.

Free, Download Bloomberg

Kitchen Stories

If you're looking to learn some new recipes, it's hard to do better than Kitchen Stories. It provides excellent video recipes, plus there are a number of tutorials on small things – like how to cut onions. You can also save the recipes and get an instant shopping list for you to check off the next time you're at the grocery store.

Free, Download Kitchen Stories

TED

Everyone needs a dose of inspiration or a good new idea to shiny up their life every once in a while. Hence TED, which provides a wide variety of excellent talks for you to devour. Find out about JJ Abrams' Mystery Box, or why Ariana Huffington credits naps as one of the most important parts of life. The world is yours.

Free, Download TED


Apple TV kids apps

The best Apple TV apps: We list games, entertainment and 4K essentials

DisneyLife

Get Disney Content on your Apple TV with this subscription app. WithTangled, Beauty & The Beast, The Lion King, Frozen, Brave, Aladdin, Toy Story, High School Musical, Descendants, and more – plus TV shows – it’s a one stop shop for kids.

Subscription, Download DisneyLife

Hopster

Another kids app bustling with short videos, clips and interactive games – it’s great for keeping them entertained and learning in your living room.

Free, Download Hospter

Ibbleobble

Puzzles and games for ages 5 - 8, there’s enough challenging puzzles to keep little ones learning. There are editions for words, addition, sequences and more – and so much fun kids might not realize their learning.

Free, Download Ibbleobble

iBooks Storytime

You will never need to read your child a book again. iBooks Storytime takes care of all that for you. Just choose between a number of options, from Dora to Sesame Street, and watch the book pop to life with narration, automatic page-turning and beautiful animations.

Free, Download iBooks Storytime


Apple TV apps: Games

The best Apple TV apps: We list games, entertainment and 4K essentials

Asphalt 8: Airborne

The Apple TV 4K is a powerful streaming device, and there's no game that better shows off that power than Asphalt 8, which is why Apple always shows it off when it showcases the Apple TV. GameLoft continually updates the game with new events, too. And all of it is for the low price of free.

Free, Download Asphalt 8: Airborne

Inside

If you played Limbo then Inside is definitely worth a look. Another ingenious puzzle platformer, the game has you solving puzzles and avoiding death as you navigate a dark and eerie dystopia, punctuated by some truly incredible moments.

Free (Free trial, $6.99 for full game), Download Inside

Rayman Adventures

This one's best played with a controller for the full effect (here's how to do that). If you're just using the Apple TV remote Rayman Adventures is still a hoot, but it plays like an endless runner, while connecting a controller will give you the more traditional Rayman experience. There are newer, flashier titles

Free, Download Rayman Adventures

HQ Trivia

One of the most addicting games on your phone is now possible up on your big screen TV. If you somehow haven't heard about it, HQ is a live gameshow where you and thousands of other people are competing to win a cash prize. Answer all the questions and you and whoever else is around gets to split the prize. Bring your most useless information and get ready to win.

Free, Download HQ Trivia

Smule Sing! Karaoke

Karaoke always works best when you have a large group of friends, which makes the Apple TV version of Smule's popular app absolutely perfect. Gather your friends, connect your iPhones via the app and you're ready to sing together.

Free, Download Smule Sing! Karaoke

Jeopardy! PlayShow

The legendary gameshow is now in your living room with this one. You can download the PlayShow on your smartphone, then you can link it to the Apple TV app. Then, you'll be able to play over 30 years of Jeopardy.

Free, Download Jeopardy! PlayShow

Transistor

One of our favorite PC games has made it over to the Apple TV and we couldn't be happier about it. This RPG throws you into a gorgeous sci-fi world that you must navigate, unravelling its mysteries and defeating robotic foes. If you've played Supergiant Games' first smash hit, Bastion, you'll have an idea of what to expect here.

$4.99, Download Transistor

SketchParty TV

SketchParty TV has long been a staple of Apple TV AirPlay life. Start it on your phone, AirPlay it up to your TV and get going. Except now there's a native app to make the whole process easier. Get a group of friends with iPhones together and race to see who can draw whatever is on the screen.

$4.99, Download SketchParty TV


Apple TV apps: Smart home

The best Apple TV apps and games

Nest

If you've got any Nest cams, whether that be the Cam itself or the Hello video doorbell, you can keep track of what's going on right from your TV. Just download the Nest app and check it out. Plus if you've got a Nest Aware subscription you can take a look at past footage too.

Free, Download Nest

Speedtest

If your streams are buffering or your app download is taking a bit longer than usual, you may want to test your speed to see if there's something officially wrong with your internet. You can download Speedtest and check out how your home network is doing, and how your Apple TV is pulling in that network.

Free, Download Speedtest

Canary

If you've got Canary cameras around your house, you'll be plenty satisfied with the Canary app for Apple TV. If you've got a single camera, you'll be booted into dashboard every time you launch the app. If you've got multiple cameras, you'll get something called 'location view', which will let you choose between your cameras.

Free, Download Canary

Arlo

Arlo cameras are HomeKit capable, so if you want to extend the Apple love you can download the Apple TV app and get a live view of your Arlo cameras.

Free, Download Arlo

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