iTunes 11 Appears to Work Fine with First Generation AppleTV

One worry I had about upgrading to iTunes 11 was whether or not it would be compatible with my First Generation AppleTV1. I posted the question on the Apple Support Communites and The Apple Stackexchange Site but did not receive any answers that made me particularly comfortable. A recent posting by John Gruber at Daring Fireball, however, mentioned that “[c]learly, in its heart, under the hood, this is still the same iTunes.” Though I assume that Mr. Gruber meant this figuratively, it gave me enough hope to try testing it on my own.

I first used a computer that was not my primary AppleTV sync computer2. I upgraded that computer to iTunes 11 and then changed my AppleTV to sync to that computer3. I did some basic tests, including syncing over a recently purchased copy of Brave4, verifying that copy plays, and then experimenting with streaming various other movies and music from my computer to the AppleTV. I ran into no issues. With this testing under my belt, I decided to try and upgrade my primary syncing computer. I performed the iTunes 11 upgrade and then re-configured my AppleTV to talk to my primary syncing computer. Things seemed to work.

I have not had enough time to compare the syncing and/or the streaming performance of iTunes 11 with previous versions of iTunes, but early indications are that performance is a little bit better under this latest iTunes version5.

A couple of caveats with my setup: (1) my AppleTV is not jailbroken, hacked, unlocked, modified, etc…, and (2) I did do a complete factory restore of my AppleTV about 2 months. I am not sure how much either of these factors contributes to iTunes 11 working with my system.

Though I cannot promise that iTunes 11 will work with your first generation AppleTV, I can at least give you this single piece of anecdotal evidence that it is possible that a first generation AppleTV will work with iTunes 11. Now, I just have to cross my fingers that it continues to work with future updates6


  1. I know, I know…but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? 

  2. For those of you who cannot remember, the first generation AppleTV had a hard drive that allowed you to sync a subset of your iTunes content to it. The newer AppleTV devices are 100% streaming. 

  3. ASIDE: iTunes 11 does work with OS X Lion. It does not require Mountain Lion. I am not sure, however, if it works with Snow Leopard. 

  4. Affiliate Link 

  5. I am not alone in that opinion 

  6. Or that I get a newer AppleTV for Christmas.