There are a number of simple ways to discover which Apple TV you own. Internally, software and hardware capabilities can differentiate the devices, such as tvOS, streaming, Siri, apps, games, processing speed and Bluetooth. Externally,comparing the size and weight, identifying your TV’s model number and display will allow you to figure out which particular device you have.

Identify by model number

Knowing your model number helps differentiate which Apple TV you own. All model numbers begin with the letter ‘A’ and link directly to your specific device. There are three ways to identify your model number: going to settings, checking the bottom of your TV or looking at the box that carries your product upon arrival.

Series

Model Number

Year Released

Colour

Apple Remote

Apple TV

(1st generation)

A1218

2007

Silver

White

Apple TV

(2nd generation)

A1378

2010

Black

Aluminum

Apple TV

(3rd generation)

A1427

or

A1469 for Rev A

2012

Black

Aluminum

Apple TV

(4th generation)

A1625

2015

Black

Siri Remote

or

Apple TV Remote

Apple TV

4K

?

2017

Black

Siri Remote with touchpad and mic

Firstly, you can identify your model number by visiting the ‘Settings’ section on your Apple TV. Choose Settings > General > About and find the model number.

Secondly, check the external bottom of your Apple TV for the information label. Here you will find the model number of your device.

Lastly, looking at the box that your Apple TV arrived in will allow you to learn the specific TV that you own.

Identify by port and connectors

Each device has specific ports and connectors that are respective to the model.

Apple TV (1st generation)

This device has the most connectors and ports out of the 5 models.

The 1st generation Apple TV contain a power port, a port for HDMI (480p or 720p), a component video port, an Ethernet port, an optical digital audio port, an analog audio port and a USB 2.0 (for service and support).

Networking capabilities include 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), as well as an IR receiver.

Apple TV (2nd generation) and Apple TV (3rd generation)

With slightly less ports and connectors, the 2nd generation and 3rd generation Apple TV are essentially identical. The only difference is the 3rd generation can have more pixels (720p or 1080p) for HDMI versus the 2nd generation’s 720p for HDMI.

Both models have identical ports: a power port, Ethernet port, optical digital audio, HDMI port and a Micro-USB (for service and support).

The models also have the same networking capabilities - Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and 10/100BASE-T Ethernet - and include an IR receiver.

Apple TV (4th generation)

Apple TV (4th generation) has the least amount of external ports and connectors of the four models.

The four ports allow for power supply, HDMI 1.4 (720p or 1080p), Ethernet and USB-C (for service and support) connection.

Apple TV (4th generation) offers 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO) and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, which sets it apart from its predecessors.

Also includes IR receiver.

Apple TV 4K

Lastly, Apple TV 4K, which is currently available for £179, only has three ports: an HDMI 2.0 (2160p), Gigabit Ethernet and a power port.

Networking for Apple TV 4K is Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi (802.11ac with MIMO) and Bluetooth 5.0.

Also includes an IR receiver.

Size and Weight

The five Apple TV models differ slightly in size and weight, so you may be able to tell them apart this way.

Model

Approx. Size (cm)

Approx. Weight (kg)

Apple TV

(1st generation)

19.5 x 19.5 x 2.8

1.1

Apple TV

(2nd generation)

9.9 x 9.9 x 2.3

0.27

Apple TV

(3rd generation)

9.9 x 9.9 x 2.3

0.27

Apple TV

(4th generation)

9.9 x 9.9 x 3.3

0.43

Apple TV 4K

9.9 x 9.9 x 3.5

0.43

The second and third generation Apple TVs are the same size and weight, while the fourth and 4K models are similar. The most differentiated model in size and weight  is the 1st generation, which is approximately 19.5 x 19.5 x 2.8 cm and 1.1 kg.

Internal Differences

The older Apple TVs were built around channels, rather than apps. Therefore, the amount of content available for viewers was not as broad because companies had to work with Apple to get their content hosted.

Also to mention, the first generation Apple TV was incapable to streaming - imagine that!

In 2015, Apple built a new operating system called tvOS, an app store, and introduced Siri. This revolutionized the 90-year-old device, which allowed users to now play games, access social media apps, as well as a Siri Remote (see here for a detailed comparison).

Announced along with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple TV 4K is the next generation of Apple TV products that contains the latest version of TVos. What separates Apple TV 4K is hardware technology that supports 4K Ultra-HD and HDR streams.

It also comes with the A10x Fusion Chip, in comparison to the previous A8, making the 4K twice as fast. Lastly, the Apple TV 4K includes Dolby Vision, which allows for brighter and more colorful content.

Model

Capacity

Netflix Streaming

Games

App Store

Siri

Apple TV

(1st generation)

40 or 160 GB

No

No

No

No

Apple TV

(2nd generation)

n/a

Yes

No

No

No

Apple TV

(3rd generation

n/a

Yes

No

No

No

Apple TV

(4th generation)

32 or 64 GB

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Apple TV 4K

32 or 64 GB

Yes

Yes

Yes

¥es

Once you’ve successfully identified your Apple TV using these tips, go here to see if it’s worth upgrading to the new Apple TV 4K.