How To Authorize a Computer For Apple TV In 5 Steps, With Photos

Apple TV vs. Google TV

How To Authorize a Computer For Apple TV In 5 Steps, With Photos

Key Points

  • Apple TV+ is a streaming subscription service with original content, while Apple TV is a non-streaming platform accessible through iTunes.
  • To watch Apple TV on a laptop or desktop, download iTunes and authorize the computer.
  • Once authorized, you can rent or purchase TV shows and movies, and have 48 hours to watch rented content.

Watching TV on your tiny iPhone or Android phone screen can suck the life right out of you. But don’t worry; we’ll show you how to authorize a computer for Apple TV in 5 steps. It’s easier than you think!

You can watch Apple TV on your laptop or desktop computer. But Apple hasn’t exactly made our lives easier with several competing products. We’ll sort through the competing products and get you squared away and watching Apple TV in no time. Ready? Let’s go!

Apple TV+ versus Apple TV

Apple TV chose confusing names for their products and streaming services: “Apple TV” and “Apple TV+.” Let’s see what both mean before we jump into the steps.

Apple TV+ 

Apple TV+ is a streaming subscription service with original Apple content. You can access Apple TV+ on your cell phone, iPad, laptop, or desktop computer.

Apple TV 

Apple TV is a non-streaming Apple platform accessible through iTunes on your computer. The Apple TV platform allows you to rent or purchase television shows or movies. You can download media files to your laptop or desktop computer for viewing.

Apple TV+ and Apple TV Combination

Apple hasn’t made things easier with similar product platform names! Suppose you’re using your iPhone or Android to access Apple products. The Apple TV application contains both Apple TV and Apple TV+. It’s a wee bit confusing!

We will focus on watching Apple TV on your desktop or laptop. If you want to watch Apple TV+ media, you can stream content on your laptop or desktop computer using Firefox, Google, or your browser. Aim your browser to AppleTV.

How to Set up Your Laptop or Desktop Computer

Setting up your computer to watch Apple TV is a breeze. If you don’t have iTunes on your desktop or laptop computer, download it before we start.

Step 1: Windows Programs Window

Our first step is to find your way to the Windows Start Menu. Once you see the icon (lower left of the screen in our example), click on the Windows Icon.

Go to Windows Start on your PC.


Step 2: Start iTunes

Use the arrow button or flywheel on your mouse and move down to the iTunes icon. Click it.

Find and launch iTunes.


Once the iTunes application opens, you’ll see no downloaded content in the library! We need to authorize the computer for iTunes.


Step 3: Sign into iTunes

To get the ball rolling, log into your iTunes. Go to the account menu at the top of the screen. Type your username into the Apple ID section and your password into the password section.


Step 5: Authorization

Go to Account/Authorizations/Authorize This Computer.

Navigate to Authorize this computer from my Account.


Type your username into the Apple ID section and your password into the password section.

Re-enter your iTunes credential to authorize.


A prompt on the display screen will let you know how many computers are authorized to play content on your account. Click the OK prompt to close the window.

You can see the number of computers with authorization.


Step 6: Select Content Category

Scroll through the available Apple TV content until you find something interesting. (We’re partial to the Top Rentals $.99 rental section.)

Browse and pick a content category.


Step 7: Select Content 

We selected a movie the whole family will enjoy, “The Little Mermaid.” Click on the film.

You can select and open any movie.


Step 8: Purchase the Media Content

Your selection and its pertinent details will appear on the display screen. A quick review lets you find the TV program or movie information and ensure it’s what you seek. (This version of The Little Mermaid was released in 2018, so it’s not the current theatre release version!)


Are you sure you want to rent the movie? Last chance to take the exit ramp!

Confirm that you want to rent the movie at iTunes


Step 9: Download the Media Content

Download The Little Mermaid or whatever you’ve chosen.

Once you finalize the purchase, you can download your movie.


Step 10: Play it!

Go to the iTunes Rental tab.

Switch to the rented tab to see the downloaded movie.


Select the content you want to watch. We’re selecting the “Biggest Little Farm.”

Click Play to watch the movie.


Once you begin watching, you’ll have 48 hours to complete viewing the content before it’s erased from your hard drive. If you’ve purchased the content instead of renting it, you own it. You can watch it as long as you have an iTunes account. That’s all it takes to authorize a computer for Apple TV! Happy viewing!

Connecting your computer to your Apple TV is easy and can be done in just a few simple steps. Chase Thompson-Baugh from eHowTech walks us through the steps in the below video.

Summary Table

1Open Windows Start Menu
2Start iTunes
3Sign into iTunes
4Authorize This Computer
5Select Content Category
6Select Content
7Purchase the Media Content
8Download the Media Content
9Play the Content

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Apple TV free with Amazon Prime?

Nope. Apple TV is a pay-as-you-go a la carte platform. Amazon Prime is an entirely different application. With Apple TV, you can download free television program previews (Typically one episode per show per season.) You can also download any television program, series, or movie you purchase.

What do you get with Apple TV?

It depends on your desktop or laptop computer (not an iPad or iPhone.) You can download free preview content or download content you purchase—for example, First run movies, television series, individual television shows, television seasons, etc.

What is the difference between Apple TV+ and Apple TV?

Apple TV+ is a streaming service (laptop desktop perspective) that allows you to download Apple TV+ original content for viewing. Apple TV is a la carte service where you pay for the content you download for viewing.

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