How To Get Episodes To Autoplay On Apple TV

Autoplay makes it easy to watch more videos consecutively without finding the remote for playback. How do you get Apple TV to autoplay?

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Can you make your Apple TV autoplay the next episode?

Getting Apple TV to start autoplay is as simple as adding the episodes you want to “Up Next.” Technically, this isn’t the autoplay most users are looking for, and we’ll go into more detail below about Up Next and why autoplay is different on Apple TV.

We’ve written about technology quite a bit, and enjoy explaining the small details that make finding settings and changing your electronics easier. We’ll dive into detail about changing the Apple TV autoplay setting and how things will work after the change.

Do I have to do anything else to get autoplay for Apple TV?

Apple TV is a little quirky when it comes to enabling automatic playing. In some cases, you’ll also have to add all the episodes or TV shows you want to watch to your “Up next” queue, which is normally used to display which show you told Apple you intended to play next.

Does this sound odd? Yes, it does compare to other services. 

We are saying that if you want to watch a whole season of a show like The Office, you have to first enable autoplay if you haven’t already, then add all the episodes you want to play to your Up Next smart playlist, then they should play until they are over.

Many other streaming services allow you to play a whole season and might ask you after a few episodes if you are still watching – but you can turn that off too.

The problem that many users have with the “Up next” system is that they have to manually add episodes to their playlist. 

While this doesn’t sound overly detrimental, there are situations where simply selecting the first episode in a series of 8 would the process a little easier.

Is there a limit to the number of episodes in “Up Next”?

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No, users haven’t found a documented or clear limit, which gives Up Next a small advantage: You could literally load your Up Next up with hours or even days of shows, which is a far greater limit than a single season of a show like other streaming services use. 

The biggest difference is having to manually add these shows.

Why is Apple TV set up this way?

Some users have reported odd issues with autoplay. People on Reddit have stated that they can play episodes continuously on a non-Apple device using the Apple TV app.

What this means is that they are using a standard high definition TV, and not a MacBook or other Apple device to play.

Believe it or not, it is entirely possible that Apple is responding to a different customer complaint when they make autoplay harder to access and use: People use streaming services to create background noise or to watch TV before going to sleep – I would know, I’ve done it too!

However, autoplay was designed for a couple of reasons: 

Reduce bandwidth use

Streaming 4K ultra high definition TV all day takes a lot of bandwidth, and not everyone has unlimited bandwidth on your cable bill. Continuing to watch a show for hours can readily easy up that bandwidth and result in unexpected surprises on your cable bill.

Sleep

Combined with reducing bandwidth use, some people definitely do fall asleep watching TV. The result is whole storylines and plots buzzing by that you’ll have to go back to later and reselect. 

Apple TV and other streaming services occasionally ask if you are still watching to make sure you aren’t both using too much bandwidth, or are aware of how long you’ve been watching.

User reports about Autoplay for Apple TV

Users who have Apple TV also say they have some other problems. Apple TV connects to other streaming platforms like Peacock, because the television content is originally owned by NBC.

It is possible that if you select a show that is also on Peacock, and you have a Peacock subscription that the show might play in the Peacock app instead of Apple TV. 

If autoplay doesn’t work, how else do I play the next episode?

You’ll want to either select the next episode from the last screen the current show is offering, or go all the way back to that show from the home page. 

People on Reddit have also reported a variety of weird ways to get autoplay like function, but they seem rather unreliable and scenario based. 

We are talking to the point where the users themselves are unclear about how they got something resembling autoplay to work. Since these methods aren’t 100%, we aren’t describing them because they wouldn’t make sense!

Unfortunately, the use of Up Next is indeed the closest thing Apple TV has to true autoplay that doesn’t require weird workarounds within the software.

What do most users want from autoplay?

Since people have complained about both how autoplay functions with Apple TV, and others have probably complained about excessive bandwidth here, we have an ideal scenario:

Apple should know how much data it has transferred through Apple TV in your system, per month. Rather than turning autoplay off to appeal to users who leaves theirs running and get big bills, why not offer a warning system about bandwidth capacity and let users decide when to enable autoplay? This is just my opinion. 

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video already have good systems that either turn off streaming after a period without interaction, or ask you if you want to continue watching. The only challenges posed here are that you need the remote for the TV to keep going.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple TV’s “Up Next” feature is the closest concept Apple has to autoplay, but you have to add the movies and shows you want to play manually
  • The settings in Apple TV do not work like other streaming services that allow continuous running of a show, then ask if you want to keep going
  • It’s commonly believed that Apple TV doesn’t do true autoplay because some users complained it takes up too much bandwidth