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Apple TV Looks Washed Out (Causes and How to Fix)

As an Apple TV owner, I’ve been frustrated with the issue of my TV screen looking washed out. After a bit of research and testing, I’m here to share what I learned and how I solved the problem, as well as other solutions I discovered. In this blog post, I will discuss the various causes of this issue and how to fix it. So if you’re also experiencing the same issue, hopefully this post can help you out.

Usually, an imbalanced color setting, faulty HDMI cable, and outdated software are the most common causes of a faded color on your Apple TV.

IssueCause / Solution
Incompatible HDRReset Video Settings on your Apple TV by selecting SDR if your TV doesn’t support HDR.
Defective HDMI CableCheck for loose connections, unplug and replug, or replace the HDMI cable if necessary.
Outdated SoftwareUpdate the Apple TV software through the System Menu in Settings.
Incorrect HDMI OutputGo to Settings, select HDMI Output on the Video and Audio menu, and choose the ‘YCbCr’ color setting.
Improper Color CalibrationUse Apple TV’s Color Balance tool with your iPhone to adjust the color calibration automatically.
Restart Apple TVUnplug and replug the device, or use the Settings menu or Siri Remote to restart the Apple TV.
Fix AppsUninstall and reinstall streaming apps or force close them.

Why Does My Apple TV Look Washed Out?

Like Amazon’s Fire TV or Roku, an Apple TV box is one of the modern appliances you can add to your living room to make the best out of your small or large TV screens. It has a simple interface and navigation. Therefore, it’s user-friendly.

But, some users may encounter color issues from time to time. Lucky for you, here are the causes of a mute-colored or washed-out Apple TV and their possible fixes:

Incompatible HDR

Apple TV enables you to watch your favorite TV shows with a high-quality experience using 4K High Dynamic Range or HDR.

Yet, not all TV screens support HDR. In this case, it can result in washed-out colors. If you don’t have an HDR screen, you can reset the Video Setting on your Apple TV by selecting SDR. 

Defective HDMI Cable

An HDMI cable connects an Apple TV box to a traditional TV. Hence, if it’s faulty or loose, it might cause the colors to look flat or over-saturated. Moreover, you have to check if the HDMI cable is loose. If so, then unplug the cable for a few seconds, then plug it back in.

If the same issue occurs again, you might have to replace your HDMI cable with a new one.

Outdated Software

Another reason that your Apple TV looks faded is because of its software. You can check if your software is up to date by going to the System Menu on your Settings. If your software is outdated, a new update will be available.

Select download and install. It might take a few minutes to download the software, so make sure your Apple TV stays plugged in. 

Once the download is complete, it will automatically be installed; then, the TV will restart. 

Incorrect HDMI Output

If your TV’s color looks off, it might be an incorrect HDMI output. To fix this, you can go to your Settings and select HDMI Output on the Video and Audio menu.

Make sure to choose the ‘YCbCr’ color setting, as it’s the most recommended television setting.

Improper Color Calibration

While you can try to tweak your TV’s built-in picture mode preset, you’ll find that it’s incredibly hard. It can look right at first, but on other TV shows, it will look odd or distorted. This can lead to constant fiddling with your TV’s preset. 

Alternatively, you can correct your TV’s calibration by using Apple TV’s Color Balance tool, which utilizes the sensors of your iPhone to adjust the colors of your TV screen. You just have to make sure that your iPhone is nearby while you open Video and Audio Settings on your Apple TV.

Then, the Color Balance tool will pop up on your phone after you select it. Next, hold your iPhone at level with your TV and ensure that it’s facing the TV screen. 

Once you do that, simply wait for the Color Balance tool to adjust the color calibration automatically. 

Read more: Apple TV is buggy

What Other Easy Fixes Can You Try for Your Washed Out Apple TV Color?

If you’ve ruled out the possible fixes mentioned above, here are two more options you can try out:

Restart Apple TV

For an easy fix, try restarting your Apple TV first. You can unplug your Apple TV from the power outlet, then plug it back in after 5 seconds. You can also go to your Apple TV’s Settings menu, open System, then select restart.

Also, you can use your Siri Remote instead. Just press and hold the ‘back’ or ‘menu’ option together with the TV button on your remote, then wait until the light flickers off. 

Fix Apps

Uninstall and reinstall streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix, or Hulu. Alternatively, you can also force close the apps. 

Read more: Apple TV remote lagging

Wrapping Up

If you tried all the fixes above without getting any results, reaching out to repair professionals or booking a repair request in Apple Support is your last and best option.

There you have it! A complete guide for when your Apple TV looks washed out.