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Video: Removing your Apple TV’s hard drive to recover media files

Video: Removing your Apple TV\'s hard drive to recover media files

Ever wonder how to dissect your Apple TV? This step by step video tutorial will walk you through the process. It also covers attaching the Apple TV hard drive to a Macintosh computer and recovering data from the drive to import back into iTunes.

Aside from the recently launched movie rentals library, the Apple TV is great for synchronizing media files such as music and videos from a networked computer running iTunes to your widescreen TV. But what happens if that networked computer craps out (from a dead hard drive, for example) and your data is lost forever? Luckily the Apple TV has a copy of everything still saved, which you can use to recover what you’ve lost.

To do so, you must remove the hard drive from the Apple TV, attach it to a Mac, and use the mounted drive to transfer the files back into iTunes. Check out our video tutorial to see exactly how this can be done:


Higher Quality iPod/iPhone Compatible Video Link:
Apple TV Hard Drive Removal and Media Recovery (m4v format)

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Tools / Parts Used:

  • Macintosh computer running Mac OS X and iTunes
  • Sharp prying object
  • T9 Torx screwdriver
  • T10 Torx screwdriver
  • Universal USB HDD Adapter

8 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Is possible to rescue the photos on the Apple TV to the Mac?

Yes, you can recover photos from the Apple TV as well. They are located in the media folder, which you can access once the hard drive is connected to a Mac.

This did not work for me!!! I followed the directions and saw the folder structure, but there was nothing in the folders. When I put it all back together, the apple tv was wiped clean. I don’t know what happened, but be careful trying this.

It sounds like your data was already gone before the drive was hooked up to your Mac. Did you apply an Apple TV update recently? Were you experiencing problems before this?

Is it possible to recover the photos on the Apple TV without taking it apart and attaching the USB HDD Adapter?

If you take apart the Apple TV (as in the video), what format are the photos in? Does the Apple TV store them in a lower res format like iPods do? Thanks…

Will this process work if you are recovering the data (pictures) to a windows based PC?

Unfortunately not… at least not easily. The Apple TV drive is formatted as HFS+, which is a Mac file system. You could use a program like MacDrive to read HFS+ drives on Windows, but I haven’t tried it with an Apple TV.