5 min read

Differences Between Apple TV 2 and Apple TV 3

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
January 17, 2023
May 29, 2024

What are all the differences between the Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen. and Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen.? Should you buy the latest or keep the 2021 version? 

Apple has changed Apple TV 4K quite substantially between the 2nd and 3rd Gen. versions. Both would be safe picks for a state-of-the-art streaming device, but the latest version is still a king of the market. Although only 1 year apart, these two devices have some key differences to talk about. 

That doesn’t mean, though, that you should immediately throw away your Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen. and rush to buy the Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen. Do that only if you specifically need the ameliorated features of the 2022 versions. If not, then the 2021 one is still very much an awesome device packed with everything needed for a smooth performance. 

Let’s see what has changed and compare two streaming boxes. 

It’s all in the processor

Apple keeps powering up the Apple TV 4K and celebrates 2022 by giving Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen. their brand new Apple A15 Bionic chip. That’s quite a step from Apple A12 Bionic from the previous version. But that’s not a surprise for those following the company’s moves regarding Apple TV devices. Each new version always got a new processor and the upgrade in 2022 was not an exception. 

That being said, Apple A12 Bionic still pretty much flies and has video codec encoding support for HEVC and H.264. The Apple A15 Bionic now has 5-core GPU and 5-core CPU support so it’s the best you can get at the moment. 

Connectivity doesn’t change

Apple can’t really do much when it comes to connectivity. There’s simply every feature you want in Apple TV 4K and it’s enough for the market at the moment. Both boxes have Ethernet and IR Receiver support as well as Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0 networking. 

However, in the 2022 version, Apple introduces HDMI 2.1 (the previous generation has HDMI 2.0). That means better performance with video and better speed which can be very important if you’re using Apple TV as a digital signage device. So in this regard, it pays off to upgrade to Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen. 

HDMI 2.1 is a new standard, and those who work with video extensively need to keep up with it. 

Size matters

One of the most drastic changes came in the storage department. The 2022 version now features 64GB / 128GB devices while the 2021 had only 32GB / 64GB. That’s quite a substantial transformation that can give power users reasons to buy the newer device. More space means more content freedom and better performance overall. 

128GB especially is quite a bold move from the company and a double from the previous version. It’s just great to have more storage and it’s nice that the company changes the device accordingly. 

Other differences between Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen. and Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen.

The Siri Remote got upgraded from version 2 to 3. The main difference is now in the way it is charged. The 3rd version uses USB-C instead of Lightning so keep that in mind. The remote has Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology. 

Also, the Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen. changed its appearance. The weight and dimensions were reduced and it’s now 3.66 x 3.66 x 1.2 instead of 2021’s 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4. Otherwise, you’re still getting a slick, cool-looking box that sports a trademark Apple’s minimalism. The weight decreased from 15 oz of Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen. to just 7.3 oz (Wi-Fi version); 7.5 oz (Wi-Fi + Ethernet version). 

The common points include the maximum resolution of 4K in both devices, and the support of Dolby 5.1, Dolby 7.1, Dolby Atmos, and HDR10. 

So should you choose Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen. over Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen.? 

If you’re a home user and don’t need Apple TV to perform enterprise-level tasks and run CPU-heavy digital signage content broadcasts, you’re completely fine with Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen. Its offer still stays strong and the main features like 4K streaming, HDR10 support, and smooth performance are there. 

However, if you’re looking to buy a new device, we’d suggest opting for the latest version. You will simply get the best that’s available on the market at the moment. 

The same goes for Apple TV as a digital signage device. It’s advised to purchase Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen. as the specs there are meatier and you’re getting yourself an immensely powerful streaming box.

Here’s the comparison chart

For a more visual representation, here’s the comparison chart of Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen. and Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen. models.

 3rd Gen. Apple TV 4K2nd Gen. Apple TV 4KRelease Year20222021ProcessorApple A15 BionicApple A12 BionicStorage64GB / 128GB32GB / 64GBMaximum Video Resolution2160p2160pInterfacesHDMI 2.1, Ethernet, IR ReceiverHDMI 2.0, Ethernet, IR ReceiverNetworking Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0USBNoNoRemoteSiri Remote 3Siri Remote 2Weight7.3 oz (Wi-Fi); 7.5 oz (Wi-Fi + Ethernet)15 ozSize (inches)3.66 x 3.66 x 1.23.9 x 3.9 x 1.4

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