Apple TV device in black and white

Can I Turn Off Apple TV WiFi?

If you ask the question about disabling Apple TV WiFi on the Apple forums, you’ll get blasted by all the rude and disrespectful commenters who think WiFi sensitivity is BS.

If you’d like to avoid the hostility and frustration of people telling you that it’s all in your heard, I wrote this brief article for you.

Faulty Initial Research

When I first purchased the Apple TV for our home, I was not interested in adding another WiFi enabled device to our home. In fact, I was very opposed to the idea of bringing in additional signals to our home. But my incomplete research at the time led me to conclude that because the Apple TV has an ethernet port and one person in one forum said it was possible to disable the WiFi in the settings, I made the decision to purchase Apple TV.

Several months after purchase, we made the decision to eliminate WiFi entirely again. This was our first time to live in a two-story home that is not wired for ethernet ports, so we’d been using WiFi during the daylight hours to power our home business.

We plugged ethernet cables back into the Apple AirPort Extreme router and disabled the WiFi. We used a separate ethernet cable to connect Apple TV to the AirPort Extreme. Using ethernet cables, we get all the functionality of Apple TV except AirPlay, which allows you to mirror your laptop, phone, or iPad screen on the television.

The only other functionality I know we lost is the Apple Remote app for either iPad and iPhone. It WAS really convenient to use my iPhone as the Apple TV remote instead of the provided remote, because I could use the onscreen QWERTY keyboard to type keywords into search and also for password entry.

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It is in convenient to click one letter or symbol at a time using the included Apple TV remote. But that’s a small price to pay for feeling better in my own home.

But does ethernet connectivity actually disable WiFi?

I searched and searched online, and could not find the answer. So I hopped onto my Apple Support app for iPhone and reached out to the Apple team to ask the question. I spoke with a Tier 3 Support Specialist and he informed me that even at his level, which is the highest level short of the Engineering team, that they don’t have that information.

He did note that he wears an insulin delivery device that cannot function in the presence of WiFi. He is unable to go to airports and other locations constantly emitting WiFi or his device will stop working. Given this limitation, he informed me that he is still able to use Apple TV wired for ethernet without difficulty.

Apple TV Auto-Disables WiFi When Ethernet is Active

After putting me on another hold, he came back on the phone and informed me that his friend in the Engineering department gave him more detailed information.

According to his contact in Engineering, Apple TV does indeed shut down the WiFi emitting signal automatically once successful ethernet transmission is engaged. But it’s not the simple act of plugging in the cable. The Apple TV has to receive a strong signal through the cable.

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If your home ( and Apple TV) loses signal from cable/satellite company, with a Cat-5, Cat-6, or Cat-7 ethernet cable, then the Apple TV automatically kicks back on the WiFi and produces a signal in attempt to reconnect. So if your cable internet connection goes dead, your Apple TV (and your router as well) will search for WiFi signal.

How does this affect my use of Apple TV at home?

For our family, it means that if our cable internet goes out, we’ll be unplugging the power to our router and our Apple TV so that they don’t kick on WiFi automatically in search of a signal. We’ll plug it back in every half hour or hour as needed to re-check for wired internet signal.

I was also informed that BlueTooth operates on the same exact frequency as WiFi, but its signal travels a much shorter distance. Because of this, I feel compelled to research the difference between WiFi and BlueTooth more in depth, as I obviously don’t want to fool myself into believing I’m doing an okay job at reducing exposure when in truth I’m not.

On the flip side, even if BlueTooth IS as harmful as WiFi, by ensuring that the WiFi signal is turned off we have reduced the strength of signals the Apple TV produces by 50%. We each have to assess our homes and families and choose what level of preparation and prevention to deploy.

 

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting. It appears we have had a similar experience.

    We’ve also removed all WiFi from our household. We are quite prudent when it comes to introducing WiFi emitting devices as we’ed like to keep WiFi and wireless radiation levels to ZERO within our household. We have a direct cable Modem with no routing, and a hardwired DLink Gigabit Switch WITHOUT a wireless function. The TV is HDMI only, and Ethernet is routed through the house. There is NO NEED to have a wireless device in our household so we refuse to introduce wireless or start using it.
    Then we got an Apple TV… :( – It’s Gen 3 – A1469, and now we have WiFi pollution in my house – in close proximity to my children, and no one of any repute seems to be able to answer a simple question: How Do You Turn Off WiFi on Apple Devices – a Gen 3 A1469 Apple TV.

    If you ask the simple straight forward question, ‘how to turn off wireless function on Apple TV’ in a forum you are instantly BLASTED and FLAMED by all the trolls who seem to take it as their god given right to shame and humiliate someone for this simple question.

    Do you know how to turn off Apple TV Wireless Function?

     
    • Peter, I spent a lot of time on the phone with Apple Support to get this question answered. What I was told is that my Apple TV (which is the Apple TV 4K) will not send a wifi signal if I am connected to the router via ethernet cable. I have not tested the device yet with a meter, but an Apple representative who spoke to someone in a higher up department that I can’t access said that the WiFi signal from Apple TV automatically turns on/off based on access to ethernet connection. So if the ethernet is connected and functional, the Apple TV WiFi is off.

      But if the cable internet access goes down and the Apple TV is plugged in, it will kick on the WiFi mode in an attempt to find a signal to continue service. So whenever we need to unplug the ethernet cable for another device (our kids use an iPad connected to ethernet occasionally), we also unplug the Apple TV power cord so that it does not kick into WiFi mode.

      Again, I am only relaying what I was told, so I cannot guarantee this information is accurate.

       

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