You’re watching “Game of Thrones” on your Apple TV. You know the drill: some form of scene-setting here, a bit of expository talk there, and various plot-driving sequences in between. Then comes the climax: a sudden explosion signaling an ambush on a ship, a clash of swords between warring factions, or a fierce roaring from a fire-breathing dragon. In any case, the next sound you hear is not something from the show. Rather, it’s that of your kid crying, who has just been awoken from her deep slumber by the loud audio coming from your Apple TV.
Full audio for you, the sound of silence for others
What you need so as not to disturb the other people in the room
The preceding scenario raises the question, “Why are you watching a series that’s not at all known for child-friendly content in front of your kid, asleep or not?” And also, “Why aren’t you using headphones?” I’ll leave you to mull over the intricacies and repercussions of the former question at a later time. For now, let’s address the latter — and, frankly, more important — question.
Unlike with a mobile device or a computer, content on TV is meant to be consumed with the volume up. But this often leads to disturbing issues ...
Of course, if you’re watching shows or listening to songs or playing games on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, it’s extremely easy to just plug in your EarPods so that you and you alone can hear the sounds from your device. It’s in the case of the Apple TV where the matter gets a bit complicated. Unlike with a mobile device or a computer, content on TV is meant to be consumed with the volume up. But this often leads to disturbing issues — and by “disturbing” I mean causing interruption of the sleep, relaxation, or privacy of other people nearby, such as a roommate who’s studying, a spouse who’s reading, or a baby who’s napping.
So what can you do? Well, with the Apple TV, a far more elegant, not to mention wireless, solution lies in its support for Bluetooth headphones.
Connecting your Apple TV with your Bluetooth headphones
It's a pair to remember
The fourth-generation Apple TV comes equipped with support for Bluetooth for short-range wireless interconnection with different accessories. These include the Apple TV Remote aka Siri Remote, hardware keyboards, game controllers, external speakers, and, of course, Bluetooth headphones.
If you have a pair of compatible Bluetooth headphones, here’s how you can pair and start using it with your Apple TV.
Put your Bluetooth headphones in pairing mode so that they can be detected by your Apple TV.
If necessary, consult your headphones’ manual for specific instructions on how to make them discoverable by other Bluetooth devices.
On your Apple TV, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth.
Select your Bluetooth headphones from the list of devices detected by your Apple TV under “Other Devices.”
You may be prompted to enter a PIN or pairing passkey.
Upon completion of the pairing process, your Bluetooth headphones should appear under “My Devices.”
Now that your Apple TV is paired with your Bluetooth headphones, you can toggle between the TV speakers and the wireless headphones by swiping down on the Siri Remote and navigating to the audio options during playback.
If you wish to revert to being able to play audio through the TV speakers only, you can easily unpair your Bluetooth headphones. On your Apple TV, just go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth, select your headphones, and then choosing “Forget Device.”
Find out how to set up other Bluetooth accessories for use with your Apple TV
Connecting your Apple TV with two pairs of headphones
Is that even possible?
Using Bluetooth headphones with your Apple TV is not without its downside, though. For one thing, the fourth-generation Apple TV can connect with only one Bluetooth audio accessory at a time. In other words, it can’t support two or more pairs of Bluetooth headphones at once. This means that if you connect a second pair of headphones, the first one will get disconnected.
How can you enjoy your Apple TV with two pairs of Bluetooth headphones but without running the risk of disturbing the other people in the room?
What, then, if you want to watch shows, listen to songs, or play games on your Apple TV with someone else at high volume, but still without running the risk of disturbing the other people in the room? In other words, how can you enjoy your Apple TV with two pairs of Bluetooth headphones?
There are so-called splitters that transmit audio to two sets of Bluetooth receivers such as headphones, but the problem with them is that they rely on the headphone jack, which doesn’t exist on the Apple TV. The only additional port available on the Apple TV is a USB-C port, but our search for USB-C Bluetooth splitters has proved to be a futile attempt.
Learn more about the Apple TV's USB-C port
But there’s hope for us yet. In doing our research, we’ve thought of an idea that we haven’t tested yet, although we’ve already ordered the necessary parts. Here’s the idea:
That’s it. It’s probably a long shot, but we’ll update this post with the results next week. So, stay tuned.