August 11, 2022

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Recurring issue of Apple TV Audio Drop continues after the latest tvOS 15.5.1 update

Apple recently released the fifth major update to its tvOS operating system which was first launched in September 2021 along with iOS 15, iPad OS 15, and watchOS 8. tvOS 15.5 was an update to the previously launched, ios 15.4 that is known to have brought up support for captive WiFi networks. As is the case, any major update rollout always fixes a few pestering bugs, releases enhancements and injects issues. The issue of Apple TV Audio Drops has become more of a be a recurring ATV Atmos issue/Dolby Atmos Audio issue.

Many users are complaining about the Dolby Atmos issue across ‌Apple TV‌ apps, however, on deep scanning of the complaints, much of them are being reported by users on the Netflix app. Users found no such dropouts on other streaming platforms like Disney+. Apple released tvOS 15.5.1 by end of May and the update has still not addressed the issue for everyone. Another patch tvOS16 dev beta is also out. Hopefully, it gets the issue a permanent fix.

Apple developed tvOS as an operating system for the second generation and later Apple TV digital media player. It is built on the same iOS operating system that powers most of its accessories. It was first introduced in September 2021.

What is the Apple TV Audio Drop Issue?

After updating to the latest update of tvOS, users have been complaining that there have been audio dropouts while playing content on streaming apps like Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video etc. Many have reported this on the Apple Support forum started in September 2021, subreddits, and social media sites like Twitter.

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According to a thread on MacRumors, users have reported this issue.

"I watched a movie on Netflix today that was in Dolby Vision and Atmos. I started getting drop out every 5 minutes or so that would last for 5-10 seconds. When they happened I rewound the movie by 10 seconds each time and hit play. The sections that dropped section would play after doing this. This went on for about 20 minutes. I probably should have given up but after doing that for 20 minutes the dropouts stopped. I was able to watch the rest of the movie with no dropouts. FWIW." - Gator5000e

The Apple TV audio drops issue causes audio to drop out after a certain period of time and the loop continues to repeat, making it harder to watch and enjoy shows. This issue has been reportedly causing audio dropouts on Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video, etc.

Does the tvOS 15.5 update fix the Apple TV audio drop issue?

After updating to the tvOS 15.5 released in May, users have been facing sound delays or audio dropouts while streaming shows on OTT platforms. As shared by the users, they have been terrified after the update. The devs have taken this bug seriously and fixed the Apple TV audio drop issue in the recent patch.

Apple in its release notes on tvOS 15.5.1 for Apple TV and HomePod clearly states that “update addresses an issue where music could stop playing after a short time.” However, the feedback coming in after the update is mixed. Soem are complaining that it’s 10 times worse on their system. It has become essentially unwatchable due to all the frequent drops, until Dolby Atmos is turned off.

tvOS 15.5 dropped, although I am not optimistic for any fixes.

So, experienced something odd the other day. Was watching some Netflix content the other night (DV/DA, though I have Atmos disabled in the ATV so I’m not bothered with the popping), and was getting these brief video stutters (have seen this before, frequently in fact). But, this time also noticed some video “sparkles” you would traditionally associate with an HDMI/cable issue. What surprised me was that doing a hard reboot on the ATV (no other devices restarted) seemed to resolve it. My expectation lately has been that the ATV will get a little sloppy in performance over a period of many sleep cycles, but I was surprised that it would degrade the HDMI in such a way until a hard reboot.

Robert D

Is there a workaround to frequent Apple TV audio drop?

There have been a few tried and tested workarounds for those who are still facing the Apple TV audio drop aka Dolby Atmos issue even after the latest tvOS 15.5.1 update.

For some turning off Dolby Atmos in the audio settings has fixed the Dolby Atmos issue and for the majority disabling Dolby Atmos has solved the annoying issues. One can try Nvidia Shield. No dropouts have been reported but it is not a permanent workaround.

No one would like to turn off Dolby Audio to avoid audio dropouts with a streaming device that’s as expensive as the ATV 4K.

How to update to the latest update that fixes the Apple TV audio drop?

You may update your Apple TV to tvOS 15.5.1 by going to Settings and then selecting Software Update. The update is still being rolled out, so you may not notice it right away. tvOS 15.5.1 is only available to users who have the public release of tvOS 15.5, not to those who have the tvOS 15.6 beta.

Meanwhile, HomePod customers can update their smart speaker to tvOS 15.5.1 (referred to as HomePod Software Version 15.5.1) by going to the Home app and selecting your HomePod mini from the device list.

Summing It Up

Though Apple acknowledged the TV audio drop issue and provided the fix with tvOS 15.5.1 update. However, if you continue to face a bug or glitch, please let us know in the comments section.