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Today’s viral tweet highlights a somewhat frustrating limitation with the Apple TV software. After the latest software update, tvOS expects users to sign in to an iPhone or iPad to accept iCloud’s new terms and conditions or update their Apple ID settings.

While most people who use an Apple TV 4K box are deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem, this is not the case for everyone. Until recently, Apple TV could mostly be used on its own. It was supposed to be a standalone device, not an accessory. Not so much anymore. What’s more, these changes mean that Apple TV users who own Macs but don’t have individual iOS devices are also left in the dark.

Most of Apple TV can be used without access to other Apple hardware. You can set up Apple TV from scratch all by yourself, install apps, and make purchases. Typical Apple ID management duties can be performed from a PC web browser, sometimes as needed.

However, there are some tasks that seem more common than ever in tvOS 16 that Apple TV expects you to do on an iOS device signed in with the same account.

This viral tweet from @hugelgupf shows, perhaps, the clearest example. An iOS device is required to accept the new iCloud terms.

Instead of allowing users to read and accept the new terms on Apple TV on the TV itself, the box says you must use an iOS device to do so. Specifically, an iOS device running iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 or later.

In addition to people who don’t own any other Apple devices at all, the minimum OS requirement means that someone with a new Apple TV but an older generation iPad, for example, also remains blocked.

A similar message may appear asking customers to “update Apple ID settings” by holding their iPhone near the Apple TV.

In either case, these prompts can be temporarily overridden. But they often recur until they are dealt with. Some system functions may not be available until they are resolved. However, if you don’t have an iPhone or iPad handy that can run the latest version of the OS, there’s simply no way to do it.

Due to these obstacles, the Apple TV can no longer be considered a stand-alone device, even though a non-zero percentage of people have used it for many years by now.

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