If you use your Apple TV to connect to an indoor training app like Zwift, you may struggle to connect all your sensors to it. It’s quite common to try to connect a heart rate monitor in addition to a cadence and a power sensor in order to get the best training experience. But what if your heart rate monitor doesn’t connect to the Apple TV?
Apple TV (including 2021 models) only allows two concurrent connections via Bluetooth. It means you can’t connect more than 2 sensors at the same time. Some apps like Zwift have a “remote” that allows you to connect extra sensors. Else you can disconnect the Apple remote to connect an extra sensor.
Let’s see in more detail what to do if your heart rate monitor (or another sensor) does not connect to your Apple TV. I will review the different indoor training apps that connect to Apple TV and how to deal with the “2 device connection limitation”.
How does Apple TV Bluetooth connection work?
Apple TV limits the Bluetooth connection to three concurrent connections: 1 for the Apple TV remote and 2 extra connections of your choice. So if you connect more than 2 extra devices, only 2 will be sending / receiving data.
This is why it is common to say that the Apple TV only allows 2 concurrent connections in Bluetooth, as the remote is always connected by default.
Another reason a heart rate monitor may not work is that it is ANT+ only and does not emit a Bluetooth signal. To solve this issue, you can read my dedicated article: How to connect Apple TV and iPhone to ANT+.
How to connect your heart rate monitor to the Apple TV?
Connecting your heart rate monitor (HRM) to the Apple TV when running Zwift is easy. Just use Zwift companion app on your phone and connect the HRM to it. The app will act as a bridge and transmit the HR data to Zwift. It will then be displayed on the Apple TV in-game.
You can download Zwift companion app here; it’s available on both iOS and Android. Once you launch Zwift on your Apple TV, then open Zwift Companion on your phone. Enable the Bluetooth transmission in the top right corner of the App. Then, on the Apple TV, on the Zwift pairing menu, you should see your heart rate monitor appear.
Make sure that your HRM is active: if it’s a strap you should be wearing it when trying to connect it to Zwift, else if you are recording the HR based on your Garmin watch or another watch, make sure that the watch is in broadcast HR mode.
How Zwift training plans work
With RGT Cycling
Connecting your heart rate monitor (HRM) to the Apple TV when running RGT Cycling is easy. Just use RGT Remote app on your phone and connect the HRM to it. The app will act as a bridge and transmit the HR data to RGT. It’s like Zwift companion app.
You can download RGT remote app here; it’s available for both iOS and Android.
Unlike Zwift and RGT cycling, Fulgaz does not have a remote app that enables to connect additional sensors via Bluetooth. If you run Fulgaz on Apple TV, then you are limited to 2 sensors. One solution is to disconnect your Apple TV remote to connect your HRM. Another is to buy a Wahoo Tickr X HRM.
More about the Wahoo Tickr X solution later in the article. And if you don’t know how to unpair your remote, then keep reading, I explain it all at the end.
Unlike Zwift and RGT cycling, Rouvy does not have a remote app that enables to connect additional sensors via Bluetooth. If you run Rouvy on Apple TV, then you are limited to 2 sensors. One solution is to disconnect the remote to connect your HRM. Another is to buy a Wahoo Tickr X HRM (more on this later).
If even by removing all other sensors, your heart monitor is not working, then that means you may have another problem. In this case, I recommend you read this dedicated article:
Using Wahoo Tickr X heart rate monitor with the Apple TV?
Wahoo Tickr X heart rate monitor has the ability to measure indoor cycling cadence as well as to measure your heart rate. Meaning it will transmit data over Bluetooth cadence and heart rate in one single connection. Perfect to go around Apple’s TV sensor connection limitation.
This is a good solution if you aren’t riding with a smart trainer. Most smart trainers will transmit cadence and power to the indoor cycling app via one single Bluetooth connection. So you are still ok to display your heart rate with the Apple TV because you won’t reach the limitation in concurrent connections.
But if your setup is using a dumb trainer which requires to have a separate cadence sensor and speed sensor to use an indoor cycling app, then you will definitely struggle with the Apple TV limitation if you wish to record your heart rate.
In this case, a solution is to use Wahoo Tickr X to display heart rate and cadence in one signal, rather than using another HR strap and a separate cadence sensor.
How to disconnect the Apple TV remote to connect your heart rate
We have seen earlier that the Apple TV allows only 2 concurrent Bluetooth connections, but actually it manages 3 connections when you consider the remote. So, in order to connect 3 sensors at the same time when cycling indoor with an Apple TV, a solution is to disconnect your remote.
The steps to disconnect the Apple TV remote are:
- Hold down ‘menu’ and ‘left arrow’ on the Apple TV remote for 6 seconds
- The message ‘unlink’ will appear on the TV above the remote icon
Just to be nice, you can find below the steps to reconnect your Apple TV remote once you have finished riding:
- Point the remote to the Apple TV (remain close to it)
- Press and hold ‘Menu’ and ‘Volume Up’ for 5 seconds
- Follow on-screen instructions if any (like put the remote on top of the Apple TV) to finalize pairing
- A message will confirm it is paired