Apple 4k TV says out of bluetooth connections

First few Zwift rides my Apple TV was able to connect to speed, cadence, and tickr him. Today it would only connect to two of the three. I was able to connect the third using the companion app on my iPhone, but would like to resolve the problem with the number of bluetooth connections on the Apple TV. Nothing else was open or connected to the apple tv.


The apple tv has only 3 bluetooth channels. One is taken by the remote, so there are only 2 channels available for sensors. After 2 sensors are paired through the apple tv, additional sensors have to pair through the companion app. It’s odd that you were able to get 3 sensors paired before.

So I did not use the companion app at all the first half of the first ride and had date for speed, cadence, and hr. All three sensors were showing connected also. But, I was not using the app remote because the battery was dead. I was using my phone which connects with wifi.

Tonight when I had the problem, the Apple TV remote was plugged in and charging. So, perhaps while charging, it connected to the Apple TV and used one of the bluetooth channels.

My understanding is that the remote whether connected or not has the bluetooth slot/channel reserved. Thus, you can only connect two other devices regardless of the state of the remote.

I suppose one could test this by taking the remote out of range and then seeing if you can connect a third device. If you can connect a third device, you can always use the iPhone remote app to control the AppleTV.

I don’t have a need for a third device, but maybe I’ll test this out of curiosity tonight.

FWIW: From what I’ve heard, the limit of 3 BTLE slots is not limited by hardware but a software limitation.

I have no clue why they would impose that kind of limitation.

I completely disconnected the remote and still get that error. I don’t see any devices connected via the Settings menu on the Apple TV but Zwift app stiill tells me I maxed out at 2.
So I am not sure if it’s the code in Zwift that has it hardcoded to two or indeed Apple TV has reserved one channel for the remote

FWIW - I just bought the Apple 4K TV this week and was able to pair my KICKR (a fairly old model), a Wahoo Cadence sensor and a generic BT HR monitor and it worked like a charm (of course, your results may vary…). I wonder if Apple has lifted the BT channel limit?

Is it possible that the Wahoo Cadence sensor connected IS your KICKR trainer? One of their recent firmware updates added cadence to the values transmitted by the trainer, meaning that power and cadence would only use one BT channel, thereby leaving the other one open for your HRM. I’m not sure if this is the case in your situation, but wanted to be sure we are clear on this because being able to connect 3 BT devices outside of the remote would be an interesting development, indeed.

I wonder… Any ideas on how I could test for this? I suppose I might try to connect my BT earpods before starting Zwift, then add my Kickr. If the two-channel limit stands, I wouldn’t be able to connect the HR strap, right? I’ll give it a try, but am open to other protocols as well.

The cadence feature was only added to current Kickr models, not older ones.

Any chance you had the Zwift companion app open? Maybe it was bridging the BTLE connection?

As far as I know, the BTLE device limit has not been changed by Apple.

No, I specifically turned the phone off (and the Companion app was not open) for that reason during the first half of my ride.

I’m going back down into the cave this afternoon and will let you know what I find.

Hi John.
Did you find a solution to this issue ?

Here’s my working hypothesis: my Wahoo! Kickr began to fail in late 2018, and I was waaaay beyond the warranty date. However, Wahoo! support offered me a credit to use toward a “Certified Refurbished” Kickr that was supposed to be for the same model and year as my failed device. I took advantage of that offer and I suspect that, while the refurb looked like my failed unit, it was actually a more recent edition and that it was able to get the firmware update enabling the Kickr to provide the cadence. When I connect today, Zwift reports the source of the cadence as Kickr (although it recognizes the cadence source a handful of seconds after it recognizes the Kickr as the power/smart trainer source). So I don’t believe Apple has added more BT channels to the Apple 4K TV :frowning:

Apple has not changed the number of allowed Bluetooth connections/devices to the Apple TV. It is still 2 devices in addition to the remote.

If you are seeing Kickr cadence, that is being sent on the same connection along with power.

Only Kickr4 (2018) and later support cadence. The first 3gen (14, 16, 17) do not.

1 Like

There is another thread in the forum now explaining Zwift have changed the way ZC now connects. You can connect by BT either via ATV OR ZC now, not by both which was giving many a 2+1 solution to connections.
General consensus is that this is a step backwards and very unwelcome. People want the stability of the atv connections and the option to add the 3rd sensor, albeit with the ZC workaround.

1 Like

Yes Zwift made a change, not Apple.

Personally, while I have never needed to use the Companion app for pairing, I too think the new implementation appears to be a step backwards as well. However, I imagine there has to be a good reason for the change (e.g., overall stability, configuration simplicity, etc…) :thinking:

1 Like