Your video changed format without knowing why and part of your video is cut? You can switch from full screen mode to 16: 9 or 4: 3 format from the remote control of the Apple tv. Sometimes unintentionally.


Letterbox mode in general

Letterbox mode is having black bands at the top and bottom of your video. This is reminiscent of the slot of a “letterbox”, of a “letterbox”.

The objective is not to distort the media while adapting to the dimensions of the different screens. If all the videos took up the whole screen no matter the video and screen, you will have distorted or cut video.

On Apple TV, you will be able to switch between full screen and 16/9 or 3/4 format depending on the video and the size of your screen. Indeed, the formats of videos, like screens, have varied over time.

copy screen size

To view the formats of a media, you can go to, Internet Movie Database, the Internet movie database.

  • go to the IMDb site ;
  • search and select the desired medium (film or even series and episode);

Note : for a series, do not hesitate to select a specific episode, especially for series which may have evolved during their seasons.

  • click on More above your content sheet;


  • in “Details”, click on Technical Specs ;


  • read the line Aspect Ratio.

imdb spec technic

Here 1.33 is from 12/16.

Note : note that 3/4 = 0.75 and 16/9 = 1.78.

Switch from full screen to 16: 9 aspect ratio on Apple TV

The process is very simple. To switch from full screen to 16/9 or 3/4 format you just need the remote control that comes with Apple TV.

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You have to double tap the touch part to switch from one to the other.

And that’s all !

apple tv remote

Unfortunately, there are 2 big drawbacks. Compatibility of applications and the remote on the iPhone.

This functionality is not possible with any media. As you can probably imagine, it’s all a matter of compatibility. For having tried TV, VLC, Wakanim, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, only Prime Video and TV are compatible with this feature. For the time being.

This is not at all possible with the remote on your iPhone. On the tactile part of the physical remote, there is a difference between a click and a tap. Impossible thing on iPhone. This is equivalent to one click. So when you press the “touch” part of the app, it will pause or play.

iphone remote apple tv

What about other devices?

The compatibility of this feature is much more present on iDevices. The manipulation to be done on your iPhone or iPad to switch from full screen to 16/9 or 3/4 format will depend on the application.

The iPhone or iPad must absolutely be in landscape.

Some applications directly have a button to adjust the display, the video format. To this can accumulate gestures.

The 2 main actions to perform depending on the application:

  • double tap like on VLC or TV;
  • a pinch, the same gesture to zoom in or out, as on Netflix.

The key is to be careful not to activate other features of the application such as play / pause or go forward and backward.

aspect ratio

You now know how to change the format.

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