BBC iPlayer app not working – How to fix (Mobile & Smart TV)

BBC iPlayer is a streaming service which provides users with free access to BBC’s catalogue of television shows, in addition to live streaming for those who want to watch live TV while on the move.

All you need to get access to the iPlayer app is an internet connection, an account and an active TV license.

Considering how big the BBC is, it goes without saying that the iPlayer app is massively popular with the UK population.

However, that doesn’t mean to say that it’s perfect – it does have form for going down sometimes, though you can still have issues if you cut cords too, as proven by the faults with the Now TV app.

BBC iPlayer not working – The quick fix

The most common reason for the BBC iPlayer app not working is to do with updates.

First of all, the issue could be to do with your device running on an old operating system.

An old operating system is likely to be full of bugs and software that might not be able to handle certain apps. Skip to here if iPlayer is not working on your TV.

However, to check if your iOS device is updated to the latest operating system you’ll need to navigate to the settings app which can usually be found on the home screen.

From there you need to select ‘General’ and then ‘Software Update’.

This will bring up a screen which will tell you whether there is an updated operating system that you can upgrade to.

It will also give you the option to turn on automatic updates which we would recommend selecting.

If your phone is updated then you need to check if the BBC iPlayer app itself is updated.

If you’re trying to run it on an old version then it’s no wonder that the app is struggling.

To make sure your phone automatically updates apps you need to head back to the settings app again and select ‘App Store’.

From here you need to tick the slide bar next to ‘App Updates’ which will ensure that BBC iPlayer never runs again on an obsolete version.

It’s worth noting that you will need a reasonable amount of spare storage space available when selecting automatic updates on your iOS device.

To check your storage go to the settings app, then ‘General’ and then ‘iPhone Storage’.

Then, you can delete all of your unused apps to ensure you have plenty of space available for unlimited automatic updates.

Force a reset

If you’ve updated your phone and the app then you can rule updates out as the reason for causing the BBC iPlayer app to stop working.

Your next port of call should be to force a reset of the app to see if that kicks it back into gear.

There are a few different ways to do this on an iOS device:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your home screen. This will bring up a display screen which shows all of the apps that your phone is currently running in the background. Find the BBC iPlayer tab in amongst them and swipe up on it – this is essentially closing the app down entirely. Now, reload the app and see if it helped.
  2. Hold down on the BBC iPlayer app icon on the home screen and select ‘remove app’ from the drop down menu that appears. Then go to the App Store and re-install it.
  3. Hold down the button on the right hand side of your iPhone at the same as one of the volume buttons. This will bring up a screen which will give you the option to shut your device down. Do that and then after 30 seconds or so press those same two buttons again to turn it back on.

Force resetting your device will clear all the temporary data the app has saved, which may resolve the problem.

A timing issue

If the BBC iPlayer app is still not working after performing updates and resets, then it will be getting close to the point where you should be considering contacting the BBC directly for support.

However, there is one more thing you can try which may seem like it’s come out of left field.

Your phone’s clock needs match with what time the BBC iPlayer app thinks it is.

99% of the time they will have the right time so it’s up to you to go to your settings and see if your time matches up with theirs.

To do this on an iOS device go to the settings app, select ‘General’ and then ‘Date and Time’.

Ensure your time Zone is set to London and that ‘Set Automatically’ is ticked.

BBC iPlayer not working on smart TV

Whilst having an issue with BBC iPlayer on your phone is relatively rare, it’s a little more common to have this issue with your smart TV.

This is a common issue with TV software, though fortunately there are a few things you can do.

Once you’ve checked your connectivity, you’ll also want to;

  • Check that the BBC iPlayer app has been updated to the most recent version of your device.
  • Clear the cache of the app on your device too.
  • Delete the BBC iPlayer app and then re-install it on their device.
  • If you’ve tried all of this to no effect, then go ahead and perform a factory reset on your device.

If you follow these instructions, you should be able to get BBC iPlayer working properly on your television again.


In this article we looked at some of the reasons why the BBC iPlayer app stops working and hopefully provided you with some easy and straightforward solutions to work through should the app ever fail on you.

The BBC iPlayer app not working isn’t an issue that should alarm you or resign you to never using the app again.

As seen in this article, there are many different reasons as to why the app does occasionally go down but the most common fixes aren’t time consuming in the slightest.

If the above suggestions don’t work then you can get check out the BBC’s list of known issues in relation to BBC iPlayer or contact their technical support team via live chat.

For more troubleshooting tips across a whole host of different apps, check out our other articles.

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Andy is a Professional Content Editor with expertise in a whole host of areas (or so he tells us anyway). His main interests are sports, tv/film and social media. He has reviewed over 100 apps so far for Apps UK.

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