Hey, I just brought my Apple TV 2 back from the living dead. After a botched firmware update all it did was flashing the white LED fast (about 3 times a second).
I followed the official reset instructions using the Apple remote but that didn’t help at all. Then I came across a few posts that said that by hooking up Apple TV 2 to a Mac using just a micro USB cable, you could actually restore it in iTunes. Those posts explicitly said that you have to disconnect HDMI and power and just plug in the USB cable.
I dug out a micro USB cable and connected it to my Mac. Shortly after, iTunes showed up with the restore screen for Apple TV 2. So far, so good.
But every time during the early stages of the update process, one of those error messages appeared.
The Apple TV could not be restored. An unknown error ocurred (2006)
The Apple TV could not be restored. An unknown error ocurred (1611)
The Apple TV could not be restored. An unknown error ocurred (1602)
The Apple TV could not be restored. An unknown error ocurred (2009)
It just didn’t work. I was already thinking about returning it back to Apple, when I had an idea. Maybe the power delivered by the Mac’s USB port isn’t enough for whatever goes on during the restore process? So I connected a power cable after (!) Apple TV 2 showed up as being restorable in iTunes and voilà, the restore went through without a hitch!
If your Apple TV 2 is stuck with a fast flashing LED and iTunes fails to restore it using a micro USB cable, just connect the power cable as well and the restore might get through.
Restore mode not showing up in iTunes
If Apple TV 2 doesn’t show up in iTunes after hooking it up to the Mac, you may have to set it to DFU mode first:
- Disconnect the HDMI, power and USB cables
- Wait for 10 seconds
- Reconnect the USB cable
- Immediately hold the menu and play buttons on the remote for 15 seconds
- Apple TV 2 should now start flashing the LED wildly and appear in iTunes with the restore button.
If it still doesn’t show up, maybe there’s something wrong with your cable. I was using a wiggly micro USB plug that needed some weight put on it in order to have a reliable connection.