Take a look at the ports on the back of an Apple TV 4K. You’ll see a power port, an HDMI port and an ethernet port. But you probably won’t be able to spot the hidden Lightning port.
There is, in fact, a Lightning port tucked away inside the Apple TV 4K’s Ethernet port. But it’s obviously not meant to be used by consumers — and it probably doesn’t do much unless you have specialized hardware.
The hidden port was first spotted by Apple TV hardware and software tinkerer Kevin Bradley. He apparently discovered the secretive port after reviewing iFixit’s 2017 teardown of the device and noticing solder joints on its logic board.
He added that “none of us looked THAT closely to the hardware of the Apple TV 4K and the magic locked in the ethernet port until fairly recently.”
Another Twitter user, Steven Barker, revealed that the Lightning port is actually cleverly hidden behind a sliding slat at the very back of the ethernet port.
Sliding this small door up actually exposes the pins of the Lightning port, but it does seem to require a special connector to actually plug into.
As far as what the Lightning port actually does or what it could mean for users, that’s currently unclear.
While Bradley theorizes that the port could be used to access the Apple TV’s firmware and help develop a jailbreak, he adds that the “barrier for entry might be way too high.”
App developer Steve Troughton-Smith, for his part, pointed out that the hidden port is likely used by Apple staff and technicians for debugging or diagnostic purposes.
While current Apple TV models only have an HDMI and ethernet port, past variations have had USB, Micro USB and USB-C ports — the latter standard used for “service and support.”
This is also isn’t the first time that users have discovered a hidden port or connector on an Apple device. Back in 2015, TechCrunch reported that the Apple Watch actually has a hidden diagnostic connector in the groove where users slide in watch bands.
Despite the discovery, arguably the weirdest part of this story is the fact that iFixit — known for spotting the tiniest details in Apple hardware — somehow missed this feature during its teardown two years ago.