The independently folded appendages of the large α and β2 subunits of the endocytic adaptor protein (AP)-2 complex coordinate proper assembly and operation of endocytic components during clathrin-mediated endocytosis. The β2 subunit appendage contains a common binding site for β-arrestin or the autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia (ARH) protein. To determine the importance of this interaction surface in living cells, we used small interfering RNA-based gene silencing. The effect of extinguishing β2 subunit expression on the internalization of transferrin is considerably weaker than an AP-2 α subunit knockdown. We show the mild sorting defect is due to fortuitous substitution of the β2 chain with the closely related endogenous β1 subunit of the AP-1 adaptor complex. Simultaneous silencing of both β1 and β2 subunit transcripts recapitulates the strong α subunit RNA interference (RNAi) phenotype and results in loss of ARH from endocytic clathrin coats. An RNAi-insensitive β2-yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) expressed in the β1 + β2-silenced background restores cellular AP-2 levels, robust transferrin internalization, and ARH colocalization with cell surface clathrin. The importance of the β appendage platform subdomain over clathrin for precise deposition of ARH at clathrin assembly zones is revealed by a β2-YFP with a disrupted ARH binding interface, which does not restore ARH colocalization with clathrin. We also show a β-arrestin 1 mutant, which engages coated structures in the absence of any G protein-coupled receptor stimulation, colocalizes with β2-YFP and clathrin even in the absence of an operational clathrin binding sequence. These findings argue against ARH and β-arrestin binding to a site upon the β2 appendage platform that is later obstructed by polymerized clathrin. We conclude that ARH and β-arrestin depend on a privileged β2 appendage site for proper cargo recruitment to clathrin bud sites.