How to Change Apple TV Home Button Behavior

When Home isn't Home

Find What You Want With the TV App. Apple

Apple’s new TV app will eventually become your first destination whenever you are looking for something new to watch, providing you with an easy way to access shows from every provider and every app you already use.

With an extremely approachable and highly visual user interface the potential of the TV app is great, but with only a handful of broadcasters and the lack of Netflix or Amazon Prime, it isn’t quite there yet. (Though Apple's curated collections of news and sports shows shows a great deal of promise).

Apple wants it to be, and in a triumph of enthusiasm, it quietly changed a significant Home button behavior in tvOS 10.1 for US users. (International users aren’t yet affected by this change as Apple had not shipped the TV app worldwide at time of writing).

You see, while until now when you press Home your Apple TV takes you Home, the button’s new default behavior is to transport you directly into the Up Next view within the new TV app. In order to get to the Home screen, you need to press the Home button twice.

That’s great if you use the Apple TV app frequently or perhaps have a cable provider who provides you with a good range of channels via your Apple TV and Single Sign On, but not especially useful otherwise. The good news is that you can train your Home button to do what it was originally intended to do – and you can easily reverse these steps to get the new behavior back, once the channels made available to you become more appealing. You just need to follow these simple instructions:

How to Train Your Home Button

  • Open Settings on your Apple TV
  • Select Remotes and Devices
  • Select the new Home Button item (this appears between Touch Surface Tracking and Remote at the top of the right-hand list).
  • If you’ve just installed tvOS 10.1 you’ll find it is set to return you to your TV app.
  • Tap the Home button item once to toggle the button to default back to Home screen. (If you want your Home button to take to the Up Next view in the TV app you can toggle this behavior back using the same toggle).

Once you have corrected Home button behavior in this way you will find that a single press on the button will return you to the Home screen, while a second press should take you straight to Up Next in the new TV app.

What next?

Apple is rapidly improving its TV app. Just five US cable, satellite and digital TV providers supported Single Sign-On when Apple first confirmed plans to launch the service, but this is changing fast. At the time of writing, ten such providers and over 21 pay-TV apps now work with this feature, which works with the TV app to provide you with an extensive window into all the content you have available to you on your Apple TV. In future, we should see international channels making themselves available to global audiences using this feature, for a fee.