How to Connect a Bluetooth Keyboard to Apple TV

How to Set it up And What You Can do With it

Logitech, Bluetooth keyboard, Logitech K380 keyboard BTY3 Blue
You can use any current Bluetooth keyboard as a control interface for your Apple TV. Jonny

New in tvOS 9.2 you can now pair and use a Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV. Connecting a keyboard makes it much easier to enter text and navigate your device, and opens opportunities for future app design.

Here is how to set up and use one with an Apple TV.

What you need

  • An Apple TV connected to the TV
  • An Apple Siri Remote
  • A Bluetooth keyboard of some kind

Update Apple TV

First, you must ensure you are using the latest software.

Open Settings>Software Updates, choose Update Software and the software will be updated. If you have already updated your software (very likely if you have your Apple TV set to Automatically Update) a message will appear that says: “Apple TV Update, Your Apple TV is up to date.”

Pairing mode

To pair the keyboard you should first put it into pairing mode. How you go about this depends on who manufactures the keyboard you hope to use, so you’ll have to refer to the instructions provided with your keyboard. The pairing process usually demands you press the pairing button for a few seconds until the blue light begins to flash.

Pair with Apple TV

Once you’ve got your keyboard into pairing mode it’s time to reach for your Apple Siri Remote. Use this to open the Settings app on your Apple TV and navigate to Remotes & Devices>Bluetooth.

You may be asked for a passkey or PIN to complete the pairing process, but once these steps complete you will be able to use the keyboard with your Apple TV.

A “Connected” notification will appear once the process completes.

Unpairing

You can only use a limited number of paired remote devices with your Apple TV simultaneously. The company tells us simultaneous use is limited to one Siri Remote and two MFi (Made for iOS) Bluetooth controllers; or one controller and one other Bluetooth accessory, such as speakers.

It is possible you will be able to pair more devices than this, but you may need to unfair them in order to introduce new ones. To unpair an accessory ​go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth, choose the device you need to unpair and tap ‘Forget Device’.

Using the keyboard with Apple TV

Now you have managed to pair your Bluetooth keyboard with an Apple TV you can use the keyboard to control things on the screen. You can use it in every app that runs on the system.

So what is it good for? It can be a handy Siri Remote replacement if you happen to lose or damage Apple’s $79 product. It’s also a great (and better) way to type into text boxes, from search to passwords and more. It does almost everything you need it to (bar accessing Siri).

Try these keyboard commands:

  • Keyboard arrow keys work the same as swiping the Siri remote – you can use this for accurate item selection, fast forwarding and rewinding content and more.
  • The spacebar lets you pause and restart playback
  • The F3 button gets you to the App Switcher mode (the carousel in which you can see all your currently open apps). Once you enter that mode you can navigate through your apps to the one you want to use using the arrow keys on the keyboard. Just press Return to choose something.
  • Escape key lets you go back one section – to the search results or Home screen or wherever in your app that happens to be.

Troubleshooting

Things do sometimes go wrong, and if your Bluetooth keyboard suddenly stops working with your Apple TV (and isn’t damaged); or you find you cannot connect the two, here are some steps you should take:

  • Check the software on both devices is up-to-date
  • Ensure the battery in the keyboard is charged
  • Make sure you are in range
  • Check in Settings>Remotes and Devices>Bluetooth – if your keyboard is listed but is not responding, then unpair it and hook it up again.

What next?

Now you’ve figured out how to use a Bluetooth keyboard with an Apple TV, take a look at 50 things you can ask your Siri Remote Control to do when you use an Apple TV.