How to Control Apple TV with iPhone Control Center

Keep controlling your Apple TV even if you lose the remote

What to Know

  • Make sure your iPhone and Apple TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, then turn on the Apple TV.
  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > Control Center Customize Controls, then tap the + icon next to Apple TV Remote.
  • On your iPhone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center, tap Remote, and choose your Apple TV.

This article explains how to control an Apple TV with the iPhone Control Center. The instructions apply to devices with iOS 11 or later.

How to Add the Apple TV Remote to Control Center

To control your Apple TV from Control Center on your iPhone or iPad, add the Remote feature to Control Center.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Control Center.

    Control Center heading in Settings on an iPhone
  3. Select Customize Controls.

  4. In the More Controls section, tap the + icon next to Apple TV Remote.

    Customize Controls settings for Control Center with the Apple TV Remote option highlighted
  5. The Remote app appears in Control Center when you access it by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

How to Set Up Your Apple TV To Be Controlled By Your iPhone or iPad

With the Remote feature added to Control Center, connect the iPhone or iPad and Apple TV. That connection allows the phone to act as a remote for the TV.

  1. Make sure your iPhone or iPad and Apple TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

  2. Turn on your Apple TV (and HDTV, if the two aren't connected).

  3. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center.

    On the iPad or iPhone X and newer, swipe down from the upper-right corner.

  4. Tap Remote.

  5. Select the list at the top and choose the Apple TV you want to control.

    For most people, only one will show up here, but if you have more than one Apple TV, you'll need to choose.

    Setting up TV Remote on an iPhone
  6. On your TV, the Apple TV displays a passcode to connect the remote. Enter the passcode from the TV into your iPhone or iPad.

  7. The iPhone or iPad and Apple TV will connect and you can use the remote in Control Center.

How to Control Your Apple TV Using Control Center

Now that your iPhone or iPad and Apple TV can communicate with each other, you can use the phone as a remote. A virtual remote control that looks similar to the one that comes with the Apple TV appears on the screen.

Here's what each of the buttons on the virtual remote control does:

  • Control Pad: The space at the top controls what you select on the Apple TV screen. Swipe left and right, or up and down, to move onscreen menus and options. Tap that space to choose options.
  • Back 10 Seconds: The round button with the curved arrow facing left jumps back 10 seconds in audio and video that's playing onscreen.
  • Forward 10 Seconds: The button with the curved arrow facing right skips ahead 10 seconds in audio and video.
  • Menu: The Menu button works differently in different contexts. Generally, it works like a Back button.
  • Play/Pause: The Play/Pause button plays audio and video, or pauses it.
  • Home: The button that looks like a TV displays the home screen on your Apple TV (or, depending on the settings on your Apple TV, may open the preinstalled TV app).
  • Siri: The button shaped like a microphone activates Siri on the Apple TV to let you do voice searches. Tap and hold it, then speak into your iPhone.
  • Search: The magnifying glass button doesn't have a counterpart on the physical Apple TV remote. It opens a search screen where you can look for movies and TV shows in the Apple TV app.

Volume is the only feature available on the hardware Apple TV remote that isn't present in the Remote in Control Center. To raise or lower the volume on your TV, you'll have to use the hardware remote.

Why Use the iPhone Control Center for Apple TV?

The remote control that comes with the Apple TV can be a bit difficult to use. Because it's symmetrical, it's easy to pick it up the wrong way or to press the wrong button. It's also small, so it's easy to misplace. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can get most of the same control options without using the remote or installing an app by using a feature built into Control Center.

How to Shut Down and Restart the Apple TV Using Control Center

Just like with the hardware remote, you can use the Control Center Remote feature to shut down or restart the Apple TV.

  • Shut Down: With the Remote feature open in Control Center, tap and hold the Home button until a menu appears on the Apple TV screen. Use the Control Pad to select Sleep, then tap the Control Pad to shut the TV down.
  • Force Restart: If the Apple TV is locked up and needs a force restart, tap and hold both the Menu and Home buttons on the Control Center Remote. Hold the buttons until the TV screen goes dark. When the light on the front of the Apple TV flashes, release the buttons to restart the TV.

In addition to all the great ways that Control Center lets you manage your devices, you can also customize Control Center in iOS 11.

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