How to Use Apple TV with iOS 11 Control Center

Apple TV iOS 11 Control Center
iPhone screenshot

The remote control that comes with the Apple TV is... Well, it's a mixed bag. It feels great, but it can be a bit difficult to use. Because it's symmetrical, it's easy to pick it up the wrong way and then hit the wrong button. It's also pretty small, so getting lost is maybe what it's best at.

But did you know you don't need that remote to control your Apple TV? If you've got an iPhone or iPad, you can get almost all of the same control options using the remote or installing an app thanks to a feature built into Control Center.

What You Need:

  • An iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 or higher
  • An Apple TV

How to Add Apple TV Remote to Control Center

To control your Apple TV from Control Center on your iPhone or iPad, you need to add the Remote feature to Control Center. Here's how: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Control Center.
  3. Tap Customize Controls.
  4. In the More Controls section, tap Apple TV Remote.

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

With the Remote feature added to Control Center, you now need to connect the iPhone/iPad and Apple TV. That connection allows the phone to act as a remote for the TV. Follow these steps:

  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 already connected).
  3. Open Control Center (on most iPhones, you do this by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. On the iPhone X, swipe down from the top right. On the iPad, swipe up from the bottom and stop about halfway up the screen).
  1. Tap the Apple TV icon.
  2. Select the Apple TV you want to control from the list (for most people, only one will show up here, but if you've got more than one Apple TV, you'll need to choose).
  3. On your TV, the Apple TV displays a passcode to connect the remote. Enter the passcode from the TV into your iPhone or iPad.
  1. The iPhone/iPad and Apple TV will connect and you can start using the remote in Control Center.

How to Control Your Apple TV Using Control Center

Now that your iPhone or iPad and Apple TV are set up to communicate with each other, you can use the phone as a remote. Here's how:

  1. Open Control Center and tap the Apple TV icon to launch the remote.
  2. If you have more than one Apple TV, select the one you want by tapping the Apple TV menu at the top and then tapping the correct Apple TV.
  3. With that done, a virtual remote control that looks like a software version of the remote that comes with the Apple TV appears on the screen. If you've used the hardware remote, all of the buttons will be familiar to you. If not, here's what each one does:
  • Control Pad—The big space at the top controls what you select on the Apple TV screen. Swipe left and right, up and down to move onscreen menus and options. Tap that space to select things.
  • Skip Back 10 Seconds—The round button with the curved arrow facing left jumps back 10 seconds in audio and video that's playing onscreen.
  • Menu—The Menu button works differently in different contexts. Generally speaking, it works like a back button. It also, not surprisingly, reveals the menu in many apps. If you're in an app and can't figure out what to do, tapping the Menu button will usually provide some options.
  • Forward 10 Seconds—The button with the curved arrow facing right skips ahead 10 seconds in audio and video.
  • Play/Pause—The Play/Pause button does exactly what it sounds like. Starts playing audio and video, or pauses it.
  • Home—The button that looks like a TV takes you back to the homescreen on your Apple TV (or, depending on the settings on your Apple TV, may open the preinstalled TV app).
  • Siri—One of the coolest features of the Apple TV is that you can search for things to watch by voice using Siri. This button activates Siri on the Apple TV. Tap and hold it, then speak into your iPhone.

Volume is the only feature available on the hardware Apple TV remote that isn't present in the version of the Remote in Control Center.

There's no onscreen button for that. To raise or lower the volume on your TV, you'll have to stick with a hardware remote.

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. Here's how:

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