How To Control Apple TV With Your Apple Watch

How Convenient Is This?

Not so long ago, the watch was what you used to figure out when you’d have the time to watch TV. These days, your watch controls what you’re watching — at least, your Apple Watch can (with an Apple TV). Here is what you need to know.

It’s All in the App

Apple Watch has a Remote app that can be linked to any Apple TV (including older models). Once you have this set up, you can lay back on your sofa after a tough day fighting fires and use your Apple Watch to switch on your television and pick something good to listen to or watch. You can even use your timepiece to explore what’s available through apps like MUBI, Netflix. The app lets you return to the menu, play, pause, and resume music or other content as you wish. You can also work your way through your iTunes and Apple Music libraries.

A woman wearing an apple watch.
 Timur Emek/Getty Images

Setting up Your Apple Remote App

On your Apple Watch:

  1. Press the digital crown to get to the home screen.

  2. Tap the Remote app—it shows up as a blue circle with a white right-pointing arrow.

  3. Tap Add Device and you’ll be given a passcode, take note of what it is.

  4. Now grab your Apple Siri Remote

On your Apple TV:

  1. Using the Siri Remote press and depress the Menu button to get to the TV’s home screen, unless you are already on that screen.

  2. Select Settings and then choose General.

  3. Click on Remotes.

  4. Now choose Select to Add, which should now show the name of your Apple Watch (connected technology is so clever).

  5. Remember that passcode you got? It’s time you circled back, reached out and put your hands around it as you now need to enter it on your Apple TV.

And back to Apple Watch:

Click Done. When you do, an Apple TV icon should appear in the Remote app on your Apple Watch. If it does not then try rebooting the Watch. (Press and hold the side button, drag the Power Off and then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.) If that doesn’t work, then force restart the Apple TV as instructed here.

What to Do Next

Breathe. You’ve just connected your Apple Watch to your Apple TV and now it is time to figure out how things work.

  1. To get to the Remote app you must press the digital crown to get to the apps screen, where all the applications you have installed on your Watch appear in a circular shape.

  2. Tap on the Remote app and you’ll be shown an Apple TV icon (or more if your watch is connected to multiple Apple TV’s, in which case you should name them.)

  3. Tap on the icon to connect to Apple TV. What you see onscreen should become a touch-sensitive Swipe (a little like the one you already use on the Siri Remote). You’ll see a Play/Pause command, a Menu button and (at top left) three dots and three lines which signifies the List button.

What each of these things does should be self-explanatory, but in case of confusion:

  • Swipe around the screen to navigate what’s on your Apple TV screen.
  • Play/Pause to play and pause content
  • Tap Menu to return back a level, ultimately to the Apple TV Apps screen.
  • Tap the List button to return to the device connector screen where you choose which device you control with your wrist during a session.

One disappointment when using an Apple Watch as an Apple TV remote is the lack of support for Siri—hopefully, Apple will rectify this at some point but right now, for the best remote control experience, you’ll need to get to know your way around the Siri Remote.


Finally, to remove an Apple TV from the Remote app on Apple Watch, you need to press firmly on the Remote app icon to invoke the options menu, tap Edit and then tap the X button beside the unit you wish to remove.

On Apple TV in Settings > General > Remotes you should click the name of your Apple Watch and then click Remove.