How to Fix Problems with the iPhone Remote App

These troubleshooting tips should get Remote working again

Connecting and iOS device to your computer or Apple TV using the iTunes Remote app is usually pretty easy. But sometimes you can’t establish a connection, even when you follow all the proper connection steps. If you're unable to get the iPhone Remote app working, we'll help you identify and solve the problem.

Reasons Why the Apple iTunes Remote App Won't Work

There are number of reasons why the iTunes Remote app may fail to establish a connection, including both hardware and software problems. Usually, the problem you're experiencing will become apparent once you've fixed it. Troubleshooting with the following instructions should help clarify the nature of the problem.

Man holding iphone and television remote
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How to Fix Problems with the iPhone Remote App

If you're facing problems with the iPhone Remote app not connecting properly, follow these steps, in order, to get it working again.

  1. Update your software. New versions of software bring new features and fixes, but they can also cause problems like incompatibilities with older hardware or software. If you're having trouble getting the Remote app to work, the first, simplest step is to make sure all of the devices and programs you're using are up-to-date.

    In addition to updating the OS, you should check to make sure your version of Apple TV and iTunes are also up to date.

  2. Use the same Wi-Fi network. If you've got all the right software but still no connection, check that your iPhone, Apple TV, and iTunes library are all on the same Wi-Fi network. The devices must be on the same network to communicate with each other.

    • On the iPhone, go to SettingsWi-Fi to see what network you're on and select a new one if needed.
    • On a Mac, select the Wi-Fi icon in the top right corner and do the same.
    • On Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Network > Wi-Fi and select the correct network.
  3. Restart the router. If you've got the right software and are on the same network but still have no connection to the Remote app, the problem may be very easy to fix. Some wireless routers develop communication problems, especially if too many devices connect simultaneously. Simply restarting the router may fix the problem.

  4. Turn on Home Sharing. The Remote app relies on an Apple technology called Home Sharing to communicate with the devices it controls. As a result, Home Sharing has to be enabled on all devices in order for Remote to work. If these first few approaches didn't fix the problem, your next bet is to make sure Home Sharing is on by doing the following:

    • On the iPhone, if Home Sharing is not turned on, simply open the Remote app and you'll be prompted to set it up. You'll need to use your Apple ID to log in.
    • On a Mac, follow these instructions to set up Home Sharing in iTunes.
    • On Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Computers and follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Set Up the iTunes Remote App again. If you're still having no luck, you may want to try setting up the iTunes Remote app from scratch. That involves deleting the app, redownloading it from iTunes, and then launching it as usual.

  6. Upgrade AirPort or Time Capsule. If that doesn't work, the problem may not be with the Remote app at all. Instead, the problem may reside with your wireless networking hardware. If your AirPort Wi-Fi base station or Time Capsule with built-in AirPort is running outdated software, it could be interfering with communications between Remote and your Apple TV or Mac. You might want to try upgrading your AirPort and Time Capsule software.

  7. Reconfigure the Firewall for Mac or PC. A firewall prevents other computers from connecting to yours without your permission. As a result, it can sometimes prevent your iPhone from connecting to your computer.

    If you’ve followed all of the above steps but Remote still says it cannot find your library, open your firewall program (on Windows there are dozens; on the Mac, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall).

    In your firewall, create a new rule that specifically allows incoming connections to iTunes. Save those settings and try using Remote to connect to iTunes again. 

  8. Contact Apple for More Help. If none of these measures works, you may have a more complex problem or even a hardware failure. In that case, your best bet is to contact Apple for more support.