How to Fix Problems with the iPhone Remote App

These troubleshooting tips should get Remote working again

Connecting an iOS device to a computer or Apple TV using the iTunes Remote app is usually easy. But sometimes the devices can't establish a connection, even when the proper connection steps were followed. 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 several reasons why the iTunes Remote app may fail to establish a connection, including hardware and software problems. Usually, the problem you're experiencing will become apparent after you fix it. Troubleshooting with the following instructions should help clarify the nature of the problem.

Person holding iPhone and television remote
lolostock / Getty Images

How to Fix Problems with the iPhone Remote App

When you face problems with the iPhone Remote app not connecting properly, follow these steps, in order, to get it working again.

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

    In addition to updating the OS, make sure your versions of Apple TV and iTunes are up to date.

  2. Use the same Wi-Fi network. If you have the right software but still no connection, check that your iPhone, Apple TV, and iTunes library are 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 upper-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 have the right software and are on the same network but don't have a connection to the Remote app, the problem may be easy to fix. Some wireless routers develop communication problems, especially if too many devices connect simultaneously. 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 must be enabled on all devices for Remote to work. If these first few approaches didn't fix the problem, make sure Home Sharing is on by doing the following:

    • On the iPhone, if Home Sharing is not turned on, open the Remote app, and you're prompted to set it up. Use your Apple ID to log in.
    • On a Mac, 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 still have no luck, set 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. Instead, the problem may reside with your wireless networking hardware. If your AirPort Wi-Fi base station or Time Capsule with built-in AirPort has outdated software, it could be interfering with communications between Remote and the Apple TV or Mac. Upgrade the 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 followed 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 allows incoming connections to iTunes. Save those settings and use Remote to connect to iTunes again.

  8. Contact Apple for more help. If none of these measures worked, you might have a more complex problem or a hardware failure. In that case, contact Apple for more support.