Take Control of Your Apple Remote with These Tips

Get Even More From Apple's Easy to Use Remote Control

Even with just six buttons, the Apple TV Siri Remote is a powerful remote control and it is ever so easy to learn how to use its basic abilities. Moving beyond these, here are eight really useful things you can do with this remote (or even a  properly configured alternative remote). These may make a positive difference to how you use your Apple TV.

Reboot Fast

How to Reboot Apple TV
These Buttons Restart Your Apple TV.

Missing volume? Sluggish menus? Stuttering games?

Don’t fret too much, you probably won’t need to upgrade your broadband or send your Apple TV back to the shop -- all you'll need to do is reboot the system.

Luckily there are two ways to do this:

  • You can navigate to Settings>System>Restart
  • You can also do it this way, and it's a little faster -- just press the Home and Play/Pause buttons until the lights on Apple TV begin blinking. Let go the button and the system will reboot, which resolves most problems.

In most cases, if a reboot doesn't solve things then you may need one of these more advanced troubleshooting tips.

Sleep on Demand

Apple TV
Go to Sleep!.

You can use the remote control to put your system – and your compatible TV – to sleep. All you need to do is press and hold the Home button (the one that looks like a TV screen) until the on-screen images blur grey and the “Sleep Now” message appears. Tap it and you Apple TV and television will both enter sleep mode until next time you need them. 

Fix Text Entry Errors

Hit the Button, Say "Clear".

When using the Siri Remote to enter text on Apple TV you will sometimes make mistakes (even if you dictate the text). The fastest way to get rid of errors is to use your Siri Remote, press the microphone and say “Clear” and Siri will delete what you’ve written so you can start all over again. 

More Menu for You

Multiple Taps: Multiple Tools.

 The Menu button does three things for you:

  • Single click it and you’ll go back to the previous page
  • Click it twice and you’ll launch the screensaver
  • If you tap it three times you’ll be able to access your Accessibility Shortcuts, if you have them enabled.

App Switcher for Easy Navigation

Switch apps fast.

Apple TV apps run in the background once you launch them, even when you are not using them. (They are not active apps, and they aren't doing anything, see it as them being in a hold state until the next time you need them). tvOS, the operating system that runs Apple TV, is stable enough to handle this, but you can use this as a really fast way to flip between apps. This is how it's done:

Double tap the Home button and you should enter App Switcher view (try it again if you don't). This is like a carousel of all your active applications showing app previews of each one.

Once you are in this view you can swipe left and right between the apps, double tap an app and immediately start using it, or swipe an app preview up in order to truly close that app. This can be a much faster way to navigate between those apps you most often use.

Quick Caps

It Does More Than Play and Pause.

When typing into the character input field using your Siri Remote a quick tap of the Play/Pause button will cause the next character you type to be automatically capitalized.

That's one of so many useful text input tips for the Apple TV. You should know more. One of the best text input tips is to use the Remote app on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch for text entry.

Subtitles While a Movie is Playing

Swipe down for more
Swipe Down to Access Playback Features.

If you begin watching a movie in a different language than your own, but forgot to enable subtitles before you began watching the movie, you don't need to restart the film.

This is how to switch subtitles on while a film is playing on your Apple TV -- you won't miss (or repeat) a moment's action:

  • Swipe down on the trackpad while the movie is playing
  • A grey menu appears at the top of the screen that shows a summary of the show or movie you are watching.
  • Look closely and you’ll see a range of settings you can now adjust, including controls for subtitles, audio settings and more. 
  • Select subtitles and they will play with your movie.
  • Job done. Just flick this grey menu up using your remote control to remove it from your screen when you have finished this task.

Scrub Through Video

Scrub Left; Scrub Right.

If you're like me you may find scrubbing through a video using Apple TV is a bit of an acquired skill, but you should persevere. When you want to quickly move between elements in your movie, just remember these three tips:

  1. Press the Play/Pause button to pause what you are watching before scrubbing.
  2. You swipe left or swipe right to move forward and backward in the video.
  3. One more thing, scrubbing speed responds to the velocity of your finger movement – so a fast swipe will move through the video faster than a slow one.

So Much More to Explore