How to Use the Redesigned Apple TV 4K Siri Remote (2021)

The streamlined remote makes it easier to navigate an Apple TV

What to Know

  • The 2nd gen Apple TV 4K Siri remote comes with the 2nd gen Apple TV 4K. It's compatible with the first-generation Apple TV 4K.
  • The newly included power button can turn your TV on and off if your TV supports it.
  • Adjust or disable touchpad control by navigating to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Clickpad Only.

This article explains how to use the redesigned Apple TV remote that first shipped with the 2021 Apple TV 4K, including an outline of features and tips for getting the most out of the new control scheme.

What’s New With the Redesigned Apple TV Remote?

The Apple TV 4K Siri remote (2021) has seen a total overhaul since the first generation Siri remote that first shipped with the Apple TV 4K (2017). Most of the aesthetic changes made with the 2017 version have been rolled back, with this remote featuring a silver aluminum casing and circular navigation button that will look familiar if you’ve used a second or third-generation Apple TV.

Instead of the featureless glass touchpad found on the first generation Siri remote, the 2021 Apple TV 4K remote has a circular navigation button with a touch-enabled clickpad in the center. The circular button provides easy navigation of menus, while the central touch-enabled clickpad has similar functionality to the touchpad built into the previous generation of the hardware.

Other significant changes include repositioning of the buttons and a slightly different set of controls. In addition, the controller no longer feels symmetrical in your hand like the 2017 version, as the navigation clickpad is a raised, physical button with a non-touch sensitive ring button around it. That makes it a lot easier to make sure you’re holding the controller correctly in the dark and helps avoid unwanted input.

The controller also trades out the menu button for mute and back buttons and moves the Siri button to the side of the case. Depending on which hand you hold the controller in, you can easily activate it with your thumb or index finger, and you’re unlikely to hit it accidentally due to the repositioning. Finally, the redesigned Apple TV remote adds a power button for the first time. That means you can turn your Apple TV 4K on and off using the remote.

How to Use the Redesigned Apple TV 4K Remote

The redesigned Apple TV 4K remote works a lot like the previous generation, with the notable removal of the touchpad and addition of the ring button and touch-enabled click pad. Touching the ring button on the cardinal directions allows you to navigate up, down easily, left, and right. The central touch-enabled clickpad is used for gesture-based navigation and controls and clicking things.

The Apple TV 4K Siri remote.
Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire 

Here are the buttons on the redesigned Apple TV 4K remote and what they do:

  • Power button: This button is at the top right corner of the remote, and it has the universal power icon on it. Pressing this button will turn your Apple TV on or off.
  • Navigation button: This circular or ring-shaped button sits near the top of the controller, and it’s primarily for navigating menus. Clicking the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the ring allow you to navigate up, down, left, and right in menus.
  • Touch-enabled clickpad: This clickpad is inside the circular navigation button. It supports touch for gesture inputs, and it’s also clickable, which is how you select things in the tvOS interface.
  • Back button: This button has a left-facing error, and it functions as a dedicated back button that allows you to return to the previous screen or menu item.
  • Home button: This button has a TV icon on it, and it allows you to return to the Apple TV home screen at any time.
  • Play/Pause button: This button has the play and pause symbols on it, and it allows you to pause and resume playback when you’re watching video content.
  • Volume button: This button features a + and -, and it allows you to adjust the volume. Pressing + raises the volume, and pressing - lowers it.
  • Mute button: This button has a crossed-out speaker icon, allowing you to mute and unmute the volume.
  • Siri button: This is an elongated button on the side of the remote that features a microphone icon. Press and hold this button to bring up Siri, then hold the button while issuing Siri voice commands.

Controlling Apple TV 4K With Siri

The Siri virtual assistant works on your Apple TV 4K in much the same way it does on your Mac or iPhone, so you can ask it all sorts of general questions like, “How’s the weather,” “What time is it,” and “When does the sun set?” When you ask a general question like this, the results will appear at the bottom of your screen. In some cases, you can swipe up on the touch-enabled clickpad to see more information.

In addition to basic Siri commands, you can also use Siri to navigate and control your Apple TV 4K. To navigate using Siri, you can press the Siri button and say where you want to go or what you want to open. For example, commands like “Open app store,” “Launch Netflix,” “Play YouTube videos,” and “Go to Photos” will all open or play the requested app or content.

You can also easily install a new app by saying something like, “Install YouTube app,” and then clicking the download button once Siri shows you the app in the App Store.

The Siri button on the new Apple TV 4K remote.
Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

To control video playback, you can use the following commands:

  • “Pause.”
  • “Play.”
  • “Play from the beginning.”
  • “Skip forward (number of seconds).”
  • “Jump back (number of seconds).”
  • “Turn on closed captioning.”
  • “Turn on (language) subtitles.”

Siri can also provide you with more information about the show you’re watching. For example, you can ask, “Who stars in this?” “Who directed this?” or “When was this released” for quick information. 

Apple TV Remote Control Tips

The basic functionality of the Apple TV 4K remote control is easy enough to pick up once you know what the buttons do and you’ve used it for a while. Still, there’s a lot of functionality that isn’t immediately apparent.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Apple TV 4K remote:

  • You can use your Apple TV 4K with Siri remote to locate your other Apple devices. Just something along the lines of, “Where’s my iPhone,” “Ping my iPad,” or “Find Jeremy’s AirPods.”
  • The touch-enabled clickpad lets you navigate forward, back, up, and down in menus by sliding your finger in the relevant direction.
  • If you don’t like the touch controls, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices, and change Clickpad to Click Only, or adjust the Touch Surface Tracking to something more comfortable.
  • The TV button usually takes you to Up Next in the Apple TV app, or you can press it twice to go to the home screen. Don’t like that? Navigate to Settings > Remotes and Devices, and set it to take you directly to the home screen instead.
  • Press and hold the TV button to access the Control Center where you can switch users, access Apple Music, change audio settings, access HomeKit scenes and cameras, and access the search function.
  • Easy fast forward or rewind: Pause the show you’re watching, then put your thumb on the outer edge of the clickpad and move it in a clockwise direction to fast forward or counterclockwise to rewind.
  • The power button can turn your TV on too. Navigate to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Home Theater Control, and turn on Control TVs and Receivers.
  • How do I get Siri to stop talking on my Apple TV?

    You can turn voiceover off using Apple's accessibility settings. On Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver, and then turn VoiceOver off. Alternatively, hold the Siri button on your remote and say, "Turn VoiceOver off."

  • How do I connect a Siri remote to a different Apple TV?

    If you lose your Siri remote or otherwise need to pair a different remote with your TV, you might need to unpair it from the original TV first. To unpair, go to the Apple TV menu and select Settings > General > Remotes and Devices > Unpair Apple Remote. Then, on the new Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Remotes and Devices > Pair Apple Remote.

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