The Different Ways to Enter Text on Your Apple TV

Pick your favorite method

Most Apple TV users soon discover that entering text in text boxes using your Siri Remote and the ​on-screen keyboard of the Apple TV is a slow (some would say annoying) task. However, you have other options for text entry. If you use a keyboard, app, or your voice, you can speed up the process considerably, and you aren't tied to one method of text entry with the Apple TV. Pick your favorites, and it won't be long until you're binging your next show.

Information in this article applies to Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD (previously Apple TV 4th generation).

Use the Siri Remote to Enter Text

When you tap the Search icon on an Apple TV or click in any text-entry field, you can use the Siri Remote that comes with the Apple TV to choose characters from a left-to-right alphanumeric keyboard that appears on the TV screen. This is the device's default system that people use to search for apps, music, TV shows, or anything else on the Apple TV. It also is available for entering passwords and other requested text.

Search screen on Apple TV

You pull up a search field on the Apple TV by selecting the magnifying glass icon at the top of many screens or by choosing the Search icon on the main screen. Spell out the text entry one character at a time with the Siri Remote. Switch from lowercase to uppercase letters, numerals, and special characters as needed.

Speed up the text-entry process with these shortcuts:

  • Tap and hold an uppercase letter to access the lowercase equivalent, instead of switching back and forth between keyboards.
  • Tap and hold a lowercase letter to bring up the accented variations of that character, as well as the uppercase character.
  • Toggle between the uppercase keyboard and lowercase keyboard by pressing the Play/Pause button on the Siri Remote.

Use Siri to Talk to Your Apple TV

When you see a microphone icon appear in a text-entry field on your Apple TV, you can use Siri to speak your search terms or text.

Hand holding a Siri remote.
 Apple Inc.

To dictate text, tap and hold the microphone icon on your Siri Remote while you speak a search term before letting go of the Siri Remote microphone. This feature is enabled by default, but you can confirm it is turned on in Settings > General > Dictation.

General Settings on Apple TV

Just speak the name of a movie or TV show, and the results show immediately. If you are entering information that must be letter-perfect, such as a password or email address, spell out each letter: J-A-N-E-S-M-I-T-H at iCloud dot com for example.

Text Entry via iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

If you have an Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, download the Apple TV Remote app from the App Store to your device.

iOS Remote app for Apple TV

The Apple TV Remote app works on Apple's iOS and iPadOS devices. After you set up the Remote app, you can use it to enter text on the familiar keyboard on your Apple device, which makes text entry on the Apple TV much easier than tapping individual letters on the Apple TV screen.

The Apple TV Remote app has a large blank area that works like the touchpad on the Siri Remote. Use it to go to a search field or text-entry field on the Apple TV screen and then enter your text on the app screen in the field that pops up. You can also use dictation by tapping the microphone on the Apple TV Remote app home screen.

Use a Bluetooth Keyboard

Logitech, Bluetooth keyboard, Logitech K380 keyboard BTY3 Blue
Logitech

Many Bluetooth keyboards can be connected to the Apple TV. You can use the keyboard to enter text anywhere in any app across the system that needs you to type. You can also use the keyboard to control your Apple TV if you lose or break your Siri Remote control.

Perhaps You'd Like to Make a Game of It

Steelseries controller
Apple Inc.

You can also enter text on the Apple TV using a dedicated third-party game controller for iOS or iPadOS. However, you are limited to manually choosing letters using the on-screen keyboard, so you don't gain any advantage.

Use an Old TV Remote Control

Remote control
Brian Waak / Getty Images

You can even use an old TV remote control if your Apple TV supports it. Grab the remote control your TV ships with (or another one if you like) and open Settings > Remotes & Devices > Learn Remote on your Apple TV. You are guided through a series of steps, after which you should be able to use the remote to control your Apple TV, albeit with much-simplified controls.

Are There More?

There's little doubt that these methods for entering text on an Apple TV will be supplemented by more in the future. Perhaps you'll be able to use a Mac to control it. There seems little reason not to be able to do so.