What To Do If You Lose Your Apple TV Siri Remote

Fortunately There Are Several Ways to Control your Apple TV Without The Remote

What To Do If You Lose Your Apple TV Siri Remote
Don’t be like this poor guy falling down the back of his sofa searching for the remote control his dog’s been hiding – put a plan together today and it’ll be OK!. Strut/Getty Images

According to research, the average TV viewer spends over two weeks looking for lost remote controls during their lives -- so it makes sense to take a look at this article today to make sure you have a plan in place if you lose your Apple TV remote.  The biggest flaw your sophisticated Apple TV Siri Remote shares with even the dumbest of everyday remote controls is that it might also get lost or damaged.

It could be:

  • Trapped under the sofa
  • Down the back of the chair
  • Accidentally left hidden behind that book
  • Perhaps it fell in the trashcan?
  • Perhaps it got chewed or hidden by the dog?

It doesn't really matter what the problem is. Here is what you need to know to solve it:

(If you've damaged the remote you probably already know you’ll probably need to cough up the cash for a replacement Siri remote, but finding the funds ($79), or even the time to sort this out will take time.) 

Here are your options:

  1. Use the Remote App on iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch
  2. Reprogram an Older Remote Control or Universal Remote
  3. Use an Apple TV 3 Remote Control
  4. Use a Games Controller
  5. Use a Bluetooth Keyboard
  6. Buy a New Apple Siri Remote

1. Use The Remote App

If you use an Apple TV there’s a good chance you also use an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, all of which can run the free Remote app. So long as both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network you can use the app to control your Apple TV.

  • Once you’ve installed the app on your iOS device you should tap the Setup Home Sharing button and enter your Apple ID and password.
  • Your Apple TV should appear listed in the app
  • If it does not appear, then you should check on your Mac or PC to make sure Home Sharing is turned on in iTunes (File>Home Sharing>Turn On Home Sharing).

    You can also use Apple Watch as an Apple TV controller using the set-up instructions previously published here. This will let you swipe around the watch display to navigate the Apple TV screen, play and pause content and more, but does not provide Siri support.​

     2. Use Another TV or DVD Remote

    Apart from the loss of Siri and touch sensitivity, one snag with using another TV or DVD remote to control your Apple TV when you lose your official remote control is that you will need to set this up before such loss takes place. Given that everyone loses the remote from time to time it may make sense to plan ahead now for such an event and program your old remote control before things go awry.

    To set up an old TV or DVD remote you should open Settings>General>Remotes& Devices>Learn Remote on your Apple TV. Hit the Start button and you’ll be walked through the process of setting your older control up – don’t forget to choose an unused device setting before you start.

    Your Apple TV will then let you assign six buttons to control your TV: Up, Down, Left, Right, Select and Menu.

    Give your Remote a name. Now you can also map additional controls such as fast forward and rewind.

    3. Use an Older Apple TV Remote

    If you own one, you can also use an older silver grey Apple Remote to control your Apple TV 4.

    That’s because the box includes an infrared (IR) sensor that works with the old Apple TV remote. To pair your Apple Remote with your Apple TV go to Settings > General > Remotes and then, using the silver-grey remote you want to use click on Pair Remote. You’ll see a small progress icon at top right of the display.

    4. Use Your Gaming Controller

    If you play games on Apple TV it’s likely you already own a gaming controller – it’s the best way to unlock gaming on the platform.

    To connect a third-party games controller you’ll need to use Bluetooth 4.1:

    1. Turn the controller on
    2. Press and hold its Bluetooth button
    1. Open Settings>Remotes & Devices>Bluetooth on Apple TV.
    2. Your game controller should appear in the list.
    3. Click it and the two devices should pair.

    5. Use a Bluetooth Keyboard

    You can use the same pairing sequence as above to connect a Bluetooth keyboard to your Apple TV. Once you’ve created a link between the two devices you’ll be able to naviate the Apple TV menus, pause and restart playback and flip between apps and pages using the keyboard, though you won’t enjoy access to Siri (but typing will be a lot easier than the on-screen virtual keyboard).

    6. Set Up a New Siri Remote

    You will eventually need to bite the bullet and invest in a replacement Siri Remote. When it arrives it should automatically pair with Apple TV, but if its battery dies or you need to pair a new remote you’ll need to follow these steps:

    When you first click a button on the new Siri Remote you should see a dialog box appear in the upper right corner of the screen. This will tell you one of two things:

    • Remote Paired: You should be able to use your new remote straight away
    • Pairing Remote: You may be asked to bring your new Siri Remote closer to your Apple TV for pairing to proceed.

    If neither of these appears you should connect your new Siri Remote to power for some time (perhaps an hour) and then try again. If that doesn’t work simultaneously press the Menu and Volume Up buttons on the Remote for three seconds, it should reset and return to pairing mode.