When I lost my Apple TV remote, I was able to control the set-top box using my phone until the remote appeared under the sofa again. Losing your remote isn’t a huge deal.
If you want to replace your Apple TV remote with something physical, you have options beyond Apple’s proprietary stick of gum. If you’d rather use your phone all the time, you have options there too.
Here’s what you need to know about replacing your Apple TV remote.
Option 1: Use Your Smartphone
Even when you know the best tips for the Apple TV remote, it’s nothing remarkable. It consists of a touch-based trackpad, a few hardware buttons, and a volume rocker that works via infrared with your TV. If you go the smartphone route, you may have to forego volume control, but you’ll still have access to everything else.
Better still, you can use many smartphones as a keyboard to input text on the Apple TV much faster than using a traditional remote. The drawback is that you’ll need to launch an app and wait for it to connect to your Apple TV before you can control it.
Control Your Apple TV With an iPhone or iPad
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you already have an Apple TV remote installed on your device. To use it, head to Settings > Control Center and tap Customize Controls. Scroll down to Apple TV Remote and tap the green Plus next to it.
To use the remote, access Control Center on your device:
- On an iPhone X or later: Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen.
- On an iPhone 8 or earlier: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
- On an iPad running iOS 11 or later: Double-tap the Home button.
Now tap the Apple TV remote icon, then tap on the dropdown menu to choose an Apple TV. If this is the first time you’ve used your iOS device to control your Apple TV, you’ll need to input the code displayed on your TV.
You can now control your Apple TV via the Control Center shortcut whenever you want. If you’d rather use a dedicated app for this purpose, grab Apple’s free Apple TV Remote app, which works identically.
Control Your Apple TV With an Android App
If you use an Android phone, you can also control the Apple TV using your device. Unlike iOS, you’ll need to rely on a third-party app to add this functionality.
Remember: In order to connect an Android app to your Apple TV, you’ll need to use a remote of some sort to set up the Apple TV for this purpose. This might not be too useful if you’ve already lost your remote, but it’s not so much of a problem if you’re setting up an extra remote control for convenience.
Here are a few recommended apps that allow you to control an Apple TV from your Android device:
- CiderTV: Supported by ads, CiderTV includes keyboard support for on-screen typing.
- Peel Universal Smart TV Remote: Free ad-supported remote control. Check out our guide to using Peel’s smart remote.
- TV (Apple) Remote Control: Also supported by ads, this app provides simple control of an Apple TV for devices with an infrared blaster.
To pair any of these apps with your Apple TV, head to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Learn Remote on the Apple TV.
Option 2: Buy an Apple TV Remote Replacement
There’s something to be said about having a dedicated hardware remote, particularly if other household members don’t care for using their phones to control the Apple TV. You don’t have to go for Apple’s own remote, since third-party remotes will also work with your Apple TV in some capacity.
These may be ideal if you have multiple devices you also want to control, like a TV, Xbox One, or AV receiver.
Apple’s Siri Remote will cost just short of $60, but provides native support for the full range of Apple TV features. That includes infrared volume control and a microphone for controlling the set-top box with your voice.
It’s also the only remote that will pair automatically, which is important if you don’t have any other means of controlling the Apple TV. To pair a new Siri Remote, charge it, then press and hold the Menu and Volume Up buttons for five seconds within three inches of the Apple TV.
This off-brand Coolux Remote costs a fraction of what Apple asks for a Siri remote. You can use it as a basic remote control for your Apple TV, though it lacks many functions.
There’s no touchpad, no microphone, no volume controls for your TV, and it uses AAA batteries which you need to supply yourself. The product description is written in broken English, but Amazon’s customer reviews confirm that this works fine with the Apple TV 4th generation or later.
Here’s a button-packed remote that’s perfect if you want to a single remote to control your Apple TV, Xbox One, Nvidia Shield, and other supported streaming devices. Use the backlit directional buttons to control the Apple TV, and play or pause media with the playback controls.
Inteset’s 4-in-1 includes self-adhesive labels for customizing it to your preferences, a comprehensive list of device codes, and macro programming for chaining together up to 15 commands. The remote was designed with the Apple TV in mind, and the positive user reviews confirm that it works well.
The Logitech Harmony 950 is a monster of a remote, capable of controlling up to 15 devices including the Apple TV. It’s programmable, so you can choose an activity and have the remote power on the right devices.
In addition to directional and media controls, the Harmony 950 includes fancy features like motion-activated backlighting, full-color touchscreen, rechargeable battery, and charging station. If you want a high-end remote for all your gadgets, this is it.
Make Your Siri Remote Easier to Find
Sick of losing your remote all the time? Tired of Apple’s wafer-thin design sliding down the back of the sofa? You need a case for your Siri Remote.
The elago R1 Intelli Case makes the Siri remote considerably chunkier, plus it adds a grip, lanyard, and shock absorption. It also adds magnets, so you can stick your Siri Remote to something metal. For a few dollars, you’ll never lose your Apple TV remote again!
Whether you’ve just bought an Apple TV or you’ve had one for a while, you’re bound to learn a trick or two in our free Apple TV setup and user guide.