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How to set up, use the new Apple TV Remote app

Next time you lose the Siri remote, just pick up your iPhone.

The day has come, Apple made good on its promise and released an improved Apple TV Remote app. It's an entirely different app from the rather old Remote app Apple that has been available for several years now.

Effectively, your iPhone is now capable of replacing the Siri Remote that comes with the newest Apple TV.

Setup is a breeze

After installing the Apple TV Remote and opening it, select the Apple TV you want to connect to the remote. If you don't see a list of Apple TVs, make sure your iPhone is connected to the same Wi-Fi as your Apple TV(s).

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Tap on the name of the TV you want to control, and then enter the four-digit code shown on your TV.

This is a vast improvement over the previous pairing process, which required going through the Settings app on the Apple TV and initiating the pairing process. Now you just tap, enter a code, and you're done.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET


When using the Apple TV Remote app, the top section of your screen mimics the touchpad on the Siri Remote that comes with the new Apple TV. Swipe in either direction to move and highlight buttons on your TV screen, tap within the touchpad area to select an item, and so on.

Visible buttons include home, menu, Siri and Play/Pause. All of the buttons function as they do on the Siri Remote: tap on Menu to go back a screen; tap the Home button to go home; tap and hold the Siri button to give voice commands; and so on.

Once you begin playing something, say in Netflix, three additional buttons are displayed: Details (top-right corner), and buttons to go back or skip ahead 10 seconds on either side of the Menu button.

Tapping on Details will show any applicable artwork (so far I've only seen artwork show up when streaming content from iTunes), and offer up the ability to scrub back or ahead in the show you're currently watching.

Get your game on!

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Instead of having to buy multiple gamepads or Siri Remotes so the entire family can race on Beach Buggy, you can now use your iPhone or iPod touch as a gamepad.

When you open a game on the Apple TV, a gamepad icon will show up at the top of your phone's screen. Tap on it, and rotate your phone so that the touchpad is in your left hand with the A and X buttons in your right. Going back to the Beach Buggy example, you need to physically tilt your iOS device to steer just as you would if you were using the Siri remote.

Other odds and ends

Just because the Apple TV Remote app is designed for use with the newest Apple TV doesn't mean you can't use it with older models. It works just as the old remote app did, save for the missing Siri icon. Right now, the app isn't optimized for the iPad. Which, I guess, makes sense, considering you could potentially find yourself using it as a gamepad when bowling. Could you imagine trying to throw a strike using an iPad?