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New Siri remote for Apple TV has a big, confusing feature. Here's how to sort it out

Can't figure out how to get to your favorite scene in an episode of Mythic Quest or Ted Lasso? Read this.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read
Apple TV 4K 2021

Apple's new set top box doesn't look all that different, but the remote is a whole other story. 

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

The new Siri Remote for Apple's set-top box, including the brand new Apple TV 4K, is a game changer. It's bigger and thus harder to lose, or at least, that's the working theory. It also has buttons dedicated to controlling your TV, and it ditches the annoying touchpad the previous remote used. 

In its place is a new iPod-like click wheel you navigate with touch gestures, and an outer ring you press on for more precise control, like skipping forward or backward in 10-second increments. 

But, as is often the case with new products, not everything you want to do is obvious. On the Siri Remote, the method for fast-forwarding or rewinding (also called scrubbing) was anything but. In fact, I discovered it by accident. Instead of waiting to accidentally figure it out, use this guide to quickly and easily jump ahead or back while watching a show. 

Watch this: Apple TV's new remote is the upgrade we needed

Fast-forward and rewind with the Siri Remote

When you're watching a movie and you want to quickly go back a scene, press the pause or select buttons to pause whatever you're watching. Next, place a thumb on either side of the outer ring and, this is important, don't move it. After a second or so, you'll see a small circle with a dot inside the ring show up on the timeline. The dot will start moving around in partial circles inside the small icon, which is your cue to do the same thing. 

The key to get this to work properly is to wait a second after touching the outer ring. 

Apple, Inc.

Start moving your thumb clockwise to go forwards, or counterclockwise to go backwards. You'll notice the playback position on the timeline will move along with you. 

It took me a few tries to master this new technique after I found it, so don't get frustrated if you find yourself struggling as well. 

And be forewarned, there seems to be a bug in the current software. Instead of moving the playback spot in the same direction that you're circling the outer ring, the Apple TV moves forwards and backwards through the show you're watching. Talk about annoying. 

Hopefully that's something Apple will fix in a future software update to TVOS. Now that you've mastered this new feature, here are five more tricks for the new Siri Remote. Read our review of the Apple TV 4K if you're on the fence about getting one. And if you're new to Apple TV, here are some tricks to help you out.