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Tips to get the most out of your Apple TV and Siri Remote

Tips to get the most out of your Apple TV and Siri Remote

Connected Theater
November 2, 2015

Now that the new Apple TV has been released, early adopters have had a chance to go hands-on with the device for a few days. It’s definitely a nice set top box, even though it isn’t perfect. One of the shortcomings of the Apple TV is that the included manual is a bit short on details. To help you make the most of your purchase, here are some helpful tips for how to use the Siri Remote and the Apple TV’s settings to their fullest potentials.

Shortcuts for your Siri remote

There are quite a few shortcuts that you can perform with the Siri Remote, but you might be hard pressed to easily find a list of them. Here are the ones we’ve unearthed so far.


The touch surface

  • If you want to rearrange your app icons, hover over one of them and hold down the touch surface until the picture starts jiggling. Once that happens, you can swipe right, left, up, or down to move the icon where you want it to be. When you’ve got the icon where you want it, press the touch surface once to finish the process.
  • You can hover over any letter on the keyboard and hold down the touch surface to call up a contextual menu. This is a great way to use uppercase letters, accents, and even the backspace key.
  • If you hover over a song and hold down the touch surface, you’ll get a different contextual menu with Apple Music options.
  • A faster swipe on the touch surface will give you faster on-screen scrolling, because the Siri Remote supports accelerated swiping.

The Menu button

  • If you press the Menu button once, you’ll go back a screen.
  • When you press the Menu button twice quickly from the Home screen, the screensaver will start.
  • If you need to restart your Apple TV, holding the Menu and Home buttons at the same time will do that.

The Home button

  • No matter where you are, pressing the Home button once will take you back to the Home screen.
  • If you press the Home button twice quickly, you can access the App Switcher. You can then swipe up on Siri Remote’s touch surface to force close an app.
  • Three presses of the Home button in quick succession will access VoiceOver.
  • If you want to put your Apple TV in Sleep mode, just hold down the Home button until the screen goes black.

Siri button

  • Hold down the Siri button and speak to use the voice-powered capabilities of your Apple TV.
  • Press the Siri button once and then wait, and she will give you a list of commands you can use.

Play/Pause button

  • When you’re in the on-screen keyboard, pressing the Play/Pause button once will change between lower case and upper case letters.
  • Pressing the Play/Pause button once in wiggle mode will delete an app.
  • If you hold down the Play/Pause button for between five and seven seconds, you’ll return to the Apple Music app.

Apple TV settings

When you want to really personalize your device and get more information, the Settings app is where you need to go. Here are just a few things you can do from Settings.

General settings

  • I like renaming my devices, and you can do that with the Apple TV, too. Just go to Settings > AirPlay > Apple TV Name.
  • If you want to know the network signal strength, you can see that in Settings > General > About.
  • You can even use your universal remote with the new Apple TV. Set it up under Settings > Remotes and Devices > Learn Remote, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

More Siri Remote settings

  • Think the Siri Remote’s touch surface is too sensitive or not enough? Adjust it in Settings > Remotes and Devices > Touch Surface Tracking.
  • If you don’t like the triple-press Home button accessibility shortcut, you can change it. Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut.
  • Want to see your Siri Remote’s battery level? Pay a visit to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth.
  • Your Siri Remote can be used to adjust the volume of your TV and speakers using either infrared or HDMI-CEC. If your television offers full HDMI-CEC support, you can even have the Siri Remote turn your set on or off, changing to the correct HDMI input when you wake up your Apple TV. Sometimes, this pairing process happens automatically, but you may have to set it up manually. To do so, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Home Theater Control and access the Turn On Your TV and Volume Control menus.

Learn even more

If you want to learn even more about your new Apple TV, Cupertino has set up a good support page for the product. It includes sections on using your Apple TV, utilizing AirPlay and Wi-Fi, browsing and purchasing from the iTunes and App Store, and learning more about your Remote and other controllers.

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