How to use any third-party remote with Apple TV

“The remote that comes with your Apple TV is definitely cool, but it’s small and fairly easy to lose. While you can use the Remote app for iOS, sometimes that’s not a great solution, either,” Brian Meyer writes for Apple Gazette. “A little-known feature of the Apple TV is that you can use just about any 3rd party remote control with it pretty easily. There’s no setup required for the remote itself, and just a few simple settings on the Apple TV.”

“Any remote will work with this feature, so as long as it has the basic buttons that you’ll find on the Apple remote, you’re set. This means that you can use a cable box remote or use a programmable remote control that’s set to just about any device out there,” Meyer explains. “All you need to know is that the remote sends a signal with you hit the directional buttons, back button, play/pause, and forward/backward.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I use a Logitech Harmony remote that can control my DVD, VCR, AV Receiver, TV, and Apple TV. It used to control my satellite receiver too, before I cancelled my service in favour of iTunes & Netflix.

    The Harmony remote can replace pretty well all the other remotes in your TV room. My friend uses his to also control his wireless light dimmer.

  2. That little ass remote was clearly designed by minimalist furniture freaks. It’s probably fine for Jony Ive who doesn’t have a couch or recliner, just a skinny metal bench and a little silver table in front of his TV in some giant white room that sounds like an empty warehouse when you walk along the hardwood floor.

    1. the echoes absorbed by wall-mounted baffles in prime number proportions, and gentled by the muted wind chimes and the whisper of a water feature near the Buddhist niche

    1. I hated my Harmony 1000. I disliked it so much, I went looking for alternatives and found an alternative I fell in love with. I can now control systems in three different rooms (each including an AppleTV) from any one of the iPhones or iPads we have in our pockets or around the house.

        1. iRule. It’s an enthusiast-oriented product, so ease-of-use is not like Harmony, but it’s much more powerful and extremely customizable, which is what attracted me to it. It takes some work to get set up, but in return I got the dream touch-panel control system I always wanted, but could never afford.

          Full disclosure: I work for the company. I was a beta-tester and customer long before I joined the team, though. I was also an Apple fan and user, and a reader of this site long before iRule existed.

  3. Why is this news? Are people just learning about this. I have my Apple TV gen 1 and gen 2 controlled by several different remotes so I can move them to different TVs if needed.

    1. This is news to many of us. I didn’t know about this ability and I consider myself rather well informed on the Apple products I own.
      Did Apple mention it in their manual or help file?

      I will definitely use this feature, and likely use my Apple TV more often as a result.

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