How to bring back old password-entry grid on fourth-generation Apple TV

“To me, the new software keyboard in tvOS is absolutely the biggest pain point and a major step back from the old password-entry grid on previous Apple TV models,” Christian Zibreg reports for iDownloadBlog.

“As ridiculous as it sounds, Apple has opted to put all the characters in a single line, two-row layout,” Zibreg reports. “This isn’t just odd from a user experience standpoint, the new keyboard design in tvOS is a lot slower and clunkier to maneuver than the previous grid-style one.”

“And with the amount of passwords needing entering in third-party video apps, it’s especially annoying and cumbersome,” Zibreg reports. “But as it turns out, there’s a way to bring back the old password-entry grid to speed up typing those passwords.”

How to bring back old password-entry grid on fourth-generation Apple TV here.

MacDailyNews Take: Salvation!

There are no two ways about it, Apple should have had the Remote app ready for Apple TV at launch. They could have avoided this thread of bad press that runs through reviews of the new Apple TV and the Siri Remote with a weekend’s worth of coding. The inexplicable absence of a working Remote app for Apple TV 4 is all the more galling because controlling our previous Apple TV units with Apple’s Remote app on our iPhones, iPads, and most especially on Apple Watches is so sublime!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “GlassHollow” for the heads up.]


  1. You’d think those with a TouchID device could use it to log in. I mean come on. Having to ask friends or some family members to look away while you type in your passcode on a 50″ screen…?
    This seems like such a “Doh!” oversight.

  2. Here’s what I’d like to see…I bought 4 new 4th gen machines and each one has to be configured individually!!! ARGH. That is userid/password hell. App by app, download, activate, userid/password, etc. It was a couple hours of tech nightmares It would be great if you could program one and then stack the others on top of each other and let the units copy apps and programming using bluetooth. You can do this already between the iPhone and ATV to load initial settings. I also might be in the minority, but I’m not in love with the new remote. The width is too small and it’s awkward to hold – and given that all things apple are smooth and slippery, I can’t keep the damn thing in my hands. And since we’re discussing shortcomings (ww were, right?), the Remote App is sorely missed and the lack of a usable App Store is just baffling. OK, deep breath, despite the rant, I love the improvements and look forward to the bright future I’m sure Apple has planned for us with the ATV.

  3. This guy is absolutely wrong. The single line input is much easier than the clunky grid method. However, neither one of those is easier than the Remote app keyboard or Siri input. Get going Apple, these should have been there at the beginning!

    1. How can you can call me “wrong” when I’m reporting my results with my equipment with my timed tests? I may be many things, but I’m not wrong about this: For me, the silver remote with the grid is the proven faster and more accurate method. There’s nothing right or wrong about that, it’s just what it is for me.

      If you have different results, that’s fine and completely believable. It does not, however, make me wrong. It makes my use case different than your use case, and that’s all.


      1. It’s a subjective argument and neither position takes away from the fact that you’re having to work AROUND Apple which is supposed to be working for you. I returned my Apple TV with lessons learned and got an Amazon Fire Stick. It’s ok – better than the ATV4 with all of its failures and disappointments but I still hold that the ATV4 hardware is the best if Apple will EVER get off their asses and stop releasing beta crap software that does highlight the capabilities of the fantastic improvements in the hardware. Add to that the interface issues that made it unreadable for some and it was a debacle for many of us. The point though is that you guys are squabbling over tidbits while Apple has sold you a block of gold wrapped in a turd. My own subjective opinion there.

  4. MDN:Salvation!

    …I assume that’s sarcasm?

    MDN:controlling our previous Apple TV units with Apple’s Remote app on our iPhones, iPads, and most especially on Apple Watches is so sublime!

    I never used the Apple Remote app with my older-gen Apple TV. I used the grid-style on screen keyboard, which for the record, is also a huge pain in the ass.

    I don’t know why MDN would even link this article. It’s not a solution to the 4th Gen problem, it’s the kind of thing a Packard Bell tech support person would tell you to do. “Yes sir, I have one and I have this problem all the time. It’s really infuriating. Let me tell you what I do at home…”

    1. Did I say it was a solution? All I said was “bring back the grid to the 4th generation Apple TV.” I know it’s not a solution; that’s why I listed two solutions at the end of the article.

      But for me, it’s the much-better method for inputting passwords on the Apple TV.


      1. Hi Rob,

        This is what I’m saying — the best solution to this badly designed product seems to be a weak-sauce hack. I imagine you would be embarrassed as a support professional if you had to suggest this solution to a customer.

  5. Exactly how many times have you had to enter passwords? IIRC I only had to do it twice, iTunes and Netflix, and have not had to enter them since.
    This seems like a lot of whining about an activity that mostly is needed in the set up.

    1. ..and each content app (remember, the future of TV is APPS!). And each game. And sometimes when you update. Especially if you change a quality setting in something like Netflix. And when you configure photo streams. And…and…and…

    2. But have you used that nifty little on-screen keyboard to search for something? The keyboard is NOT a password entry interface. It’s the interface to lots of functions throughout the POORLY DESIGNED DEVICE.

  6. A bit late to chime in on this article, but I do it anyway.

    I personally like the new input layout. Wouldn’t bother me if it were two lines instead of one, but it is much faster and easier for me. As you get used to throwing the cursor around on ATV4, it’s much better. Admittedly, the Remote App is needed, but I’m happier with the new layout than with the old.

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