Apple’s new, free Apple TV Remote app is a major leap forward

“Apple launched the new Apple TV Remote app to iOS users on Monday. The app is actually a separate app from the remote app users might have previously used to control their Apple TV, so it’ll require a new download instead of just an update,” Don Reisinger writes for Fortune. “Regardless, the app, which Apple touted earlier this year at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is a must-have for anyone who doesn’t want to hold a physical controller in-hand to navigate through the Apple TV interface.”

“Once booted up, the app automatically connects to second-, third-, and fourth-generation Apple TV units. In my case, the app automatically found my units and connected to them over Wi-Fi for instant control. Then I was able to choose which of my two Apple TVs to control,” Reisinger writes. “Upon choosing my Apple TV, I was brought to a simple screen where I could click a large Menu button, pause and play content, access the home screen, and ask Siri for all kinds of things, including movies to watch, songs to listen to, and more. I was also able to toggle on a Game Mode to get full touchscreen-based game controls on my iPhone.”

“The free Apple TV Remote app is a major leap over the previous Apple remote app, and it’s one I’ll be using,” Reisinger writes. “The hardware remote Apple launched last year with its latest Apple TV is nice and all, but it’s no match for an iPhone outfitted with one of the better apps Apple has launched in a long time.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Siri Remote is nice and all (when you have it right side up, not upside-down — BAD design choices abound on that thing, Jony! — and when it’s not lost between the sofa cushions).

Use this new Apple TV Remote app and you’ll love your Apple TV even more!


  1. Yes..the design of the physical remote is poor..between the grabbing it upside down (seems to always happen), and location of the Siri can be clumsy.

  2. The inability to tell which way is up is pretty close to a deal-breaker for the Siri hardware remote. Would it really have been that hard to put something tactile on the back, so a user can determine the orientation without staring at the remote? Having said that, I have downloaded the new app and it is pretty great.

  3. The physical remote is fashion over function.

    If that design was submitted in design school, it would get a F for poor ergonomics. You have to hate form follows function to have come up with that ATV4 remote.

    1. I have an older (3rd gen) Apple TV, which I’m quite happy to continue to use. I use it with the old white plastic Apple Remote that came with an iMac (it magnetically attached to the side of the iMac). It feels better in my hand compared to the sharp-edged metal one, and I can feel the buttons more easily without looking; it works perfectly with my Apple TV.

      Since this new remote app is compatible with my older Apple TV, I’ll give it a try on my 5th gen iPod touch. 🙂

  4. What I can never figure out is…the iPhone makes a crappy remote unless it’s all you’ve got…..To use the iPhone you have to punch way too many keys to ket to where you need to be….with a physical remote…all you have to do is pick it up and hit that one or two buttons….The only remote I use from my iPhone is the Original “remote” that I use to control my iTunes on my music playback system because I can see the Artist/Album or Song I want ….otherwise iPhone remotes are inconvenient…

    1. Since you are probably wondering why people are voting you low without comment, I’ll comment for you.

      Have you ever tried searching for a YouTube video on your AppleTV? Or Netflix? Or even iTunes?

      That’s really enough explanation. It is not anywhere close to being one or two buttons. It is a major pain in the neck using that onscreen “keyboard” to search. *That* is inconvenient!

      Of course, if you are only using your AppleTV to listen to iTunes, then you are correct. But even there, you admit to using your iPhone as the remote.

  5. MDN..
    Bet you anything the Apple remote is designed that way so that in a future itteration both end sufaces will be touch and force enabled.
    Making it a two joystick equivalent for two thumb action.
    The remote when rotated horizontsly will trigger second sufaces.. Or a small switch will turn on 2 suface mode.
    Written apple about this right after the tv4 release.

    As for recognizing top and bottom, I have put 2 very thin strips of pinstriping on tge yop and bottom edges.
    One neon green on right.. And red on left( present top )
    I suggested a similar solution to Apple… using led or similar low power lights or reflective colored ends..

    An additional enhancment would be to add some embossed symbols on the buttons.. For tactile feel of which button ones finger is on without looking.

    I have written apple about all the above..
    But i believe the two thumb thing has been in their plan from the get go.

  6. Cannot access macs like the old app. So none of my ripped music is available. Apple is just making it hard for users by eliminating what was a user friendly experience if you had an existing library. I guess ill stop updating and use old versions. Apple has done away with power users. Now they just want to use their power.

  7. I had to buy the remote cover with lanyard to solve the which-end- is-up problem. I agree very poor design. I always wondered why apple didn’t also include the choice to mimic/mirror/reformat the apple tv screen in the apple remote app. That way I can make my choices from another room or not have to look at the screen. A favorites view showing the apps I use always could be there. Even better, allow me to set a date and time for the appletv to turn on and start an app/movie! Come on Apple, think!!!!!!

  8. For those of us who have problems knowing which way is up on the actual remote, go out and get some color tape and put a piece on the TOP of the remote. Now you can glance at it and know which way is up.

    1. I thought that people liked the fact that Apple doesn’t put stickers on their products. If users feel the need to add stickers in order to use the Apple Remote efficiently, then there is clearly a design problem.

  9. I put two of those tiny silicon bottom of a hard drive feet on the underside front of the remote.

    But I agree, the design in terms of usability is absurd.

    1) black so you can find it in a dark room and which way is up? The thing should have a glow-in-the-dark dot on the top so you know which way is up and which side is correct.

    2) still a deep diver in the cushions. I need a find beep on my iWatch for it more than my phone.

    3) and yes, I hit the Siri button trying to pause more than any other mistake.

    1. As I recommended above,
      “Just stick a little Velcro coin on the back and you’ll always know (even in the dark) which way is up and which side is the front.”
      The dot can be toward the top or bottom (your preference) so your fingers can always feel which way to hold it.

    2. Re number 3….. Why dont you use the touch surface for pause and play… Very little chance of activating siri.

      Re number 2 ….. great idea.. Write apple feed back and tell them to add the option to apple watch ! 🙂

  10. The new remote app could use a reminder telling you which Apple TV you are hooked to. I have four (two 3rd gen and two 4th gen) and when you start the app and are in the touch screen section, you have no way to know which device you are ‘using’.

    Can’t believe this got past testing.

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