The essential Apple TV Siri Remote usage guide

The little remote can do a lot

Apple, Apple TV, iOS, Siri

I’ve been using Apple TV for a few days, so thought it might be good to share some usage tips.


If you have multiple Apple TVs in your household you may want to rename them. On older models you do this in Settings>General>Name. This changes in the new Apple TV, where you must launch Settings>AirPlay and select Apple TV Name. Now, you can choose from some preset names provided there or choose Custom name to create your own. Now, your Apple TV will be easy to spot as an AirPlay device by your iOS devices.

The simple stuff


Press once: Go back one step

Press twice: Launches the screensaver


Press the home button for three seconds to return to the Home screen from wherever you are.

Fast swipe

Swipe fast on the remote and you get faster on-screen scrolling

Movie addicts

Watching a film and want to fast forward through the boring bits? Just press the right side of the touch surface to fast-forward by 10 seconds, or press the left side of the surface to go back 10 seconds. You can skip through chapters with a fast swipe, or slide your thumb slowly to scrub slowly through the action. Or just ask Siri to do it for you – you can also ask Siri questions about what you’re watching if it comes via iTunes.

Sound and video

If movie sound effects are making it hard to hear the dialog, just ask Siri to “Reduce Loud Sounds." You’ll be able to hear the characters talking and the kids won’t get woken up by the sounds of aliens escaping from District 9.

Enable subtitles

You can ask Siri (or just swipe down on the touch surface) while the movie is playing to invoke a video’s info window, where you can change some options.


You can hover over app icons, letters on the on-screen keyboard or a song title on the main Apple TV menu. When hovering over an item, a click on the touch surface invokes different features; it lets you access contextual Apple Music commands for songs or shift on screen app position, for example.

Mastering keyboard input

Search using the on-screen keyboard is a little awkward, but these tips should help a little:

Press Play/Pause once to change between upper- and lower-case

Hover over a letter and hold down the touch surface and the contextual menu  appears. This includes an easy to get to Delete button and a series of alternative letters, including capitals.

To use Siri

Press and hold down the Siri button.

To get some ideas about what you can ask Siri to do, just press the Siri button once. You can stop a show by saying “Pause," ask for films by studio, ask questions about stock and more.

App management

On an app icon, hold down the touch surface until the icon shakes. Now you can swipe in any direction to rearrange the app icon position.

To get rid of an app, select it as above and press the Play/Pause button once to delete the app.

Another way to get rid of unwanted apps is to open Settings>General>Manage Storage. This list shows how much storage space each app is using and lets you delete those apps by tapping the trash icon to the right of the app name.

App Switcher

To get to the App Switcher (just like on any iOS device this displays all currently active apps) press the Home button twice in rapid succession. Swipe up on the touch surface to force close an app.

Apple Music

Hover over a song name and you can access a range of contextual commands for the track. If you exit Apple Music for any reason, you can easily return to it by holding the Play/Pause button for 5-7 seconds, when music is playing.


You manage VoiceOver in Settings. Here you can set your system up so you can invoke your choice of VoiceOver, Zoom, Closed Captions or Audio descriptions just by triple clicking the Home button.


Activate the screensaver by rapidly pressing the Menu button three times.


Press and hold the Home button to put Apple TV in Sleep mode.

Restart Apple TV

Press and hold the Menu and Home buttons simultaneously, and release them when the LED on your Apple TV starts flashing.

Battery level

You can easily check Siri Remote battery level in Settings>Remotes and Devices>Bluetooth.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

Got a story?Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon