How to Check and Recharge the Apple TV Remote

The new 2015-edition Apple TV features a brand new remote with a new battery system and a new way to charge it. Read how to check the remote’s battery level and charge it back up.

What’s New With The 2015 Apple Remote

Previous editions of the Apple TV remote were powered by coin-cell battery and would frequently go years without needing a replacement. This was largely on account of how limited the functionality of the old Apple TV remotes were and how little you did with them besides simply selecting media and playing it. (Regular television remotes, likewise, often go years without battery changes too.)

Now that Apple TV has matured into it’s own tvOS and includes an App Store with games as well as a remote packed with a microphone for voice-control via Siri as well as sensors and a trackpad, the battery life is a bit shorter: Apple estimates under normal use the remote will require recharging once every three months. If you use the remote frequently for gaming, however, you’ll certainly need to charge it sooner.

Fortunately you don’t need to run out and bulk buy coin-cell batteries, the new remote has an lithium ion battery and charges up much like your iPhone and other iOS devices. Let’s take a look at how it works.

Checking the Apple TV Remote Charge Level

If you wish to check the Apple TV remote charge level, you can do so by visiting the Bluetooth menu where the charge level is displayed.

To manually check the remote charge level navigate, starting on the home screen, to the “Settings” menu as seen above.

From the “Settings” menu, select the entry for “Remotes and Devices” (if you’ve followed along with our Apple TV game controller tutorial you already know this menu well).

Within the “Remotes and Devices” menu, select “Bluetooth”.

Within the “Bluetooth” menu you’ll see an entry for the default remote, labeled simple “Remote” with a battery indicator showing the charge amount.

The only other time you’ll see any indicator related to the remote is a very brief indicator in the upper corner that shows when the remote reconnects after a period of idleness or if the battery is low.

Recharging The Apple TV Remote

Speaking of low batteries, how do you charge the Apple TV remote? Unlike the previous generations wherein you’d pop out a little drawer and put a fresh coin cell battery in, instead, thanks to the aforementioned lithium-ion battery inside, you charge it much like your charge any iOS device.

Located at the very bottom of the remote is a little lightning port, just like the ones found on modern iPhones and iPads. The Apple TV ships with a lightning cable (on the off chance that you’re not already an Apple consumer with a handful of them laying around) and you can recharge your Apple Remote by plugging it into a port on your computer or any USB wall charger.

For the curious, even if you have a USB-C to lightning cable on hand, you can’t hijack the USB-C port on the back of the Apple TV to charge your remote (as practical and device-centric as that would be); the USB-C port on the Apple TV is for diagnostic and trouble shooting purposes only.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.