The Apple TV remote is a simple piece of gadgetry, but it packs a punch considering that each button can do multiple things. Here are some Apple TV remote tips and tricks that you should know in order to take your Apple TV game to the next level.

A Quick Tour of the Apple TV Remote

Before we dive deep into all the cool stuff that you can do with your Apple TV remote, it’s probably a good idea to look at what all the buttons are.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get on with all of the cool tips and tricks!

Manually Activate the Screensaver

While you can just wait a few minutes for the Apple TV’s screensaver to come on, you can activate it manually by just double-clicking the Menu button while you’re on the home screen.

Switch Between and Force Close Apps

The Apple TV has an app switcher similar to what iOS has on the iPhone and iPad. You can activate it by double-clicking the Home button on the Apple TV remote. Once activated, you can use the trackpad to swipe between apps.

To force close an app, navigate to it, and then swipe up.

Skip Forward or Backward by 10 Seconds

Clicking the right and left edges of the trackpad skip a video forward or backward by 10 second increments with each click.

If you rest your thumb on either edge, a small 10-second icon appears on the video’s timeline at the bottom, denoting that you have the proper placement to click down and skip forward or backward.

Quickly Scrub Through Video

You also can scrub through a video quickly in order to get to a specific spot. Simply pause the video, and then swipe in either direction on the trackpad to scrub forward or backward.

Swipe Down for Hidden Settings

While a video is playing, you can swipe down on the trackpad to bring up some hidden settings related to that video, such as more info about the video, subtitles, and audio settings.

Make Quick Effort of Keyboard Input

While I highly recommend using Siri’s voice-to-text feature when inputting text on the Apple TV, you can still type things manually. There are also a couple of tricks for making this easier.

If you click the Play/Pause button during keyboard input, it quickly switches between upper and lowercase letters. If you click and hold down on the trackpad, it brings up alternative characters, as well as quick access to the backspace key.

Instantly Put Your Apple TV in Sleep Mode

You can always go into settings and put your Apple TV in Sleep Mode that way. But it’s even easier to just click and hold down the Home button until the “Sleep Now?” confirmation pops up. Just hit “OK” there to send your Apple TV to sleep.

Instantly Reboot Your Apple TV

Just like with the previous trick, you can head into settings to reboot your Apple TV, but there’s a simpler and quicker way. Hold down the Home and Menu buttons at the same time until the light on your Apple TV begins blinking. This forces your Apple TV to reboot.

Rearrange and Delete Apps on the Home Screen

Just like on iOS, the Apple TV lets you rearrange apps how you see fit. Just hover over the app you want to move, and then click and hold down the trackpad. The app will begin wiggling, and from there you can swipe on the trackpad to move it to where you want it.

While in this mode, you can also click on the Play/Pause button to bring up more options for the selected app, such as deleting it or moving it into a specific folder.

Check the Battery Level of the Remote

While the Apple TV remote’s battery lasts for quite a while, you can check how much battery life it has left anytime you want. Navigate to Settings > Remotes and Devices. Next to “Remote” will be an icon displaying the battery level. If you want a specific percentage, you can click “Remote” and see the actual percentage.

Adjust the Trackpad’s Sensitivity

The trackpad might feel super sensitive to you, but that’s something you can adjust. Head to Settings > Remotes and Devices, and then select the “Touch Surface Tracking” option. You’ll be able to select from Fast, Medium, or Slow, with Slow being the least sensitive.

Change What the Home Button Does

The Home button on the Apple TV remote was strictly meant as a true Home button, just like that on the iPhone or iPad. However, with the addition of the TV app, users have been able to map the Home button as an actual Home button or as shortcut to the TV app.

Head to Settings > Remotes and Devices, and then select the “Home Button” option to change what the Home button does.

Control Your Television with the Apple TV Remote

The Volume buttons on the Apple TV remote don’t do anything out of the box. They’re meant to control the volume of your TV so that you don’t have to use a separate remote, but you have to set that up.

Go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Volume Control, and then use the options there to set it up. We have a great guide that takes you through the whole process.

Furthermore, if your TV supports HDMI-CEC, you can have your TV turn on and off every time you put your Apple TV to sleep. And, we have another great guide for this.

Wrap a Rubber Band on the Bottom of the Remote

This last tip is a bit of an obscure one, but it can make a huge difference. The Apple TV remote has six identically shaped buttons right in its center, making it hard to tell which way its oriented without actually looking at it (apparently this has been a pet peeve of many Apple TV owners).

If you wrap a small rubber band around the bottom of the remote (or apply a sticker or whatever), you can immediately its orientation when you pick it up. The rubber band also prevents the remote from easily sliding around on your coffee table.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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