Like with most Apple products, the Siri Remote that comes with the new fourth-generation Apple TV is straightforward and simple to use; but in true Apple fashion, there is tons of extra functionality just below that simple surface for those who want to dig in.
Let’s take a look at what’s underneath the surface of the Siri Remote and figure out how to get the most out of your new Apple TV.
You won’t be able to take advantage of any neat features if your Siri Remote is dead, so let’s start off by looking at a battery tip. The Siri Remote comes with a Lightning port for charging the battery, which Apple says will last for months with a single charge, but they have included a clever way to check your remote’s battery life on the Apple TV.
To check how much juice is left in your remote, go to Settings/Remotes and Devices/Bluetooth on your Apple TV. As the picture shows, this page displays how much battery life is left in your remote and presumably whatever Bluetooth device you have connected. The only caveat is that you can only get a general idea of how much juice you have left because there is not a percentage option.
The TV Button
The Siri Remote features a button with a TV icon just to the right of the Menu button. This clever addition can save you some extra clicks because it always takes you back to the Apple TV’s main screen no matter where you are, but you probably already know that. What you may not have figured out yet is that if you double tap on the TV icon an app switcher that is almost identical to the app switcher in iOS 8 pops up and makes it super easy to switch back and forth between apps.
On the old Apple TVs you had to go back to the home screen and poke around a bit just to get to the previous channel. This new app switcher is very welcome addition in tvOS that saves you the time that you’d rather be spending watching the newest episode of The Walking Dead.
The Remote is Universal
Well, the Siri Remote is kind of universal in the sense that it will turn on and off your actual television as well as the Apple TV. While this may seem like a minor feature this has been huge for me and I bet a lot of other people out there. What’s even better is if your TV support HDMI-CEC the remote should automatically set itself up with your television the first time you pair the remote with the Apple TV.
I used to get so frustrated with the fact that I had to use two different remotes just to use my Apple TV. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sat down and grabbed either my television remote or the old Apple Remote only to realize the other one I needed was across the room on the other couch or worse no where to be seen. Yes, this old set up made me less lazy, but man was it annoying. The addition of this functionality in the Siri Remote is really exciting.
To turn both the Apple TV and your television on and off hold down the Home button on the Siri Remote a pop up will appear that asks if you want to put the Apple TV to sleep. Simply select Sleep and the Apple TV will go to bed and your television will turn off at the same time. To turn it back on, you guessed it, push the Home button again and both devices will turn back on and your television will be switched to the Apple TV input if it isn’t already which is another neat little feature.
Being able to navigate around your content is one of the most important functions of a remote and thankfully the Siri Remote provides plenty of options.
When a video is on, the glass trackpad is going to be your bread and butter to navigate around. If you drag your finger across the track pad you can scrub through a video, which is much more intuitive than fast forwarding or rewinding. Also, you can skip forwards or backwards 10 seconds by pressing on either the right or left side of the track pad.
While the trackpad is an excellent way to navigate through your videos, using Siri is the highlight feature. It is called the Siri Remote after all. Holding the microphone button activates Siri. Once activated, you can tell Siri to do things like “skip forward 1 minute,” or “play this video from the beginning.” The coolest feature, which Apple showed off during the Apple TV keynote, is to ask Siri, “what did she say?” if you missed a line of speech. The video will jump back to the beginning of that line of speech.
Wrapping it Up
I hope that you will find a few of these tips useful and keep in mind that the new Siri Remote has all sorts of neat little features so have fun playing around with it. Let us know about some useful tips and tricks you’ve discovered with the new Siri Remote in the comments.