‘Find My Remote’ Could Be Coming to the New Apple TV After All (At Least Siri Seems to Think So)

Apple TV 4K Siri Remote Credit: Apple
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With so much buzz around Apple’s new Find My network, not to mention its own long-awaited AirTags that will finally be arriving in stores (and in our hands) today, it felt like a colossal omission when the completely redesigned Siri Remote on the new Apple TV 4K didn’t get invited to the party.

It was an even more inexplicable omission when you consider that Apple was supposedly already working on it as far back as last fall. While a Bluetooth LE style object locator would be pointless for something like a remote control — you generally always know it’s somewhere in your house — the new U1-powered Find My network seems like it was made exactly for this purpose.

In fact, Apple used the all-too-common scenario of finding something buried in the couch cushions during the AirTag segment of its event last week, except in this case it was talking about lost keys rather than a lost remote. However, once the protagonist of the story dived into his couch, a wealth of lost remotes could be seen right in the midst of the wasteland of stuff.

We can’t think of a more perfect setup for Apple to announce that the new Apple TV remote would also support Find My, and yet… nothing. There was no mention of it at all, and when the specs page for the new Apple TV went up, there was no indication that the new Siri Remote would have anything like a U1 chip.

It’s also not like this should have been all that complicated to bake into the Siri Remote. After all, AirTags are only slightly larger than a quarter, and sell for $29 a piece; the Siri Remote sells for $59 on its own. As John Gruber of Daring Fireball points out, the only logical explanation for this is “Apple’s siloed culture” — the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

I can only chalk this up to Apple’s siloed culture — perhaps the team designing the new remote had no idea what the AirTag/Find My teams were up to, and no one thought to bring them together.

John Gruber

One More Thing?

Thanks to Siri’s inability to keep a secret, however, a curious 9to5Mac reader has discovered that a “Find My Siri Remote” feature may still be in the works.

It turns out that asking Siri to “Find my Apple TV Remote” or “Find my Siri Remote” will elicit a very specific response of “You don’t have any Siri Remotes linked to your iCloud account.”

Note that this same reference to “Siri Remotes” is returned regardless of whether you ask for “Apple TV Remote” or “Siri Remote,” so it’s not simply a generic response quoting back what you just said. In fact, if you ask Siri to simply “Find my remote,” it will respond by saying “That type of device can’t be set up in the Find My app.”

The same goes for other known, but unsupported devices like “Find My Apple TV.” Asking for items that could be attached to AirTags, however, or may have their own built-in Find My network support, such as bicycles or keys, will simply result in Siri telling you that “You don’t have any items set up in the Find My app.”

Most significantly, though, is that requests for known Apple devices that do support Find My actually give the same response as a request for the Siri Remote. For example, if you don’t have any iPod touch devices on your account, asking Siri to “Find My iPod touch” will tell you that “You don’t have any iPod touch linked to your account.” Grammatical awkwardness aside, this clearly reflects that the assistant knows about the Siri Remote as a device that could be part of your Find My collection.

Again, this differs from making requests for Apple devices that don’t support Find My. Ask Siri to find an Apple Pencil or an Apple TV, and you’ll be flatly told that type of device isn’t compatible, but ask for an “Apple TV Remote” or “Siri Remote” and you get the same response you would if you asked for an iPad, Mac, or iPod touch that isn’t set up for Find My.

To be clear, this is also most definitely new behaviour on Siri’s part. Making the same request on an iPhone running iOS 14.4 will result in Siri telling you that it’s simply not possible. Siri also responds the same way in the first iOS 14.6 beta, so Apple hasn’t decided to remove it either.

Still, it’s difficult to say exactly what this means at this point. Since Apple doesn’t seem to have held anything back at least week’s event, it’s hard to believe they’d be saving a Find My compatible Siri Remote for some kind of big reveal. While this isn’t inconceivable, it would be a bit odd.

The more likely explanation is that Apple wanted to bring Find My to the new Siri Remote, and even laid some of the groundwork for it, but for whatever reason couldn’t get it done in time, and obviously wasn’t about to delay the new Apple TV and Siri Remote just for this one feature.

There’s also the possibility that Apple could offer a Find My compatible Siri Remote as an upsell at some point in the future. We certainly hope this isn’t the case, of course, as the new Siri Remote already costs $59 as it is, but unless Apple plans to release yet another new Apple TV in the near future, that does seem to be the only way we’d be able to get Find My in a Siri Remote — assuming of course it’s not already there and just waiting to be switched on in a software update, which is a certainly a distinct third possibility.

Either way, with the new Apple TV 4K available for pre-order today and expected to begin arriving on people’s doorsteps by May 21, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out whether it’s there now or not.

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