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Tips and tricks for the new Apple TV's Siri Remote

Susie Ochs | Nov. 5, 2015
Apple kept the Siri Remote nice and simple, but it's got some extra powers you should know about.

If the automatic setup didn’t happen, it’s a good idea to dig into your TV’s own settings to make sure CEC is enabled—the trouble is, every TV manufacturer gives it their own silly name. My Toshiba TV from 2007 has it under the name Regza Link. Vizio wisely calls it CEC, but Sharp calls it Aquos Link, Sony calls it Bravia Sync, and so on. If you don’t recognize it in your TV’s menus, try searching Google for “[TV manufacturer] enable CEC.”

If your TV doesn’t support CEC at all, you’re not out of luck, because the Siri remote also has IR. Head to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Learn Remote, and you can use the prompts to set it up.


If your Siri Remote becomes unpaired somehow, hold it near your Apple TV, and hold down the Menu and plus buttons. You can only have one Siri Remote paired at a time, but how many of these $79 remotes are kicking around your house anyhow?

Navigate during playback

As a video is playing, you can scrub forward or backward with the Siri Remote, either by dragging your finger across the trackpad, or press the right side of the trackpad to go forward 10 seconds, and the left side to go back 10 seconds. (Skipping forward obviously doesn’t work during Hulu ads.)

You can even navigate with your voice. Just hold the microphone button and say, “Skip forward 30 seconds,” or “Go back 2 minutes,” or even “Play this from the beginning.” If you just missed a line of dialogue, try, “What did she say?” to jump back to the beginning of the actor’s speech.

appletv swipe down
Swipe down for more options. Press the right side of the trackpad to jump forward 10 seconds. Press the left side to jump back 10 seconds.

Extra video options

When you’re watching a video, you can give the trackpad a quick swipe down to access other options, like turning on subtitles, or choosing an AirPlay speaker to send audio to.

Navigating music

If you’re listening to music on your Apple TV, you can hold down the right side of the trackpad to fast-forward and the left side to rewind. You can also press the right side once to skip forward a song, and press the left side twice to go back a track.

After you press Play to start a song, you can still see the rest of the album or playlist by clicking once on the touchscreen. Swipe all the way up for the ellipses (…) button, which holds more options. In true Apple Music fashion, those options vary based on what you’re doing.


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