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Easy Steps to Control Your Apple TV Without a Remote: Discover How

Discover how to control your Apple TV without a physical remote through this comprehensive guide. Learn how to leverage your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch as an alternative remote. From accessing built-in Remote app in iOS Control Center to installing third-party apps, explore all your options with step-by-step instructions. Embrace the convenience and customization today!

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Published Jan 29, 2024

Ever lost your Apple TV remote and felt a wave of panic wash over you? We've all been there. But don't worry, you're not out of options. You can still connect to your Apple TV, even without that elusive remote.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to get you back to your binge-watching in no time. Whether it's using your iPhone or iPad as a remote, or some other nifty tricks, we've got you covered. So let's dive in, shall we?

Using Your iPhone or iPad as a Remote

Using Your iPhone or iPad as a Remote

Did you know, there's a nifty little feature tucked away in your iPhone or iPad that transforms it into a remote for your Apple TV? Yes, it's true, and don't worry, you're not alone if you were unaware of this hidden gem within your iOS devices.

Apple, in its infinite wisdom, has integrated a Remote app in the Control Center of iOS devices, making it incredibly simple to operate your Apple TV directly from your iPhone or iPad. This feature is remarkably practical considering there's a good chance you already have one of these devices within arm's reach at any given moment.

To ensure smooth sailing, ensure your iOS device and Apple TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If not, take a moment to adjust your settings accordingly.

Let's get started on how to make this happen:

1. Access the Control Center

Slide up from the bottom of your screen (or pull down from the top right corner for iPhone X or newer) to reveal the Control Center.

2. Locate the "Remote" button

You'll find a button labeled "Remote" among the various icons in the Control Center.

3. Select your Apple TV

Tap the "Remote" icon, and a list of devices will appear. Choose your Apple TV.

Voila! Your iPhone or iPad is now acting as your Apple TV remote. You'll notice the familiar buttons like 'Menu' and 'Play/Pause' right there on your screen.

The power of your Apple TV is now in the palm of your hand, quite literally. You can get back to watching your favorite shows, movies, or streaming the latest viral videos using your iOS device as the remote.

Isn't technology wonderful?

Using Another Apple Device as a Remote

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In this era of technology, it's amazing how one device can control another, creating a seamless link between them. If you're in a situation where you've lost your Apple TV remote, fret not. You can utilize your very own iPhone or iPad as a remote, providing you stay within the same Wi-Fi network range.

Apple ingeniously integrated Remote app functionality into the Control Center of your iOS device. This means you don’t have to search and download any third-party apps to gain control over your Apple TV.

Accessing the Control Center

Accessing the Control Center on your iPhone or iPad is quick and straightforward. If you're operating an iPhone X or later models, or an iPad with iOS 12 or later, swipe down from the top right of your screen. For iPhone 8 or earlier models, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Once you're in the Control Center, locate and click on the Remote button. This way, you've now unlocked a new power – the ability to control your Apple TV directly from your iPhone or iPad.

Connecting to Your Apple TV

After opening the Remote, your device now displays available Apple TVs within range. Simply select your Apple TV, and you're good to connect. Note that if it's the first time you're connecting your iOS device to Apple TV, an on-screen prompt to enter a 4-digit code will pop up. Enter this code on your iOS device, and you're good to go.

Gone are the days you had to worry about misplacing your Apple TV remote. By harnessing the power of your existing devices, Apple gives you the convenience of practicing "remoteless" viewing. The only necessity is having your iPhone or iPad nearby, and even better, the buttons displayed on the Remote app are just as familiar as those on a physical remote.

Downloading a Third-Party Remote App

If the built-in Remote app in your iOS device doesn't quite hit the spot, not to worry. There are plenty of third-party remote options for controlling your Apple TV. These apps are designed to add more versatility and customization allowing you to elevate your Apple TV experience.

Let's walk you through finding, downloading, and setting up a third-party remote app on your iPhone or iPad.

Firstly, you need to fire up the App Store on your device. You know the drill, just tap the blue icon with the white "A" located on your home screen. Next, use the search bar at the bottom to search for "Apple TV remote apps". A generous list of apps will appear on your screen. Be sure to pay attention to user ratings and reviews to get some insights about the app's reliability and functionality.

Once you've decided on an app, just hit that "Get" button. You'll likely have to input your Apple ID password or use your device's Touch ID or Face ID to download the app.

Getting the app onto your device is the easy part. Once the downloading and installing shenanigans are done, open the app. You'll typically see an intro screen, followed by a sequence of setup steps. These steps might vary depending on the app you've chosen; however, they'll generally guide you to connect your iPhone or iPad with your Apple TV.

Eventually, you'll reach a screen that lets you control your Apple TV. Sure, the changes might feel a bit strange initially, but these third-party apps are designed to be intuitive. So, soon enough you'll be breezing through your favorite Apple TV content like a pro.

Just remember, patience is key when adapting to a new app. If you're not satisfied with your first option, there's nothing stopping you from trying out different apps until you find your favorite.

The world of Apple TV remote apps extends far beyond the limits of the inbuilt Remote app. With the right third-party app, you'll unlock endless possibilities for controlling your Apple TV.

Using Apple TV Remote on Your Apple Watch

Innovation in Apple's ecosystem doesn't stop at your iPhone or iPad. Have you ever thought about using your Apple Watch as a remote? Yes, indeed, your watch can take on this role. Apple Watch has the ability to control your Apple TV, offering another convenient way to manage your media playback.

To get started, download the Apple TV Remote app on your Apple Watch. This can be done by opening the Watch app on your iPhone.

Here are curated steps for a quick setup:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Tap on My Watch
  3. Swipe down and locate the Remote app
  4. Enter into the Remote app
  5. Tap on Add Device.

Following this, an on-screen prompt will appear on your iPhone asking you to enter the four-digit code displayed on your Apple TV screen. Once entered, your Apple Watch becomes a fully functioning remote for your Apple TV.

It's noteworthy to mention that all the controls you're accustomed to including play/pause, forward/reverse, and menu selection, are featured on your wrist. By familiarizing yourself with the layout, navigation becomes easy and intuitive. The Digital Crown can be used to scroll through menus and select options on screen.

By now, you may be marvelling at how many options there are to connect and control your Apple TV. If you thought it stopped with iPhone, iPad, and macOS, you'll be surprised at how your Apple Watch gets into the mix. The power at your disposal with these different remote options ensures that your interaction with your TV remains a cinch.

Evidently, Apple devices create a harmonious ecosystem that allows seamless control across every platform. No stone is left unturned when it comes to providing you with convenience. So, the next time you can't locate your Apple TV remote, don't break a sweat. Your Apple Watch has got your back.


You've now got the know-how to control your Apple TV without the traditional remote. Whether it's through your iPhone, iPad, or even your Apple Watch, you've got options. The built-in Remote app in your iOS device's Control Center offers an easy and familiar way to navigate your Apple TV. For more customization, third-party remote apps are there for you. And let's not forget, your Apple Watch can also step in as a handy remote. Each method brings its own unique benefits, giving you the freedom to choose what works best for you. So next time your Apple TV remote goes missing, don't sweat it. You're more than equipped to take control without it.

1. How can I use my iPhone as a remote for my Apple TV?

Your iPhone can be used as an Apple TV remote through the Remote app available in the Control Center. Simply access the Control Center, find the "Remote" button, and select your Apple TV.

2. Can I use a third-party remote app for my Apple TV?

Yes, third-party remote apps for Apple TV are available in the App Store. The article discusses how to download and set up these apps.

3. Is using an iOS device as a remote for Apple TV convenient?

Yes, using an iOS device as a remote is very convenient. The on-screen buttons are familiar and easy to use, making operation simple.

4. Can I use my Apple Watch as a remote for my Apple TV?

Absolutely! The article provides guidance on how to download the Apple TV Remote app on your Apple Watch and set it up.

5. Are the remote options for Apple TV versatile?

Yes, the options for Apple TV remotes are quite versatile, allowing you to customize your remote preferences according to your needs.

This article was originally published on 29 Jan 2024 but has been regularly updated to keep the information current.
Kyle Crisp
Kyle has been using Apple products for over 25 years. He loves helping people learn how to use their Apple devices.
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