What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Apple TV Remote

There are a number of devices on the market that enable you to access all of what the world of streaming media has to offer. One of the most popular devices is the Apple TV. The unassuming black box made its debut ten years ago and has been at the forefront of digital content ever since.

While the Apple TV is a great device, its remote is one of the smallest we’ve ever seen. That means it’s all the more likely that it will get lost at one stage or another. If you’ve combed every corner and searched every nook and cranny of your house and still can’t find it, don’t fret. There are a number of ways to operate your Apple TV without the remote. Before we get started, be aware that even if you haven’t lost your Apple TV remote, it’s bound to happen. Since it’s not a matter of if but when, we recommend you have a backup plan ready to go in the form of one of the methods below.

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If you have an iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), then you already have a replacement Apple TV remote. Before you do anything, you might want to update your device to the latest iOS software. It’s an optional step, but it might help avoid headaches down the line.

With that out of the way, point your iOS device to the App Store and download the Apple TV Remote app. Next, ensure that your iOS device is on the same wireless network as your Apple TV. If it is, fire up the Apple TV Remote app on your iOS device. You should see the name of your Apple TV displayed on the screen of your device. Go ahead and tap on it to begin the pairing process. If you are presented with a four-digit code on your TV screen, punch it in to finalize the pairing process.

Using a Bluetooth keyboard may be more cumbersome than the sleek Apple TV remote, but it adds functionality. You’ll notice that inputting text is a breeze on a keyboard as opposed to painstakingly navigating to each individual letter. The wireless aluminum Apple Keyboards and most third-party Bluetooth keyboards will work. That being said, check with the manufacturer to make sure it’s compatible before you rush out and buy one.

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There is one catch when using a Bluetooth keyboard. You’ll need a way to navigate the menus of your Apple TV in order to set it up. Since you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ve lost your remote, which poses a problem. A simple workaround would be to download the Apple TV Remote app as described above. Once you have the Bluetooth keyboard set up, you can then uninstall the Remote app from your iOS device if you wish.

Before you get started, make sure your Apple TV is running tvOS 9.2 or later. Next, turn on your keyboard and put it in discovery mode. If you’re not sure how to do this, refer to the instructions that came with your keyboard. If you have a 4th generation Apple TV, use the Apple TV Remote app to select “Settings > Remotes” and “Devices -> Bluetooth.” For older models, go to “Settings -> General -> Bluetooth.” Your Apple TV will then look for compatible Bluetooth devices. Once you see your keyboard on screen, go ahead and select it. If you are prompted to input a four-digit code, do so.

If you’re anything like us, you have a junk drawer with at least one random remote in it. The piece of equipment it used to control is probably long gone, but you can give an old infrared remote a new lease on life by reprogramming it for your Apple TV. To do this you’ll need to be able to navigate the Apple TV menus. If you’ve lost yours, grab the Apple TV Remote app as outlined above. Navigate to “Settings -> General -> Remotes -> Learn Remote.”

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Your Apple TV will then prompt you to assign functions to buttons on your old infrared remote. Press and hold the button of your choice to map it to the specific function displayed on screen. Which buttons you choose to do what is totally up to you. Of course we recommend mapping buttons that make sense, but if you want to use 6 to scroll up, go for it.

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If none of the above are appealing, you can always buy a new remote directly from Apple. Both the standard Siri-less one and the more expensive Siri-enabled remotes are available.  Many websites, including Amazon, sell Apple TV-compatible Bluetooth remotes manufactured by third parties. Don’t expect them to be endorsed by Apple, but these should work just as well.

Have you ever lost your Apple TV remote? Has it caused you to suffer from separation anxiety? Have you used any of the above alternatives to your Apple TV remote? What is your opinion of the methods mentioned above? Let us know in the comments below!

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