The Apple TV is a wonderful piece of kit, and while you won’t find it in as many homes as a Fire TV Stick or a Roku, it still has a decent market share, with Apple fans, in particular, likely to use it for their streaming needs. There have been several generations of the device, but the ones we’re talking about in this feature today are those that are part of the fourth generation or later. That was the Apple TV model that introduced the Siri Remote, and there’s more by way of improvements than voice capabilities. In short, this new remote control represents a vast improvement over its predecessor.
Indeed, the remote may not have much by way of buttons, but there’s a chance you might be missing out on some of the best functionality it has to offer. You can put that right with a read of this feature, where we’ll cover some great tips and tricks that will mean you spend less time navigating and more time watching.
1. Activate Sleep Mode Without Entering the Settings Screen
If you care about your power bills, the environment or both, it pays to get into the habit of putting your Apple TV into sleep mode when you’ve finished watching it. There’s no off switch in the traditional sense, and you might spend time digging into the menus to find the sleep option. However, dig no longer, as you can immediately bring up the opportunity to put the TV to sleep when you hold down the Home button for a couple of seconds.
2. Reboot Your Apple TV with No Need for Menus
Rest is useful, for you and your Apple TV alike, but sometimes you might run into an issue that requires a full reboot. You can do this through the menus too, although it’s of little use when the interface is frozen. You could unplug it from the wall but before you go that far, consider using the remote for a restart. Hold down the Home and Menu buttons simultaneously for six seconds, and the device will restart itself.
3. Use the Same App Switcher as on Your iPhone
If you use other Apple devices, you’ll know how easy it is to scroll back to other apps. You might not know that the same functionality is in place on the Apple TV. Click the Home button twice, and you’ll open up the app carousel, where you can return to other apps in the blink of an eye.
4. Set Up the Home Button to Your Liking
When we use Apple devices, even iPhones and iPads, we expect to go back to the home screen with the home button. The clue is in the name, after all. However, the Apple TV works differently and, out of the box, the button launches Apple’s native television app. That might work for you, but if it doesn’t head into the settings. There, you can change what the home button does by default. The other shortcuts mentioned here will continue to work too.
5. Activate the Screen Saver Without Delay
Screensavers aren’t exactly as necessary on digital screens as they once were, but they look pretty and can prevent damage if you’ve disabled the sleep mode. Your Apple TV screensaver will come into effect after a while, and you can change that in the settings. If you’d rather launch it manually, the quickest way to do so is to double-click the Menu button.
6. Move Apps Around the Home Screen
Along similar lines to the recent app carousel, Apple TVs also incorporate the option to move apps around the home screen – and that wasn’t always the case on older models. If you use an iPhone, it will look identical. Click and hold on the app you’d like to move, and they’ll start to move, indicating they’re ready for you to place them where you need them.
7. Speed Up Text and Password Entry
Entering passwords on remote controls is never fun, so we’ll assume that everyone will be happy to see a solution that works. In the case of the Apple TV, it involves switching between uppercase and lowercase with a click. If the keyboard is active, press the Play button, and you’ll immediately switch to the opposite case. Naturally, another press will switch you straight back.
8. Change Your Playback Settings Mid-Movie
The last thing you want to do when you’re watching a captivating story is to have to leave the movie and head into the menus if something isn’t quite right with the video or audio. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Swipe down on the touch surface at any time, and you’ll bring the playback options into view. There, you can alter sound outputs and subtitles.
9. Quickly Use Backspace without Scrolling to the End
Following on from our password input tip, we’ve got one to speed up your error correction. If you follow the basic keyboard layout and make a mistake, you need to scroll to the end of the board to delete the incorrect characters. However, if you press and hold on a letter, you’ll bring up the alternative characters. Helpfully, those alternative characters also come with a backspace of their own, which is in far easier reach.
10. Change Where the Sound Comes Out
We wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Apple TV was designed and built with true audiophiles in mind, but it is capable of outputting sound to numerous connected devices. As always, you can enjoy close control in the settings menu, but that’s longwinded for a quick switch. Rather than going to all that effort, simply press and hold the Play button at any time. A short menu with all available output devices will appear on the screen, and you can take your pick in the usual manner with the touch part of your Apple TV remote control.