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Apple's default Siri Remote for the Apple TV has never been particularly popular with users due to its small size and fiddly controls, which has prompted third-party companies to make alternative options.


Last year we took a look at the Salt Remote, and now Function101 has come out with an alternate Apple TV remote that we thought we'd check out to see if it's better than what Apple offers.

The Button Remote from Function101 is priced at $30, which isn't too bad if you have a broken Siri Remote or are just fed up with using it (note that Siri Remote is used in countries where Siri is available on Apple TV - in others, it's the same design, but without a Siri button and it's called the Apple TV remote).

function101remote2.jpg

Function101's remote is a lot easier to find than the Salt Remote, which was only sold in Switzerland. The Button Remote is available in the U.S. and can be purchased online.

Design wise, the Button Remote is bigger, thicker, and provides more physical buttons than the Siri Remote, which is largely touch based. The larger design means it's less likely to slip in between couch cushions or otherwise disappear.

function101remote3.jpg

It can be difficult to navigate with the touchpad on the Siri Remote, a problem that's solved with the Button Remote because it uses directional buttons for navigation instead of Apple's swipes.

Because the Button Remote uses IR to control the Apple TV, it needs a direct line of sight to the box. If you have your Apple TV behind a TV or otherwise situated out of sight, the Button Remote won't work, which is one negative.

The physical buttons work well enough. There are directional arrows for navigating, an OK button for selecting items, a menu button for going back to the previous screen (hold it down to go to the Home Screen), volume buttons, and media playback controls.

Skipping forwards or backwards 10 seconds with the Button Remote is a major improvement over the Siri Remote that requires pressing at the edge of the touchpad. The Button Remote has specific buttons for fast-forwarding or rewinding content, which is a plus.

function101remote4.jpg

Of course, there's one major button missing that may be a dealbreaker based on how you use your Apple TV - there's no Siri button. If you regularly ask Siri to find content on the Apple TV or otherwise take advantage of the personal assistant, you will have no way to do that on the Button Remote.

You could use the Siri Remote alongside the Button Remote, or use the Remote app on an iPhone when you need to access Siri, but it will be more of a hassle than just having a Siri button readily available. For those who don't use Siri, or in countries where Siri is not available, the lack of a Siri button won't matter.

The Button Remote operates on two AAA batteries like many other remotes on the market, and it does not need to be charged like the Siri Remote.

Though it doesn't replicate everything the Siri Remote can do, the Button Remote is worth checking out for those who are looking for an alternative. Let us know what you think of the remote in the comments.

Article Link: Hands-On With the Button Remote, a Siri Remote Alternative for Apple TV
 
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nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
5,053
4,199
Function101 remote disadvantages:
  • No Bluetooth (uses IrDA instead)
  • No rechargeable battery (two AAA instead)
  • No Apple TV app/Home button
  • No Siri button and microphones
  • Cheap plastic build
Fumction101 remote advantages:
  • Dedicated 10-second rewind/forward, stop, previous/next buttons
  • Dedicated power and mute buttons
  • Larger and more ergonomic
  • Probably more durable
 
Comment

swm

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2013
392
640
IDK. i still have my alu one that came with the ATV2. and the old white plastic ones that came with my early iMacs. the aluminium one works just fine. i love the sleek and clean look, the straightforward operation, everything. however i hate the remote that came with my display as it has a forest of buttons... and so does this one...
anyways, YMMV
 
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dcingie

macrumors newbie
Aug 3, 2008
25
31
Sacramento, CA
Darn... for a fluttering second I thought it was a post of the new Apple TV.

This long wait has been painful.
I actually ordered the current 4K offering then I remembered about the MR buyers guide and I cancelled my order. It’s absurd to pay today’s prices for years’ stale tech. Checking google and MR to see if there’s an updated firm release date!!
 
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kuwxman

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2009
653
478
Olathe, KS
The free Apple Remote app is a serious replacement contender too, for those that haven't downloaded the app. I honestly use it more than the Siri Remote. It has cons too like not being able to change the volume, but being able to copy/paste long passwords in or using the app with multiple AppleTVs are big pros IMO. Otherwise, it can do the same thing the physical remote can.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,746
6,526
The Button Remote from Function101 is priced at $30, which isn't too bad if you have a broken Siri Remote or are just fed up with using it (note that Siri Remote is used in countries where Siri is available on Apple TV - in others, it's the same design, but without a Siri button and it's called the Apple TV remote).

While $30 isn't much, the Apple TV's Remote Learning Feature has been around since the first gen ATV, and can learn the button presses of any IR remote, such as TV remotes, receiver remotes, DVD player remotes, it even works with an iRobot Roomba remote.

It can learn all the buttons in just a few seconds, and best of all, it is free.

You can use your TV's remote and just have one remote for both TV and ATV.
 
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David Poninski

macrumors newbie
Aug 20, 2020
2
2
Coppell, TX
This remote, but with Bluetooth connectivity, would be a no-brainer for me. Here’s hoping there’s a second generation.

This. Still don't understand why they wouldn't do bluetooth. RF wont pull up control center. It's useless to me if we can't change profiles with it. I really, really wanted to buy this, but oh well.
 
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dannyyankou

macrumors G4
Mar 2, 2012
10,253
19,943
Westchester, NY
Because the Button Remote uses IR to control the Apple TV, it needs a direct line of sight to the box. If you have your Apple TV behind a TV or otherwise situated out of sight, the Button Remote won't work, which is one negative.
Deal breaker for those who have the box hidden in a cabinet or separate room.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,746
6,526
The free Apple Remote app is a serious replacement contender too
Other than for passwords, I really don't like using the Remote app for the ATV.

One of the worst thing about the Siri Remote is the lack of physical buttons, especially a D-pad. The endless swiping can be really annoying, especially in things like Photos if one's photo library is large.

While Apple added a sudo D-pad to the Siri Remote via a tvOS update, it still isn't a replacement for an actual D-pad.

The remote app has no physical buttons, and doesn't have the sudo D-pad that the Siri Remote gained.

I do like the Remote app for passwords, as the current tvOS UI for passwords is horrible when using the Siri Remote, but other than that, I'd rather use the Siri Remote.
 
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Mr Magoo

macrumors member
Mar 1, 2019
68
100
Wouldn’t you like to know
I actually ordered the current 4K offering then I remembered about the MR buyers guide and I cancelled my order. It’s absurd to pay today’s prices for years’ stale tech. Checking google and MR to see if there’s an updated firm release date!!
While I agree on too high of a price on the Apple TV 4K. What’s the point with a faster Apple TV? It’s not like there’s any demanding apps or games for it? They should just lower the price already.
 
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MauiPa

macrumors 68000
Apr 18, 2018
1,740
2,465
If you have trouble with a trackpad or using a touch screen, I guess you would have trouble with the Apple remote. Otherwise it’s the greatest remote ever. Simple, straightforward, ergonomic.

most used gestures for me:
Swipe down for option screens in netflix. Language, CC, audio
Swipe up to get frames menu
double tap on home button(?) task manager
Long press on home button. Sodebar
Long press on menu. Go back to home screen

go to audio on pull down or side panel to adjust volume

plus it matches remote app on iphone
 
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FaustsHausUK

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2010
423
852
Chicago, IL
The free Apple Remote app is a serious replacement contender too, for those that haven't downloaded the app. I honestly use it more than the Siri Remote. It has cons too like not being able to change the volume, but being able to copy/paste long passwords in or using the app with multiple AppleTVs are big pros IMO. Otherwise, it can do the same thing the physical remote can.

Yeah, I use the remote app via control center on my iPhone a lot. Especially for typing (and autocompleting passwords). It's very handy in a pinch, but you have to keep your phone close by - mine is usually charging when I watch movies at night.
 
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acorntoy

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,668
1,765
Anybody else order in the first round For “late July” shipment and still haven’t heard anything?
 
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Kabeyun

macrumors 68040
Mar 27, 2004
3,046
5,721
Eastern USA
Because the Button Remote uses IR to control the Apple TV, it needs a direct line of sight to the box. If you have your Apple TV behind a TV or otherwise situated out of sight, the Button Remote won't work, which is one negative.
Everywhere in our house, it’s not just a negative, it’s a dealbreaker.
 
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carlhancock

macrumors newbie
Apr 7, 2006
26
136
Because the Button Remote uses IR to control the ‌Apple TV‌, it needs a direct line of sight to the box. If you have your ‌Apple TV‌ behind a TV or otherwise situated out of sight, the Button Remote won't work, which is one negative.

This is not true. While IR certainly has limitations it doesn't mean it has to have line of sight.

I have 3 original Salt version of this remote that I purchased before this version was made available that I use with each of my Apple TV's which are mounted on the backside of my TV's. As long as you point the remote in the direction of the TV when using it, the IR it has no problem bouncing off the wall and reaching the Apple TV to control it.

It works fine.

Another advantage is because this doesn't work exactly like the original Apple TV remote (via bluetooth) it means I can still use the original Apple TV remote also. You can't pair 2 Apple TV remotes to a single Apple TV. So I have the original Apple TV remote and one of these. Best of both worlds. We primarily use the Salt remote that this is based on.
 
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subjonas

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2014
3,326
3,108
The free Apple Remote app is a serious replacement contender too, for those that haven't downloaded the app. I honestly use it more than the Siri Remote. It has cons too like not being able to change the volume, but being able to copy/paste long passwords in or using the app with multiple AppleTVs are big pros IMO. Otherwise, it can do the same thing the physical remote can.
PSA- if you happen to use Homepod as your Apple TV sound output, you can use your iOS device’s volume buttons to control your Apple TV volume.
 
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