How to Control Apple TV Using Your Apple Watch

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
7,391
8,477



The Siri Remote that comes with the Apple TV certainly has its critics. Some users find the glass Touch surface over-sensitive in the way it registers directional taps and swipes, which can make navigating onscreen menus a slalom-like experience where you're constantly having to correct for overshoot.

Not only that, the minimalist design of the Siri Remote isn't very tactile and there's no button backlighting, which means once you've dimmed the lights it's almost impossible to know whether you're even holding it the right way round.

Thankfully, there are alternative (and easier) ways to control your Apple TV. One solution is to use your iPhone, which we've written about previously. Another is to use an Apple Watch. Here's how it's done.

How to Link Your Apple Watch to your Apple TV

The steps below assume your Apple Watch is running watchOS 5 and that your Apple TV has tvOS 12 installed.

Before you start, make sure your Apple TV and Apple Watch are on the same Wi-Fi network. To do this on Apple TV, launch the Settings app and navigate to Network -> Wi-Fi. Similarly on Apple Watch, launch the Settings app and tap Wi-Fi.
  1. Make sure you're in the same room as your Apple TV, your Apple TV is on, and you can see the screen on your TV output.
  2. On your Apple Watch, launch the Remote app.

    Tap Add Device.
  3. On your Apple Watch, enter the passcode that appears on your Apple TV's display.
You should now see the Remote interface for controlling your Apple TV on your Apple Watch screen.

How to Control Apple TV Using Your Apple Watch



[*]Swipe up, down, left, or right to move through the Apple TV menu.
[*]Tap to choose the selected item.
[*]Tap Menu to go back.
[*]Touch and hold Menu to return to the Home screen.
[*]Swipe left or right to scrub through media.
[*]Tap to pause or resume playback.If you're anything like us, you'll find that swiping your Apple Watch to navigate Apple TV menus is much easier than using the Siri Remote - and you'll be able to see what you're doing in the dark. Just remember that as long as your Apple TV is on, you can return to the remote interface on your Apple Watch at any time simply by launching the Remote app.

Article Link: How to Control Apple TV Using Your Apple Watch
 

eagleglen

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2009
1,075
273
Phoenix, AZ
This is definitely a nice feature to have on the watch. There are couple details I’ve noticed that are different from what is stated in the article. First, all my Apple devices are connected to the 5GHz WiFi network in my home with the sole exception of my watch, which can’t so it’s on the 2.4GHz channel. Fortunately this isn’t an issue because, unless my iPhone is off or out of BT range, the watch is using the phone’s network connection and, therefore, still controls the TV. I’m very grateful for this.

Second, I’m not able to get the “Touch and hold to return to the Home screen” command to work. Am I missing something or does anyone else lack this capability too? Thx.
 

Braderunner

macrumors 6502a
Oct 2, 2015
883
1,680
Tralfamadore
i wish there was some automatic "now playing" icon on the watch face like for the iPhone. would make it much easier and faster to access the remote.
The Apple TV can be controlled with the Now Playing feature. But yeah, it would be nice if there was an icon. Or, a Now Playing complication available on faces that have complications. Better yet, if the volume could be controlled, and there was a Siri button on this screen. :rolleyes:
[doublepost=1540470173][/doublepost]
I love this feature! Really nice integration.
This is a terrible integration, imo. Why no Apple TV Remote app like on iOS? With Siri and volume control?
 
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lyricthejoe

Contributor
Dec 7, 2011
85
68
These directions are unclear in where to tap & hold to return to the home screen.

Will any tap & hold anywhere on the watch face return you to home, or are you supposed to long press a specific button?
 

Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
5,361
2,903
The Apple TV can be controlled with the Now Playing feature. But yeah, it would be nice if there was an icon. Or, a Now Playing complication available on faces that have complications. Better yet, if the volume could be controlled, and there was a Siri button on this screen. :rolleyes:
[doublepost=1540470173][/doublepost]
This is a terrible integration, imo. Why no Apple TV Remote app like on iOS? With Siri and volume control?
Right. Why isn’t the Digital Crown incorporate into the app? Much easier to scrub through video, and/or controlling the volume. Maybe even used the button to switch between video and audio control.

Such a simple solution. Anything that involves fine control via the touch screen is a fail on the watch.
 

shyam09

macrumors 68020
Oct 31, 2010
2,069
1,964
I’m just here to say that I like the current remote. The raised ring was enough of a change that I don’t have trouble orienting the device.
Same, and I occasionally spin the remote in my hand while watching TV so I'm not even aware of the orientation.
 

andsoitgoes

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2010
60
17
The Apple TV can be controlled with the Now Playing feature. But yeah, it would be nice if there was an icon. Or, a Now Playing complication available on faces that have complications. Better yet, if the volume could be controlled, and there was a Siri button on this screen. :rolleyes:
[doublepost=1540470173][/doublepost]
This is a terrible integration, imo. Why no Apple TV Remote app like on iOS? With Siri and volume control?
I agree. I’ve been waiting for Apple to do ANYTHING with the watch remote app ever since I got my AW in 2016.

It’s a complete and utter hot mess.

No ability to use Siri (SERIOUSLY?! There’s a bloody mic right there!)

Terrible media controls, the swipe is much harder to use than a physical remote or the pad on your phone. Play/pause is insanely tiny. The now playing, specifically for music, is hidden behind a bloody blur! You can’t see the album art of what’s playing for no reason. At all.

There’s zero logic that I’ve seen why the watch remote doesn’t emulate at least a portion of what the iPhone/iPad apps do. This remote is built on and focused on the 3rd generation ATV and it’s never been updated. It’s virtually the same thing if not exactly the same.

So if you want to basically use the old silver ATV remote, the watch will be fine I guess though it requires you to respect the bloody ATV far too often if you have more than one on you’re home network.

But for anyone wanting to actually get a good experience, just whip out your phone. There’s a good chance it’s right next to you anyway.

And Apple, DO something with this abandoned watch app. Maybe no one uses it and that’s why you haven’t updated it, but maybe if it wasn’t so utterly bare bones more people WOULD use it.
 
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lec0rsaire

macrumors 65816
Feb 23, 2017
1,494
1,402
I didn’t know it was possible to control ATV through the watch. Never opened the remote app. I assumed it was for iTunes.

I still think the control center remote is more convenient even though I like the Siri remote for everything except text entry even though I can enter text pretty quickly after using it for over 2 years.
 

mattwolfmatt

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2008
1,022
25



The Siri Remote that comes with the Apple TV certainly has its critics. Many users find the glass Touch surface maddeningly over-sensitive in the way it registers swipes, which makes navigating onscreen menus a slalom-like experience where you're constantly having to correct for overshoot.

Not only that, the minimalist design of the Siri Remote isn't very tactile and there's no button backlighting, which means once you've dimmed the lights it's almost impossible to know whether you're even holding it the right way round.

Thankfully, there are alternative (and easier) ways to control your Apple TV. One solution is to use your iPhone, which we've written about previously. Another is to use an Apple Watch. Here's how it's done.

How to Link Your Apple Watch to your Apple TV

The steps below assume your Apple Watch is running watchOS 5 and that your Apple TV has tvOS 12 installed.

Before you start, make sure your Apple TV and Apple Watch are on the same Wi-Fi network. To do this on Apple TV, launch the Settings app and navigate to Network -> Wi-Fi. Similarly on Apple Watch, launch the Settings app and tap Wi-Fi.
  1. Make sure you're in the same room as your Apple TV, your Apple TV is on, and you can see the screen on your TV output.
  2. On your Apple Watch, launch the Remote app.

    Tap Add Device.
  3. On your Apple Watch, enter the passcode that appears on your Apple TV's display.
You should now see the Remote interface for controlling your Apple TV on your Apple Watch screen.

How to Control Apple TV Using Your Apple Watch



[*]Swipe up, down, left, or right to move through the Apple TV menu.
[*]Tap to choose the selected item.
[*]Tap Menu to go back.
[*]Touch and hold to return to the Home screen.
[*]Swipe left or right to scrub through media.
[*]Tap to pause or resume playback.If you're anything like us, you'll find that swiping your Apple Watch to navigate Apple TV menus is much easier than using the Siri Remote - and you'll be able to see what you're doing in the dark. Just remember that as long as your Apple TV is on, you can return to the remote interface on your Apple Watch at any time simply by launching the Remote app.

Article Link: How to Control Your Apple TV Using Your Apple Watch
[doublepost=1540483997][/doublepost]Now I’m just waiting for the Apple Watch to control videos on my iPad. Treadmill setup has the iPad several feet away.
 

timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
132
205
Liverpool, UK
I’m not able to get the “Touch and hold to return to the Home screen” command to work. Am I missing something or does anyone else lack this capability too? Thx.
My error, sorry. It was meant to say touch and hold Menu to return to Home screen. I've corrected the article.
 

coreyrexroad

macrumors newbie
Aug 17, 2015
5
0
i wish there was some automatic "now playing" icon on the watch face like for the iPhone. would make it much easier and faster to access the remote.
You can add the "Remote" app complication to your watch face. That's what I use.
 

friedmud

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2008
1,267
1,004
Everyone knows that you can "touch" (NOT click) to go up,down,left,right on the normal AppleTV remote - right? You don't have to swipe.

Swiping is for long-range movement. The touching is for precise movement by "1".
[doublepost=1540497486][/doublepost]Oh - and another hack with the AppleTV remote is that you can touch and hold in the top right or top left corner while watching video and it will show you a "Skip Forward" option... then you can click to skip forward/backward by (usually) 10 seconds.

There are a ton of little hidden features in the AppleTV remote....
 

Joniz

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2017
185
422
I find this less useful than the ATV remote. Sorry, but I just don’t have tiny fingers nor wish to sit there with my one arm held up as I go swipe, swipe, swipe. Maybe if I could just sweep my arm through the air, like Minority Report.

Has no one else gotten themselves one of the inexpensive remote covers on Amazon that lets you know in an instant which way is up?
 

s15119

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2010
1,847
1,622
I actually love the apple remote and have never had any of the problems this article describes. However, I did not realize that I could use my watch, so I thank you for this article. Apple Rawks!