Siri Touch Surface Intermittently Fails to Work (Poll)

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by fpnc, Nov 14, 2015.

?

How does your Siri remote touch surface work?

  1. Works ALL the time (touch surface NEVER fails to respond).

    46.2%
  2. Has failed a FEW times (once or twice a week).

    30.8%
  3. SOMETIMES fails to work properly (10% or less failures).

    15.4%
  4. OFTEN fails to work properly (50% or more failures).

    7.7%
  5. NEVER worked (DOA).

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    Okay, I've been using my 4th generation Apple TV EXTENSIVELY for the last two weeks and I've noticed that the touch surface will often fail to register scrolls, clicks, and taps. It most often fails to work after the playback has been sitting in pause for a few minutes and after the screen saver activates. Under those conditions I'd say that about 10% of the time the touch surface seems to become unresponsive. It doesn't register clicks or taps and there is no response to scrolling. To recover I have to press one of the other buttons on the remote and that seems to wake the remote and the Apple TV. I think this problem has something to do with the power saving mode on the remote (i.e. the remote/Bluetooth goes into a sleep mode).

    However, it also seems to register taps when it is just sitting beside me on a table ("phantom" activations). I'll be watching a show and then the timeline pops up just as if I had touched the remote when I haven't been near the remote for several minutes.

    Is anyone else seeing these problems or do I just have a bad remote?
     
  2. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #2
    After seeing a few more "failures" or incorrect events I've found out that SOME of the issues that I have seen may be the result of problems in the state engine for the handling of Siri remote generated events. Thus, this may be somewhat of a software issue on the Apple TV itself and not something to do with the remote hardware.

    Specifically, some apps and/or states in the Apple TV screen saver do NOT allow you to exit the screen saver with a tap or click of the touch surface. You need to press one of the other buttons (like "Menu") to exit the screen saver. The way I found this was that I had turned on the video zoom option in the Accessibility options and when the screen saver was active I tried to exit the screen saver with a click on the touch surface and nothing happened. Then I tried more clicks and nothing and then I happened to make three clicks in rapid succession and the screen magnify option turned on. So, the remote was working but the Apple TV was for some reason ignoring the touch surface (except for the accessibility options).

    I've also seen a case where the rewind mode on the touch surface get stuck such that any click on the touch surface causes the video to rewind by 30 seconds. Normally that event should only happen when you click on the left side of the touch surface, but it seems to get stuck now and then so that even a click placed exactly in the center of the touch surface causes another 30 second rewind. This also looks like a problem in the state engine or software for the Siri remote.

    So, it seems like there are lots of bugs in the handling of the touch surface on the Siri remote.
     
  3. patseguin macrumors 65816

    patseguin

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2003
    #3
    This happens every time I use it. I'm watching something and want to skip over the credits and I slide my finger and nothing happens. I have to slide my finger about 20 times to get it to start registering. Hopefully it's a software fix.
     
  4. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    It seems to fail to recognize input about as often as my iPhone 6+ on iOS 9. It's pretty rare, but it does happen.

    It doesn't seem to be a problem.
     
  5. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    #5
    Where are all you finding all these issues??? Mine has been flawless since day one.
     
  6. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    I'm not gonna lie and say mine had been perfect. There have been a few issues, but they are minor issues.

    Anyway, some folks are just going to complain.
     
  7. patseguin macrumors 65816

    patseguin

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2003
    #7
    It's not really complaining. I'm always an early adopter and do my fair of bitching, but this is a real issue. Not being able to use the touch surface really affects the usability of this box. I love mine, but the fact that I can't fast forward or rewind when watching something until I rub my finger on it multiple times kind of ruins the experience.
     
  8. Runt888 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #8
    Return it for a new one - this isn't normal and from the lack of outcry I doubt it's widespread.

    I've haven't had a single problem with my remote since day one.
     
  9. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
  10. fpnc, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015

    fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #10
    One thing to consider is that it is likely that the touch surface is sensitive to the humidity of the air and the moisture and oil content of your skin. This means that the performance is likely to vary with the weather and the dryness of a person's hands.

    Also, for those who say that it has worked perfectly I'd like to know how much you have actually used your Apple TV? If you are only using it an hour per day (one or two shows watched uninterrupted from start to finish) then it might take weeks for you to start to notice these failures. Frankly, I SUSPECT that many of these problems are widespread but that they happen infrequently enough that many are not noticing. Additionally, as I am able to witness more of the behavior of the Siri remote I'm beginning to think that it is a software issue than might/should be able to be fixed.

    Here is one to try. Go into the Music app and start playback and then wait until the screen saver starts. Now try to click on the touch surface on the Siri remote. Does anything happen? In this case it may be a simple app bug (or even an inconsistently applied app behavior), because in other situations when the screen saver is active a click (not a tap, but a physical click) will cause the screen saver to exit and return to whatever you were previously doing.

    **UPDATE** I just confirmed the above behavior using the old IR remote with the new 4th generation Apple TV. So this appears to be a design decision by the Music app developers. The screen saver behaves differently in other apps, so this appears to be a simple inconsistency in how the UI functions (i.e. different behavior in different apps, even between apps that were written by Apple).
    ****

    There is also a problem in the Music app with the rewind function of the touch surface. Try playing a music VIDEO and see how varied the behavior is when you click the far left side of the touch surface. Sometimes (usually) it will cause a rewind (the correct behavior), sometimes it will cause a simple pause, and sometimes after activating the rewind the rewind feature will get stuck to ON such that even a click on the center of the touch surface will cause another rewind. This looks like a software issue to me, but it could also be that they are trying to work around problems in the hardware with "fixes" in software that don't always work.

    In any case, it seems that an exit from the screen saver is causing a lot of the problems (either that or it has something to do with a sleep mode with the Bluetooth connection). I've seen cases when I exit the screen saver where swipes on the touch surface don't register until another button is pressed, or the swipes get delayed for many seconds.
     
  11. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #11
    Yes, I updated a few days ago. Actually, that update MAY have fixed a problem I has having with my Bluetooth headphones. Prior to the update I often had to go back into Settings -> Remotes and Devices -> Bluetooth to reconnect to the headphones, but since the update it reconnects automatically after I turn the headphones back on. But, as always, only time will tell as to whether this is just an intermittent problem that will come back later (and in any case, the headphone itself may have problems).
     
  12. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #12
    Well, the more I use the Siri remote the more it seems to be failing. The rewind and forward shortcuts where you click on the left of right side of the remote's touch surface seem to work correctly only about 60% or 70% of the time. Moreover, as I've begun to use more media apps I'm finding that simple clicks on the touch surface often fail to register. Interestingly, the accessibility shortcut to zoom the display (three quick clicks) ALWAYS works even when the single click functions do NOT. So, this looks more like a software issue rather than a problem with the Siri remote.

    Only thing I can't be sure about is the left and right side clicks on the touch surface (for rewind and forward). I'm not sure how those are detected (location wise) so it's hard to determine whether those failures are the hardware or software (or a combination of both).
     
  13. Runt888 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #13
    I've used mine anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours every day, installing apps, playing games, exploring all the various options, etc. It's rarely just watching a show from start to finish. I've only ever seen one problem (the remote disconnected and a small popup was displayed in the top right corner; clicking the button on the remote was enough to cause it to reconnect). I've never had the touch surface stop working.

    Seems like the easiest way to test your theories is to exchange the unit for a new one.
     
  14. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #14
    I've already confirmed that some of the problems are in the software, since both the Siri remote and my old Apple IR remote show the same behaviors. In any case, since a slight majority of the people responding to the poll indicate that they have had some issues it seems like the problems are somewhat common.
     
  15. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #15
    Well, it seems that the poll is showing almost a 50/50 split after about 40 votes. Although only 18% (7/40) say that the failures are happening on a regular basis. It looks to me that there is definitely something going on with the functioning of the remote, but apparently it is NOT a huge problem.
     
  16. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #16
    Okay, it appears that the tvOS v9.1 update fixed some of the problems I was seeing with the Siri remote. I say "appears" because it still isn't working in a way that I'd say is flawless or without error. But, some features seem to be better while a few still don't work that reliably.

    If you've noticed any improvements please comment and if you haven't yet voted please do so.
     
  17. fpnc, Dec 13, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015

    fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #17
    Okay, I've found something to watch out for. If you turn on the ability to enable video zoom under the Accessibility menu that can definitely interfere with the proper operation of the Siri remote's touch interface. You don't actually have to have the zoom turned on, just have the option for the triple-click short-cut enabled under settings. I think when they are looking for the triple-click to turn the zoom on that part of the code is interfering with the proper operation of the touch surface. It's a definite bug in the ATV4 software.

    However, there is an interesting option in Accessibility that shows that the touch surface on the Siri remote is multi-touch aware. Not too useful with such a small touch pad, but it can actually detect at least two different touch points at the same time. Thus, something like a pinch to zoom could be possible.

    Does anyone know of an app that actually uses this capability? It might find use in a game.
     

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