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Apple TV Devices

How To Add Apple TV Remote To iPhone (And Common Issues)

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Apple TV users can actually control their streaming player using their iPhone instead of the physical remote. In fact, there’s no need to even download an app to do this, considering the feature comes built-in on iOS devices. However, there may be times when the user cannot find the Apple TV Remote control, and in these cases, it may need to be added to the iPhone’s Control Center.

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Apple TV is the company’s take on a streaming player, and has proven to be an especially popular option for those already highly invested in Apple’s ecosystem. An Apple TV player is a great way to access the Apple TV app, which houses the Apple TV+ subscription service. It can also be a useful device for those that already have subscriptions set up through Apple. Another benefit of an Apple TV player is that it plays really nicely with Apple’s other devices, with the option to control the streaming player using an iPhone or iPad.

If the iPhone was originally used to set up the Apple TV player, and the phone is running the latest version of iOS, an Apple TV Remote button should automatically be available in the iPhone’s Control Center. Depending on the iPhone model (visit Apple for more info), the user will either need to swipe down from the upper-right corner or swipe up from the bottom to open the Control Center. Once done, they can then tap on the ‘Apple TV Remote’ button (remote icon) and select the appropriate Apple TV device from the list. The user will then be asked to enter a four-digit passcode that’s generated by the Apple TV player and shown on the screen. The passcode should only need to be entered the first time the iPhone is used as a remote for an Apple TV player.

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With the Apple TV Remote open on an iPhone, the user will be able to control various aspects of the experience. For example, navigating the Apple TV interface, playing, pausing, fast-forwarding, rewinding, and even accessing the guide. For reference, the Apple TV Remote interface on an iPhone does not include dedicated on-screen volume controls. Instead, the physical volume buttons on the iPhone can be used to adjust the Apple TV volume when needed. In addition, Face ID can also be set up and used to make purchases or sign in to apps on the Apple TV player.

Can’t find Apple TV Remote in Control Center?

Again, the Apple TV Remote option should automatically be visible as a button in the Control Center on an iPhone when connected to the same network as a nearby Apple TV player. However, there may be times when the button does not show. If this is the case, it can easily be added to the Control Center through the iPhone’s settings.

Add Apple TV Remote:

  1. Open Settings on the iPhone
  2. Tap on ‘Control Center’
  3. Tap ‘Customize Controls’
  4. Scroll down to the ‘More Controls’ section
  5. Tap the ‘Add’ button next to ‘Apple TV Remote’

As a reminder, the iPhone does need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the Apple TV player. If the Apple TV Remote button doesn’t show, even after manually adding through the settings, it is worth checking to make sure the iPhone and Apple TV player are connected to the same network. If not, disconnect from the current Wi-Fi network on one of the devices and then connect to the same network as the other device. The Wi-Fi network can be checked and changed by opening the Settings app on the iPhone and then tapping on ‘Wi-Fi.’ Likewise, the network can be checked and changed on the Apple TV player by opening the Settings app and clicking on ‘Network’ with the physical remote.

If the network is not the issue, the problem might be the result of a communication error between the iPhone and Apple TV player. In this case, it is worth restarting the iPhone, Apple TV player, or ideally both, to see if that fixes things. If not, it might also be worth checking both devices to see if there are any outstanding updates available. Making sure both the iPhone and Apple TV player are running the latest software versions can often help to clear problems, including communication issues between devices.

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Adding Apple TV Remote summary

iPhone (and iPad) users can easily control their Apple TV using their phone or tablet as a virtual remote. If the user connected their iPhone when setting up the Apple TV player then they shouldn’t need to do anything to enable the virtual remote. Instead, an Apple TV Remote button will automatically show up in the iPhone’s Control Center when connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the streaming player. By opening the Control Center and tapping on the remote button, the iPhone can be used to control the Apple TV player without the need for a physical remote.

For those that have issues with finding or using the Apple TV Remote on an iPhone, it can manually be added to the Control Center through the phone’s settings menu. In some cases, a restart of either or both devices might be needed. If issues still persist, it is worth double-checking that both the iPhone and the Apple TV player are running the most up-to-date software versions, and that both devices are actually connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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