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Apple TV Remote Suddenly Stopped Working? Try This Fix

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My Apple TV 4K remote recently stopped working but after pressing a couple of buttons it was up and running again. I had seen, and ignored, the various on-screen low-battery warnings from Apple just prior to the remote stopping. So, naturally, I just assumed the charge had run out. After giving a quick charge, however, it still didn’t work.

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This then led to me assuming that the battery had been drained too much and that a much longer charge was required, which is what I did. I left the remote on charge all night and checked again the next day. The remote still didn’t work, and by now, it was clear that it wasn’t the battery.

Even though it remained unclear why the Siri Remote had stopped working, a quick restart of the remote got everything back to normal. While it is common practice in many homes to restart an app, or even a streaming player like Apple TV, when it’s not working, many might not realize that they can also restart an Apple TV remote as well.

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As the instructions for restarting the remote are the same, it shouldn’t really matter which remote or Apple TV generation someone is using. Simply hold down the Control Center button (the one with a TV on it) and the Volume Down button at the same time. Keep these two buttons held down for at least 5 seconds and then let go. That’s it.

For me and my 2nd-generation Siri Remote (the one without a USB port), that was all that was needed. According to Apple’s help post on how to reset an Apple TV remote, the user should see a Connection Lost notification on the screen before a new Connected notification appears. However, that wasn’t the case for me. After all, the remote wasn’t, for whatever reason, connected in the first place.

Without any notifications it wasn’t clear that anything had happened or changed, but it had. After about 10-15 seconds, I started mashing the buttons, and unlike previous attempts, the remote was suddenly working again.

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Restarting an Apple TV remote in this way probably won’t work for everyone who is having problems with their remote. However, it is certainly worth trying when the remote isn’t responding. As this process forces a restart of the remote and resets it in the process, it has the potential to clear various issues, any one of which could be affecting the remote’s ability to connect to the Apple TV player.

Considering the low battery warnings before the issue surfaced, it seems highly likely that the draining of the battery was the initial problem in my case. Therefore, it is worth checking if the battery is good and charged before attempting to troubleshoot any problems, including restarting the remote.

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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 editing and writing about technology and streaming for online publications since 2014, and believes the best streaming approach is to rotate between services as needed.

John's preferred live TV streaming service right now is YouTube TV although he does tend to switch live TV services multiple times each year to keep up to date with their changes. Outside of live TV, John also actively streams HBO Max (for the shows), Peacock (for Premier League), and Paramount Plus (for Champion's League). However, John is also currently subscribed to Apple TV+, Discovery+, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and Shudder.

Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or say hi on Twitter

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