Apple TV Devices

No Apple TV Remote? Here’s How To Turn On The Player

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It can be difficult to control an Apple TV player when the remote is lost or misplaced due to the lack of buttons on the actual device. This can be even more of an issue when the player is turned off considering the remote is needed to turn it on. However, there are some options for turning on the Apple TV player without the remote.

One of the good things about Apple devices is the familiar user experience. Quickly moving from one Apple device, like an iPhone, to another, like an Apple TV player, feels quite intuitive. However, the common experience is only one of the benefits of using Apple’s products. Another is the easy and seamless ability to connect to other Apple devices, or in the case of Apple TV, use a different Apple remote. If the player is an Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD device, then any first or second generation Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote can be used instead of the original remote.

When the remote is lost, and no other Apple TV remotes are in the same home, the Apple TV player can actually be controlled by an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod touch. For those that have already set up the Apple TV Remote on one of these devices, it can be used to control the player by swiping down (or up on earlier models) to access the Control Center and then tapping on the icon that looks like a remote. Once the remote interface is shown, the user can simply click on the power icon in the top right corner to turn the Apple TV player on or off.

For ease of use, here are those instructions once again:

  1. Swipe down (up on some models) to launch Control Center
  2. Tap on the Apple TV remote icon
  3. Tap on the ‘power’ button

Using the virtual remote

Even if having never knowingly used the virtual remote before, there is the possibility that the remote has already been enabled, as the controls are automatically activated on recent versions of iOS and iPadOS when the iPhone or iPad connects to an Apple TV device for the first time. This could happen during the initial setting up of the Apple TV player, or when using the device’s keyboard to enter text on the streaming player. In situations where the virtual remote hasn’t been automatically added (there’s no Apple TV Remote icon in Control Center), the option to add it can be found in the Customize Controls section of Control Center (in the device’s Settings menu).

If manually added, the virtual remote will likely still need to be paired with the Apple TV player. This can be done by tapping the Apple TV Remote icon in Control Center (after adding) and then selecting the Apple TV player from the list. To authenticate the connection and enable the remote, the user will need to enter a four-digit passcode on either the iPhone/Pad or the Apple TV player. Evidently, this is going to be an issue if the Apple TV player cannot be turned on due to the lack of a physical remote.

In these instances, or if not wanting to use the virtual remote, then there is always the option of unplugging the Apple TV player and plugging it back again. Once the power is restored to the streaming player, it will automatically turn on, and irrespective of whether the user has the remote nearby or not.

Apple TV without remote summary

The Apple TV remote is the easiest and best way to control an Apple TV player. However, if the original remote is lost, any Apple TV remote can be used to control a newer Apple TV 4K or HD device. If no other remotes are around, then it is also possible to use a virtual remote on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. This remote is typically found in the Control Center and may need to be added and paired if never used before.

Besides the ability to use another Apple TV remote or the virtual remote, a quick and easy way to turn on the player without a remote is to restart the device by unplugging it and plugging it in again. Each time the power is disconnected and reconnected, the Apple TV player will automatically turn on and launch into the Home screen.

John Finn
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John Finn

By John Finn

John Finn is the Founder and Editor of Streaming Better, a platform created in 2019 to help consumers navigate the complicated live TV streaming and subscription service market.

John has been covering technology for various online publications since 2014. After originally covering the wider tech industry as a writer and editor, John now spends his time focusing on the emerging video-streaming market, including live TV streaming, SVOD, AVOD, FAST, and TVOD services.

In a bid to keep up to date on the industry, John actively subscribes to multiple streaming services at the same time. However, John continues to advocate that the best approach for consumers is to rotate between streaming services as needed.

A Psychology graduate from England, who now lives in the US, John previously worked in the aviation industry as an airline reviewer. While reviewing airlines isn't quite the same as reviewing devices and streaming services, John brings the same analytical eye to all of his reviews and industry analysis, along with a special emphasis on what's best for the consumer.

Connect with John
X: @J_Finns

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