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My Apple TV Remote Is not Working

Learn how to get your Apple TV remote up and running again in no time flat.

You depend on your Apple TV remote for so much of your entertainment, so it’s understandable that you might find yourself feeling a little ornery when it stops working properly.

Don’t get too worked up about it, though, because we’ve researched some common problems (and easy solutions) to check before tossing it out and buying a new Apple TV remote.

How to charge (or change) your Apple TV remote battery

By and large, the most common problem with an Apple TV remote not working is a dead battery. How you charge or change your dead battery depends on which Apple TV remote model you have.

Siri Remote

If you have a black Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote (4th gen and above) like I do, then all you have to do is grab an Apple charging cable and plug that bad boy into the bottom of your remote.

Pro tip: Your charge should last a couple of months (mine usually lasts about three months). You can check your battery charge level by going into Settings, clicking on Remotes and Devices, and then clicking on Remote.

Apple TV Remote

Apple TV Remote

The aluminum Apple TV Remote (2nd and 3rd gen) takes a CR2032 or BR2032 lithium 3.0 V coin battery. These batteries are available at most drug stores, supermarkets, superstores (like Walmart and Target), and some gas stations and convenience stores.

To change your Apple TV Remote battery, use a small coin to turn the slotted battery cover on the back of the remote control. (It turns counter clockwise.) The new battery goes in with the positive side facing up.

Apple Remote

If you have an old skool Apple Remote (white, not aluminum), use a paper clip or similar item to press the battery tray release button on the bottom end of the remote. When the tray slides out, replace the battery in the same manner as above.

How to pair your Apple TV remote

Apple TV remotes can work universally across Apple devices. Unless you pair your remote with a specific device, however, your remote won’t work with that device.

Siri Remote

If you have a Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote (4th gen and above), you can manually pair your remote by following these steps:

  1. Directly point your Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote at your Apple TV HD or Apple TV 4K from about 3 inches away.
  2. Press and hold down the MENU and + (volume up) buttons at the same time for 2 to 5 seconds.
  3. If prompted, place your remote on top of your receiver.

Easy peasy—an onscreen message will appear if you pair your remote successfully.

Apple TV Remote

To pair an Apple TV Remote (2nd and 3rd gen) with an Apple TV receiver, point the remote at the receiver and press the Menu and Right Arrow buttons at the same time. Then hold them down for six seconds.

An icon that looks like two joined chain links should appear over a remote control icon on your screen to let you know you’ve successfully paired your devices.

Apple Remote

For an Apple Remote (1st gen), press and hold Menu and Next/Fast Forward for six seconds to pair it to your device.

How to unpair your Apple TV remote

An Apple remote may appear to stop working if you’ve paired it to the wrong device. For some Apple remotes, the first step to solve this problem is to unpair your remote.

Siri Remote

First things first, you can’t unpair a Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote (4th gen and above). But you can pair a replacement remote, which will automatically unpair your old remote.

Apple TV Remote

For Apple TV Remotes (2nd and 3rd gen), you can unpair your remote if you want to replace it or use it on another Apple device.

Unpair your Apple TV Remote by pressing the Menu and Left Arrow buttons simultaneously and holding for six seconds.

An icon that looks like two separated chain links should appear over a remote control icon on your screen to let you know you’ve successfully unpaired your devices.

Apple Remote

For an Apple Remote (1st gen), press and hold the Menu and Previous/Rewind buttons for six seconds to unpair it from your device.

What if you’ve lost your Apple TV remote?

Losing your Apple TV remote isn’t the end of the world. (Who hasn’t found their magic Apple wand buried under a crusty couch cushion a couple days after binge-watching Workaholics?)

The good news is that you can use any of your iOS devices, including your iPhone, as a remote. Just follow these easy steps to get back to crushing through your quarantine Netflix queue:

  1. Connect your Apple TV receiver and your iOS device to the same Wi-Fi network.
  2. Add the Apple TV Remote to your Control Center on your iOS device.
  3. Open your Control Center on your iOS device.
  4. Click on the Apple TV icon.
  5. Choose your Apple TV device.
  6. If prompted, enter any codes on your iOS device that appear on your Apple TV screen.

If you can’t find your Apple TV remote after a week or more (or you’re sick of using your iPhone as a remote), it might be time to buy a new remote.

How to replace your Apple TV remote

If you’ve tried all of the above steps to fix your Apple TV remote, and it’s still not working, you might want to bite the bullet and just buy a new one.

While a replacement Siri Remote will cost you a pretty penny, replacement remotes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen Apple TV devices are pretty cheap.

Replacement Apple TV remotes price as of 11/12/20 2:20 p.m. PDT. Read full disclaimer.

After you’ve purchased a replacement remote, you can pair it to your Apple TV receiver and get back to another marathon sesh of Friends—you’re welcome.

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