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How to navigate Apple TV with a Bluetooth keyboard

Whether you need something more substantial for navigation than Apple's Siri or Apple TV Remote, or you simply like having the flexibility a keyboard offers, you can do most everything on your Apple TV once you've paired it with a Bluetooth keyboard.

How to navigate the Apple TV with a Bluetooth keyboard

You can use the following keys to move around the Apple TV's Home screen and some apps.

  • Arrow keys: Use them to navigate up, down, left and right.



  • Return: Use the Return key to make a selection.
  • F7, F9: Rewind and fast-forward.


  • F8, Spacebar: Play or pause content.
  • F4: This will return you to the Home screen. (On the third-generation Apple TV, you'll use the Escape key, instead.)
  • F11, F12: Decrease or increase volume.
  • F3: Open the app switcher.

How to search for items with a Bluetooth keyboard

When you select a text field, your keyboard will work just like it does on your computer: Just type in what you'd like to find.

Your letter keys aren't confined to text boxes, however: You can also quickly jump to any item in your Movie, TV Shows, or Music purchased list or library by typing in the first few letters in its title — or, if you're in Apple Music, the artist's name, playlist, album, or more. For example, assuming you have the following in your library:

  • In your purchased Movies, typing "bac" jumps you to "Back to the Future".
  • In your Purchased TV shows, typing "bat" jumps you to "Batman: The Animated Series".
  • In the Music app, typing "All" jumps you to "Allman Brothers Band".

Things your Bluetooth keyboard can't do with Apple TV

Unfortunately, there's currently no way to make Siri trigger on your keyboard — in part because most Bluetooth keyboards don't have a microphone! You also may not be able to play certain games, or scrub through content as easily as with the Siri Remote trackpad.

Questions?

Have a burning thought we didn't answer about Apple TV and Bluetooth keyboards? Let us know in the comments!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

2 Comments
  • I have a Panasonic (non-smart) HD LED 1080p TV which is about 3 years old and the remote for that works with the Apple TV4. I can use the arrows, the OK button is the equivalent of the clicker and the return button is equivalent of the menu button on the Siri remote. Sometimes this is quite handy when i have "lost" the Siri remote and couldn't be bothered looking for it :-)
    I also have a bluetooth keyboard paired so this guide will be handy too.
  • Can you type in hh:mm:ss to go to a particular time in movies or podcasts? I would like that.