How to control your TV with your Siri Remote

Apple TV Siri Remote
Apple TV Siri Remote (Image credit: iMore)

The Siri Remote you get with your Apple TV can do more than control just your new, Apple-branded set-top box. You can also use it to control certain aspects of your TV, provided that TV is recent enough.

If the television to which you've attached your Apple TV supports HDMI-CEC (HDMI Consumer Electronics Control), you can use the Siri Remote to power your TV up and down when you wake your Apple TV and control the volume without having to grab your TV's remote. Of course, your mileage may vary as to how often this works as advertised, but when it does work, it's just great.

How to control your TV with your Siri Remote

  1. Open Settings on your Apple TV.
  2. Select Remotes and Devices.

  1. Click Control TVs and Receivers so that it reads On if it doesn't already.
  2. Click Volume Control.

  1. Click Auto, TV via IR, or Off if the options are available, and if not, click Learn New Device... to map your Siri Remote to your TV.

Great remotes for your Apple TV

There are some excellent remote options for the Apple TV, whether you need a replacement Siri Remote or want to make an upgrade.

Siri Remote

(opens in new tab)

Siri Remote (opens in new tab) ($60 at Amazon)

If you lost or have broken your Apple TV's included Siri Remote, it's easy enough to replace.

Logitech Harmony 950

(opens in new tab)

Logitech Harmony 950 (opens in new tab) ($200 at Amazon)

This remote can control your Apple TV perfectly, as well as your other entertainment devices.

Update May 2019: Instructions and screenshots up-to-date through tvOS 12.2.

Serenity Caldwell contributed to a previous version of this article.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • One question: It seems like the Siri remote can control the TV and nothing else. So if I've got even a slightly more complicated setup—for instance, I have a sound bar hooked up to my TV, the volume of which is controlled separately—then I'll still be reaching for the universal remote, yes?
  • I would think that you could program the volume buttons using the remote from the sound bar rather than the tv. I'm just guessing as mine doesn't come until next week.
  • I tried that. When I try and learn a volume remote, it asks you to activate the volume buttons on the sound bar remote. When I do that, Apple TV does seem to detect it, it seems to learn it...but afterwards the sound bar still does not react to the ATV remote (but does react to its native remote). The ATV remote seems to be able to learn the signal, but it still doesn't know how to get that to the sound bar (yes, I have clear line of sight)
  • Darn. I was hoping that would work. :-(
  • I have a Vizio soundbar and I have it working fine with my new ATV4. I first had it learn as a remote, then select it as your audio source. The apple remote turns on/off my TV and controls the soundbar volume. It does not turn off the soundbar but mine auto sleeps after an automatic period of time. Once I turn on the TV I just hit volume up and the soundbar turns on. Keep trying it should work
  • "select it as your audio source" - Do mean the name you give to a custom volume remote? Or something else? Mine seems to go through the motions of learning my Samsung sound bar remote (it "learns" the volume up and down), but when I confirm it as the custom volume remote, volume seems to do nothing.
  • I got my Siri remote to work for my receivers volume control (though I don't seem to have the option to control the power). I think I did what you're describing, but just in case I did something different:
    I went to Settings-Remotes and Devices-Volume Control (under the heading "Home Theater Control").
    I chose "Learn New Device..." and used my receiver's remote to teach the Apple TV the column control.
    Then, I went back into Volume Control, under "Home Theater Control," and selected my newly created "Receiver via IR" option. At that point, the Siri remote began to control my receiver's volume via IR.
  • That's what I did. My GUESS (big time guess) is that my sound bar remote is learned by the ATV, and then the ATV is meant to "teach" the ATV remote how to project the right IR signal? Anyway....doesn't work for me. It's's just an IR'd think the remote could project it, and the sound bar shouldn't know one way or another.
  • Good explanation of the problem. Mine is exactly as you outlined above. The Samsung TV and a Samsung sound bar, and the Apple TV remote apparently "learned" the sound bar device, but the volume controls on the Apple TV remote will not work. The on/off features of the Apple TV remote to control the TV do work.
  • I believe there's a way to do this; we're checking with Apple for clarification. (My Sonos automatically picked up the IR signal from the Siri Remote, so I was lucky in that regard, but there is a proper way to set it up.)
  • I know that the latest AppleTV will switch automatically via HDMI-CEC if your TV supports it. My question is can you easily switch BACK to other input sources via the new AppleTV remote? I'm interested in the new AppleTV but I don't want to be shuffling remotes all the time when I want to switch inputs. For example, when I want to go back to my cable box+xbox one on input 1.
  • No way to switch inputs with Siri Remote, but you can pair your Apple TV to a universal remote.
  • I can't get my Sonos Playbar to connect at all. You think it might be because I'm using a harmony remote?
  • I somehow got my Apple TV 4 to play with my Sonos Playbar, but I don't remember what steps I took. In any event, my Siri remote now controls the ATV, and its volume up/down makes the Playbar turn the volume up/down, as long as it's within line-of-sight of the Playbar. If I remember the steps, i'll post them later.
  • It seems likely that the volume won't work for any external speakers and thus will be more or less useless for the majority of home setups. I mean how many people actually use the tiny 3" speakers on their TV? Almost always the TV goes to a tuner, amp, or directly to external speakers. TVs have been purposely designed with poor built-in speakers for at least a decade now in order to encourage everyone to buy the amp and the external speakers. Maybe if you had a five year old Panasonic set. That's the last time I remember a TV being made with even moderately good internal speakers.
  • I am not so sure about that. I have a Sony TV...if I had a Sony sound bar, I bet you it would work via Bravia Sync. It's early days...there will be some ways to do this I am sure.
  • UPDATE: Got my Apple TV today. Right out of the box, the Siri remote controlled the volume on my sound bar. AND my Logitech Harmony 650 remote that controlled my previous Apple TV controls the new one without any reprogramming. What do you know, it just works!
  • it's worth mentioning that the remote app on the iphone/ipad does not work with the new apple tv.
  • Great!! Thought it was just me sigh Sent from the iMore App
  • I have to imagine that will be fixed soon.
  • Oddly...the home button on the remote started off working fine...but 20 minutes in or so, it does nothing. does make the light on the front of the ATV blink, but that's it. It doesn't go home, holding it doesn't bring up the sleep menu, double click doesn't bring up recent apps. Just a blinking light on the ATV. I am not sure if I got a hardware fault, or whether I have toggled some setting that is making it not do what it should.
  • How do I get the OLD remote to NOT control the new Apple TV?? I have two Apple TVs, different setups, different accounts etc... There doesn't seem to be an option to pair/unpair? And also, the Remote app not controlling the new Apple TV is a big disappointment. I'd like to think that they just forgot about it rather than someone made this decision... Unless they're preparing a brand new iOS app only for the new Apple TV? Sent from the iMore App
  • With the previous Apple TVs, you could pair the remote with the ATV so that it would control only that ATV and nothing else. If you try that with the old remote and old ATV, will it prevent the old remote from affecting the new ATV? The pairing option in the old Apple TV is found under Settings > General > Remotes > Pair Apple Remote.
  • I've tried every combination of pairing and un-pairing. I can't find a way to keep the old Apple TV remote from controlling the new Apple TV even when it isn't on, it will turn it on and switch HDMI ports to get to it. It makes the old Apple TV useless side by side.
  • No pair/unpair feature on the new Apple TV settings unfortunately ...
  • If you cover the sensor it will prevent that from happening. Not the greatest option but it works.
  • Doesn't look like we can yet. Workaround is use the Remote App with your 3rd gen Apple TV and the Siri Remote with your 4th Gen. Hopefully they will fix it soon. Sadly the remote app doesn't appear to work yet with Gen 4 Apple TV.
  • does the HDMI-CEC feature work with home theater receivers?
  • Yes, mine does it controls the volume and power on my home theater
  • I have tried setting it up to control the volume on my Pioneer AV receiver. I THINK it has HDMI-CEC but I can't get that to work so I tried IR. The setup worked but when I try to control the volume it doesn't work well. I have to keep clicking the button and it only changes the volume sporadically. I wonder if the remote battery is weak. Is there a way to check the charge level?
  • I have a Sharp TV and a Pioneer VSX-1120K AV receiver and have no problems controlling the volume of the receiver after teaching the IR codes. In fact it works as well as the original Pioneer remote (MUCH better than the universal remote that came with my TiVo HD). Now if I could only figure out how to control TV power too! My Sharp is an old non-CEC RPTV.
  • I have the Pioneer VSX-821K and it just doesn't work for me. I wonder what's going on.
  • Just plugged it in and my remote does not work. My old Apple TV 3rd Gen remote works, but damn, so frustrating. Did I get a lemon?
  • Same issue. Did you find a fix?
  • If you have an old remote, you can use that to set up the ATV. Then, navigate into settings -> remotes and pair the Siri Remote. Alternatively, if you hold the Siri Remote close to the ATV and press and hold the Menu and Home buttons, that will reset and pair the remote. However, that did not work for me.
  • Sorry, I gave you one bit of bad info. To re-pair the device, Apple says this: Put your Siri Remote within three inches of your Apple TV, and point it at the front of your Apple TV. Then press and hold the Menu and Volume Up buttons for five seconds. But again, that did not work for me at initial set-up. Good luck!
  • I can get the Apple TV to turn off my tv when forcing sleep, but I can't seem to get it to turn it on(with any regularity). It worked twice. Any ideas? I can't find much in their user guide about what triggers that.
  • Interestingly, I have just the opposite problem. TV (LG) turns on fine, but won't turn off/sleep with the AppleTV.
  • Trade you. :)
  • Update: it seems a triple press of the button with the "tv" icon will turn on my newer television. So on/off works on the newer tv. My older television still only seems to turn off when the Apple TV goes to sleep. But will not turn on with the above triple press. Still, I have to give props to Apple for even this much working so well. It is amazing to me that it can intuit the television and set the infrared codes into the remote with no effort from the user. Sent from the iMore App
  • Same here and i have updated to 9.1 tvos. Does anyone knows how to TURN OFF AN LG SMART TV from the APPLE TV4 REMOTE OR REMOTE APP? I could put BOTH the ATV4 To SLEEP and the panasonic sound bar to OFF by holding the home button and selecting sleep but I cant get the LG TV to turn off! Anyone know how? Thanks
  • Thanks for the article Serenity! One question: I don't have HDMI-CEC. It seems like you might be saying that I can teach my Siri remote to turn my TV on and off, regardless, using the "Turn on your tv with your remote" option in Settings. However, I don't have that option. Instead, I have an option that reads, "Control TVs and Receivers" under "Home Theater Control" that I can toggle off and on. Any idea how I can add my TV and maybe receiver as devices to be controlled? Thanks!
  • I did this - was great, until the next day. I am upstairs, daughter is watching something and I hear the volume go insane - she starts yelling she can't turn it down. The apple remote learned the volume from the remote on my receiver. The Apple TV remote starting sending out crazy signals because it started changing the volume (only raising it) and wouldn't stop, changing inputs, all kinds of stuff. Turned the function off in settings, and it still blocks my primary remote from working correctly (seems like it is regularly sending remote commands to increase the volume and this interrupts anything I am doing). Going to return it and get a new one, hopefully just an issue with this particular unit I received. Between this happening (potentially blew my speakers) and the missing Podcast app, I am not that impressed. Here are my primary thoughts right now: 1) Controlling an external device with the remote, spotty at best
    2) Missing native apps like the Podcast app, sucks
    3) Input of complex passwords nearly impossible - much slower for text input
  • A few observations and experiences: Out of the box, my remote did not work at all. I ended up having to use my 3rd Gen Apple TV remote to get the new Apple TV going, and then use that to pair the Siri Remote. A frustrating half hour or so of fiddling... We have a Samsung TV with HDMI-CEC (which Samsung calls Anynet+), and the Siri Remote turns on both the Apple TV and the TV, and the volume control works for the TV, all of which is great. However, turning the Apple TV off (by pressing and holding the Home button - is there another way?) only turns off the Apple TV. I will try the other method someone mentioned of pressing the Home button three times and see if that works. Finally, the Home button on my Siri remote sticks, so I am going to take it into the Apple Store in about an hour to swap it out.
  • I noticed it states HDMI 3. My TV has HDMI 2, it should work. I do have HDMI-CEC. Just have to wait until I get the Apple TV. Can you reset the remote like you can the phone when it acts up? May be through settings on the Apple TV itself. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for the article. I'm having the same problem as the other poster: Samsung TV / soundbar, and no amount of fiddling with the settings / learning the remote is working with respect to controlling the volume of the soundbar. Everything else works perfectly (remote turns the TV on/off). Such a bummer, because if I could get the volume to work I could ditch all my other remotes. Any thoughts would be appreciated. George
  • You can only control the power of one device, correct? So I'll still need another remote anyway. One to turn on the TV, and another to turn on my A/V reciever. So for me, the new Siri Remote doesn't elimate the need for another remote.
  • If your devices are HDMI-CEC they should communicate and all will turn on/off from the Siri Remote!
  • Volume worked out of the box. Turned on LG's Simplink and now can control TV power. Have looked everywhere, but can't get the input to switch to automatically. The TV just turns on to whatever the previous input was.
  • For a while, this started working. I noticed in my input settings, the name was changed to Apple TV and the LG Simplink symbol icon was displayed. Turning on the Apple TV also turned on the TV and switched the input. However, today it is no longer working. The Simplink icon is gone. So not not sure where the issue is, with the LG TV, the AppleTV, or the cable.
  • So far this is working so well for me! I'm down to just the tv remote. I can control the Hopper from the Dish Anywhere app. The app supports CEC so I don't need the Dish remote at all now. I rarely watch Dish because I prefer streaming. So using only the app isn't a hassle for me. In some ways it's faster and more efficient than using the remote. Y'all have me worried that this will stop working soon. My tv was delivered on 11/3 and I have a Vizio TV that's 3 years old.
  • Anyone knows how to skip songs in the music app with this remote? I can skip songs from radio but can with the ios app. Fyi i have 9.1 tvos.
  • Does anyone knows how to TURN OFF AN LG SMART TV from the APPLE TV4 REMOTE OR REMOTE APP? I could put BOTH the ATV4 To SLEEP and the panasonic sound bar to OFF by holding the home button and selecting sleep but I cant get the LG TV to turn off! Anyone know how? Thanks
  • I have the same issue with an LG 49UF6400, ATV remote turns on the TV and controls the soundbar (on/off and volume) but can't turn the TV off. What model TV do you have? If you would contact LG and ask for it to be fixed it might help. They have an internal request for this issue with engineering to look at it and if more consumers are reporting the issue it might get more attention. LG and Apple thought it was the soundbar but I connected the ATV and soundbar to a 4 year old Emerson TV and ATV could turn it off and on with no issue.