Secret Apple TV remote controls: Fifteen button combos to power up your viewing!

Remote (Image credit: Rene Ritchie/iMore)

The 3rd-generation Apple TV is no longer available from Apple, but you can still find it at third-party sellers, and it's still a solid set-top for you to get all your iTunes and other content onto your big screen TV. With AirPlay you can even stream most video and audio right off your iPhone or iPad, and mirror the display of your iOS device or Mac in your living room or conference room. It makes a personal experience into a group experience — and if you know all of these controls, it makes it easy!


Press the Up, Down, Left, or Right to move between items. Press Select to chose an item. Press Menu to go back. Press Pause/Play to start or stop media.


Press and hold Menu for 3 seconds to jump all the way back to the main Apple TV Home screen.

Move/hide icons

Press and hold Select for 2 seconds to enter jiggly mode and re-arrange icons. Press Pause/Play to hide an icon.

Video settings

Press and hold Select for 3 seconds while watching an iTunes video to bring up speaker settings, audio, closed captions, and subtitles.


Press and hold Left to rewind 30 seconds. Press Left to rewind continuously. Press Left repeatedly to alternate between slow, medium, and fast rewind speeds.

Fast forward

Press and hold Right to fast forward for 30 seconds. Press Right to fast forward continuously. Press Right repeatedly to alternate between slow, medium, and fast forward speeds.


Press Pause and then press Left or Right to rewind or go forward in slow motion.

Time skip

Press Pause and then press and hold Left or Right to rewind or go forward in slow motion. Press Play again to resume normal viewing.

Chapter skip

Press Down to switch to chapter mode. Press Left to jump back a chapter and Right to jump forward a chapter.

(If the video doesn't use chapters, you'll skip 30 seconds or 1/20th of the video length, whichever is longer.)

Mark episodes

Press and hold down Select while in iTunes TV shows to mark all or individual episodes as watched or unwatched.

Switch keyboards

Press Pause/Play when entering text to switch between alpha, numeric, and symbol keyboards. Press and hold Select for two seconds to bring up accented characters and then press Pause/Play to choose the one you want.


Press and hold Down + Menu for 6 seconds to restart your Apple TV. (This saves you having to get up and unplug/replug to "fix" things like lost network connection or missing services.)


Press and hold Play/Pause for 5 seconds to put your Apple TV into standby mode. (It'll do it automatically when it senses lack of activity for a prolonged period.)


Press and hold Right + Menu for 5 seconds to pair the remote to a specific Apple TV. Press and hold Left + Menu to unpair the remote.

You'll want to do this if you have more than one Apple TV so as to avoid conflicts.

Remote App

There's an Apple TV remote app for iPhone and iPad on the App Store — and one built into the Apple Watch! — so you can also control all your media right from all of your devices.

The iPhone/iPad Remote app makes text entry much easier, and all the apps are handy if you don't have your hardware remote within reach.

More controls!

There's a lot more you can do with the Apple TV remote. Some of it varies by channel — for example, pressing Up on a Netflix show screen brings up an additional menu where you can see more shows for a given actor. There's lots to discover, but this should give you a great start. And like Apple said, a $69 Apple TV with HBO Now is just the beginning!

Rene Ritchie

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.