Use the Old Apple TV Remote with the New Apple TV

ImageIf you have a new Apple TV, you may have already discovered that the new remote is not the ideal device for navigating lists in the Apple TV’s interface. If, for example, you have a long list of movies, and want to view one near the bottom of the list, you need to swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, until you get to where you want.

However, you can still use the old Apple TV remote – the one to the left – with the new device. You can navigate much more easily by pressing the up and down buttons; and you can press and hold to move up or down a list quickly. And entering passwords, something that is hellish on the new Apple TV – is even easier with the old remote; you can press and hold the left and right buttons to move through the letter list.

So if you have one of these remotes, you might want to keep it handy. Unless you need the touch pad on the new remote, such as for playing a game, you may find the old remote easier to use. And it’s probably easier to use with a lot of games too.

30 thoughts on “Use the Old Apple TV Remote with the New Apple TV

  1. So let me get this straight. The *old* remote is better than the new one?

    What is becoming of Apple?

  2. So let me get this straight. The *old* remote is better than the new one?

    What is becoming of Apple?

  3. Problem is you can’t NOT use an old remote with the new Apple TV4! Whether it’s paired with an old ATV or not, all the old remotes control the new box.

    This could be a problem if sending IR singles around a house (to control a sat/cable box etc.), as you could very easily find yourself accidentally controlling (and buying stuff!) on a new ATV4 when controlling an old ATV3 in another room. Really annoying actually – and no way to turn it off.

  4. Problem is you can’t NOT use an old remote with the new Apple TV4! Whether it’s paired with an old ATV or not, all the old remotes control the new box.

    This could be a problem if sending IR singles around a house (to control a sat/cable box etc.), as you could very easily find yourself accidentally controlling (and buying stuff!) on a new ATV4 when controlling an old ATV3 in another room. Really annoying actually – and no way to turn it off.

  5. In the week since this device has been available, there’s been a steady stream of diametrically opposed responses to the device, and in particular, the remote. I happen to find the new remote far easier and more satisfying to use than the old one. But of course, to each his own.

    However, what I find disturbing is the level of hyperbole that some engage in while defending their views. The new remote is ‘hellish’? C’mon, Kirk: no need to artificially juice your page views.

  6. In the week since this device has been available, there’s been a steady stream of diametrically opposed responses to the device, and in particular, the remote. I happen to find the new remote far easier and more satisfying to use than the old one. But of course, to each his own.

    However, what I find disturbing is the level of hyperbole that some engage in while defending their views. The new remote is ‘hellish’? C’mon, Kirk: no need to artificially juice your page views.

  7. I’ve found the new remote to be extremely powerful, but it does have its drawbacks as you suggest… Scrolling a long content list is easier (for me) when I hold the remote in my left hand and scroll with a finger on my right (either middle or index). It is suboptimal to have to use two hands, but effective… This gets me where I’m going in a swipe or two, and eliminates the vexing problem of inadvertently changing the top of column ‘list by’ setting while scrolling or ‘swiping’ with one hand (i.e., unplayed, name, date)… And Apple could fix the list scroll issue in the new remote by adding support for holding down either the top or bottom cardinal point to start a scroll… They already do this on the new remote for Fast Forward and Rewind: rest a finger on either left or right cardinal point and you’ll see a 10-second FF icon for right, or a 10-second REW if left. Then, for each “push” you get a 10-second skip, and further…when held…you get a single speed FF or REW.

  8. I’ve found the new remote to be extremely powerful, but it does have its drawbacks as you suggest… Scrolling a long content list is easier (for me) when I hold the remote in my left hand and scroll with a finger on my right (either middle or index). It is suboptimal to have to use two hands, but effective… This gets me where I’m going in a swipe or two, and eliminates the vexing problem of inadvertently changing the top of column ‘list by’ setting while scrolling or ‘swiping’ with one hand (i.e., unplayed, name, date)… And Apple could fix the list scroll issue in the new remote by adding support for holding down either the top or bottom cardinal point to start a scroll… They already do this on the new remote for Fast Forward and Rewind: rest a finger on either left or right cardinal point and you’ll see a 10-second FF icon for right, or a 10-second REW if left. Then, for each “push” you get a 10-second skip, and further…when held…you get a single speed FF or REW.

  9. While the new remote is pretty terrific, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t allow for slow-motion playback (as the old one does), and replaces the 3-speed FF and REW (which you can easily control) of the old with difficult-to-control swipe-scrubbing, which (a) relies on the accuracy of your finger, and (b) does not display subtitles while fast-forwarding/rewinding. While these are probably among the lesser-used features of the remote, they’re deal-killers for me, and I was about to return the unit.
    So for me, this is great news. I get to keep my new Apple TV, and can use both remotes depending on which features I need. Little awkward, but a win-win of sorts.

  10. While the new remote is pretty terrific, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t allow for slow-motion playback (as the old one does), and replaces the 3-speed FF and REW (which you can easily control) of the old with difficult-to-control swipe-scrubbing, which (a) relies on the accuracy of your finger, and (b) does not display subtitles while fast-forwarding/rewinding. While these are probably among the lesser-used features of the remote, they’re deal-killers for me, and I was about to return the unit.
    So for me, this is great news. I get to keep my new Apple TV, and can use both remotes depending on which features I need. Little awkward, but a win-win of sorts.

  11. A friend was unable to use the new remote until after taking the battery out of the old one – only then was the new TV4 was then able to forget about it and pair with the new remote.

    The new remote has a lightning connector for recharging, I’m happy to see Apple evolving away from disposable batteries in the new accessories. I also noticed the touch screen clicks – is that haptic?

    Last night I was playing around with my TV3, looking for internet radio stations (the TV3 has a built-in ‘Radio’ channel, while it appears you need an ‘App for that’ with TV4). I was appreciating the ease of scrolling through the thousands of listings by simply pressing a little button. To paraphrase the AppleTV webpage “So long endless swiping. Hello button.”

  12. A friend was unable to use the new remote until after taking the battery out of the old one – only then was the new TV4 was then able to forget about it and pair with the new remote.

    The new remote has a lightning connector for recharging, I’m happy to see Apple evolving away from disposable batteries in the new accessories. I also noticed the touch screen clicks – is that haptic?

    Last night I was playing around with my TV3, looking for internet radio stations (the TV3 has a built-in ‘Radio’ channel, while it appears you need an ‘App for that’ with TV4). I was appreciating the ease of scrolling through the thousands of listings by simply pressing a little button. To paraphrase the AppleTV webpage “So long endless swiping. Hello button.”

  13. If you just tap the up/down/left/right edges of the touchpad on the new remote, it works like the old one. I swipe to scroll fast, and tap the edges to move one-at-a-time. Doesn’t help with the slo-mo, though.

  14. If you just tap the up/down/left/right edges of the touchpad on the new remote, it works like the old one. I swipe to scroll fast, and tap the edges to move one-at-a-time. Doesn’t help with the slo-mo, though.

  15. You can also train Apple TV (3rd and 4th generation) to use your TV remote to do this, or, any remote you have lying around and in use. I like that feature very much; I have and use a Bose sound system and its remote controls everything, including the Apple TV when I don’t want to use Apple’s remote.

  16. You can also train Apple TV (3rd and 4th generation) to use your TV remote to do this, or, any remote you have lying around and in use. I like that feature very much; I have and use a Bose sound system and its remote controls everything, including the Apple TV when I don’t want to use Apple’s remote.

  17. @rsginsf seems correct about the absence of slo-mo support, and partially right about the old FF/REW. But as I pointed out earlier, THERE IS SUPPORT FOR A NEW FF & REW. You can:

    1. Scrub back and/or forth to get where you want in a video, and then click Select to continue play;
    2. Skip forward and/or backward in 10-second increments by resting your thumb (or other digit) on the right (FF) or left (REW) edge of the trackpad. When you do this, a little 10-second jump icon appears next to the current playhead time position. Then each time you click the edge, you get your 10-second skip or jump forward or back;
    3. If you follow the same procedure in item 2 above, and then HOLD the edge down, you get a single speed FF or REW. Play recommences once the edge is released.
    4. Last, you can perform any skip ahead or back by using Siri.

    I really think this implementation of the new remote is quite powerful, and except for the missing slo-mo support, is a fitting replacement for the old remote.

    Unfortunately, the most excellent ‘Video Preview’ feature that helps support scrub control is not available for those of us that serve video content locally from a Mac running iTunes. Hopefully Apple will add this later, along with Siri support for Apple Music.

  18. @rsginsf seems correct about the absence of slo-mo support, and partially right about the old FF/REW. But as I pointed out earlier, THERE IS SUPPORT FOR A NEW FF & REW. You can:

    1. Scrub back and/or forth to get where you want in a video, and then click Select to continue play;
    2. Skip forward and/or backward in 10-second increments by resting your thumb (or other digit) on the right (FF) or left (REW) edge of the trackpad. When you do this, a little 10-second jump icon appears next to the current playhead time position. Then each time you click the edge, you get your 10-second skip or jump forward or back;
    3. If you follow the same procedure in item 2 above, and then HOLD the edge down, you get a single speed FF or REW. Play recommences once the edge is released.
    4. Last, you can perform any skip ahead or back by using Siri.

    I really think this implementation of the new remote is quite powerful, and except for the missing slo-mo support, is a fitting replacement for the old remote.

    Unfortunately, the most excellent ‘Video Preview’ feature that helps support scrub control is not available for those of us that serve video content locally from a Mac running iTunes. Hopefully Apple will add this later, along with Siri support for Apple Music.

  19. I also have to disagree with your review of the new Apple TV remote. I think it’s overall a huge improvement over the previous one. It fits in my hand perfectly. Scrolling, even entering passwords is not a problem at all – to the contrary. It’s fast and fun. Maybe it also has to do with how your hand is shaped. I can see that using the touchpad with your thumb might pose a problem for some people. I sure hope nobody is trying to use the touchpad with his or her index finger. That would certainly be very frustrating.

  20. I also have to disagree with your review of the new Apple TV remote. I think it’s overall a huge improvement over the previous one. It fits in my hand perfectly. Scrolling, even entering passwords is not a problem at all – to the contrary. It’s fast and fun. Maybe it also has to do with how your hand is shaped. I can see that using the touchpad with your thumb might pose a problem for some people. I sure hope nobody is trying to use the touchpad with his or her index finger. That would certainly be very frustrating.

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