31 Top Tips for Mastering Your New Apple TV

I've been using my new Apple TV for several days now and have found the interface to be quite intuitive. However, I quickly discovered there are a lot of tips and tricks that make it even better. Here's a comprehensive roundup.


  1. Press the Menu button to go back, quickly press it twice to go to the Home screen.
  2. When in the Home screen, quickly press the Menu button twice to bring up Apple's attractive screensavers.
  3. Press the Home button once to go to the Home screen. As on iOS devices, quickly press it twice to bring up the App Switcher. Tap to switch apps and swipe up to quit an app.
  4. Press and hold the Home button to put your Apple TV to sleep.
  5. Press and hold the Home and Menu buttons at the same time to restart your Apple TV.
  6. If you have music playing in the background, press and hold the Play/Pause button to quickly return to the Music app.
  7. Quickly press the Home button three times to see the Accessibility options.

Organizing Your Apps

  1. Use the touchpad to identify the app you want to move or delete. As on iOS devices, pressing and holding an app will make it jiggle. Then use the touchpad to drag it to a new location. Press the touchpad to finish.
  2. To delete an app that's jiggling, press the Play/Pause button. Press the touchpad to finish.

Entering Text

  1. - Swipe rapidly to move quickly to the letter you want to select.
  2. - Press and hold a letter to bring up a contextual menu, including upper case, a delete key, and diacritical markings.
  3. - Press the Play/Pause button to toggle the keyboard between upper and lower case.


  1. See my earlier post for an extensive list of Siri commands. Also, see this Macworld article.
  2. Press the Siri button once and then wait rather than saying anything. Siri will give a scrolling list of commands and questions that you can use.
  3. Press and hold the Sirii button and ask, "What can you help me search?" Siri will give a one-sentence overview of the search queries it can understand.

Using the Apple TV Remote to Control Your TV

  1. Depending on your TV, it may automatically respond to the Apple TV remote's power on/off and volume controls. You can control this feature in Settings. Go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Turn On Your TV with Your Remote/Volume Control. Getting it to work may also entail adjusting your TV's CEC settings. See this post on Macworld for more information. 
  2. Alternatively, the Macworld article says you can use the Apple TV remote's IR wireless to control your TV. Set it up by going to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Learn Remote.

Adjusting Apple TV Settings

  1. If you have more than one Apple TV on your network, you may need to rename them to avoid confusion when using AirPlay to stream from your iOS device to your HDTV. Go to Settings > AirPlay > Apple TV Name.
  2. Adjust the sensitivity of your remote's touchpad by going to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Touch Surface Tracking.
  3. Control your Apple TV with a universal remote by going to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Learn Remote.
  4. View the remote's battery level by going to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth.

Controlling Video and Music Playback

  1. See the above link to the Siri post for information on how to control video playback using Siri.
  2. When watching a video, swipe left or right on the touchpad to jump back or forward. Press the left side of the touchpad to go back 10 seconds, or press the right side to go forward 10 seconds. Press and hold the left side to rewind. Press and hold the right side to fast-forward.
  3. When listening to music, hold down the left side of the touchpad to rewind and the right side to fast-forward.
  4. When listening to music, press the left side of the touchpad twice to go back a track and the right side once to skip forward a song.
  5. While listening to a song, press and hold the touchpad and swipe up to see the rest of the album. At the top the .... button that gives more options, such as adding it to a playlist and starting a station based on the song.

Adjust Video and App Settings

  1. While watching a video, you can see settings options by swiping down from the top of the touchpad. A window will appear with options to view more information about the movie, turn on subtitles, and adjust audio so that loud sounds are suppressed and dialog is clearer. You can also select a different speaker. Swipe up to close the window.
  2. This method of accessing settings also apparently works for some apps. Swiping down on the Periscope app, for example, gives a control for jumping to the next broadcast and one for hiding chat.

Pair a Game Controller with Your Apple TV

  1. To pair a third-party game controller, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth. Put your game controller in pairing mode. Then select it in the Remotes and Devices window.
  2. To see how a game controller can be used to control all facets of your Apple TV, check out this article on AppleInsider

Stream Amazon Video and Spotify Music

  1. While there are no apps for Amazon Video or Spotify in the Apple TV App Store, you can use your iPhone or iPad to stream these services to your Apple TV via AirPlay. For a detailed explanation, see SiliconAngle.
Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.