How to Use iPhone as Apple TV Remote

If you haven’t already heard of the Apple TV Remote app, it’s a super cool native Apple app that allows you to pair your Apple TV remote with your phone. This way, if you ever lose or misplace your remote, you can use your phone instead. We’re going to cover some basic Apple TV Remote app instructions so you can learn how to connect your phone to the Apple TV.

Related: Apple TV App Store: How to Download Apps on Apple TV (tvOS 15 Update)

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How to Control Your Apple TV from Your iPhone

A few years ago, Apple discontinued the TV Remote App that was available for download in the App Store in favor of a fully integrated native Apple app that is accessible through the Control Center on any Apple device running iOS 12 or later. First, you’ll need to make sure the icon appears on your Control Panel menu. Here’s how:

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  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

    open settings to add apple tv remote to control center
  2. Tap Control Center.

    go to control center in settings
  3. Tap the green plus next to Apple TV Remote to add it to Control Center.

    add apple tv remote

Then, to open the Apple TV Remote app:

  1. Swipe down from the top left (or swipe up from the bottom center if you have a Home Button).

    swipe down to go to control center
  2. Tap the Remote icon.

    tap apple tv remote

And now you’re successfully using the Apple TV remote on your iPhone! For more cool tips and tricks for using your iPhone, be sure to sign up for our Tip of the Day newsletter. If you need a Apple TV remote replacement, check out our article about official Apple and third-party options.

How to Use the iPhone Remote on Apple TV

Now that you’ve opened the Apple TV Remote on your iPhone, here are the basics for navigating the app.

  1. Mute and unmute audio by tapping the Speaker button. Use your iPhone volume buttons while the Remote app is open to control the volume on your Apple TV.

    adjust volume on apple tv
  2. Tap the List icon in the top center to access the guide or menu.

    go to guide on apple tv
  3. Turn your Apple TV on and off by pressing the Power button in the top left corner.

    power off apple tv
  4. If you have multiple Apple TVs, choose which one to sync your phone to by tapping Choose a TV.

    select which apple tv you'd like to use the remote with
  5. The large open space in the center of the app is a touchpad. You can maneuver your cursor on your Apple TV just like you would use the touch feature on your iPhone.

    use touchpad to control apple tv
  6. The small TV icon will take you to the Apple TV menu or the Home screen with one tap.

    return to apple tv home
  7. Pause or play video or audio by pressing the Play button in the bottom left.

    pause or play apple tv
  8. Go back by tapping the big arrow in the bottom center.

    go back to previous on apple tv
  9. Additionally, you can change channels by tapping the up and down arrows in the bottom right.

    surf channels on apple tv
  10. Lastly, if your press and hold the lock button on your iPhone, you can activate Siri on your Apple TV.

    press and hold side button to activate siri on apple tv

Important note: Not all TVs are compatible with the volume control feature on the Apple TV Remote app. Its speaker button appears grayed out if it is unavailable with your devices. You can also check your TV’s user manual to see if it’s compatible.

Once you start playing a show, a few icons will appear on the touchpad:

  1. In the bottom left and right of the touchpad, you can fast forward or rewind at 10-second intervals.

    fast forward or rewind for 10 seconds on apple tv
  2. In the bottom center of the touchpad, you can turn subtitles on and off by tapping the Subtitle button.

    turn subtitles on and off on apple tv

And that’s how to use your iPhone as an Apple TV remote! The integrated Apple TV Remote app is so convenient, especially if you’re like me and often lose your Apple TV remote. So now, as long as you have your iPhone, you can always control your Apple TV. If you often use your iPhone for streaming, check out how to Chromecast iPhone to your TV so you can view your favorite shows on the big screen.

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Author Details

Rachel Needell's picture

Author Details

Rachel Needell

Rachel Needell is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and a poet and author. With 10-plus years of experience working with Apple devices, she specializes in all-things iPad and is a Notes App expert, having worked on both the 2023 iPad Guide and the Notes App Guide. You can usually find her writing in the Daily Tip newsletter as one of our senior Tip writers. Rachel received her Master’s degree in English Literature in 2021 and her most recent work appears in the Winter ’21 edition of New Note Poetry. When she’s not obsessing about Apple products, you can find her voraciously reading fantasy books with her cat in Asheville, North Carolina.