5 Apple TV Remote Commands That You Might Not Know

imageYou can learn from a toddler. My daughter, who is 16 months old, loves to play with remote controls. Every now and then, she’ll be playing around with the Apple TV remote, and the Apple TV will do something unexpected. I finally went in search of a comprehensive list of Apple TV Remote commands.

Apple has a fairly comprehensive list of Apple TV Remote commands on its support pages, so some of these commands were gleaned from that site. MacWorld also published an article with a few tips. I’ve indicated after each tip where I found it.

  • Put the Apple TV to sleep: Press and hold the Play/Pause button for five seconds. [Apple]
  • Skip forward or back in 10-second increments: Press the Play/Pause button to pause the video, then hold down the Right or Left button (I can’t get this to work reliably). [Apple]
  • Skip to the next or previous chapter: Press the Down button, then Right or Left to skip chapters (if there are no chapter markers, this will skip 1/20th of the video length, or 30 second intervals whichever is longer. [Apple]
  • Rearrange the Apple TV home screen icons: Press and hold the Select button (the big round one) until the icon jiggles, and then use the navigation controls to move that icon where you want it to be. This won’t work with the icons in the top row. [Macworld]
  • Return to the home page: Press and hold the Menu button. [Macworld]


Notwithstanding these commands, the best thing you can do to make it easier to get around on your Apple TV is to download the Remote app onto your iPhone or iPad. Navigation isn’t that much easier, but it does make text entry much more convenient.

There are still some mystery commands out there. For example, every now and then, as my daughter mashes away on the remote, I’ll see a menu option pop up on the screen, asking me to select an audio source. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

One final tip that I’ve haven’t tired: Did you know that you can pair your remote with your Mac?

If you know of any other commands, share them in the comments.

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. Thanks Evan, I read your posts with great interest. You always give updated information.

  2. Holding select for 3-5 seconds is what brings up the audio menu.

  3. It is marvellous to know short cuts. I used it among my friends and proved myself as extra brilliant. :)

  4. Great tips, the one for re arreanging the icons was very useful to me :D
    You know if there is a way to skip a video or song from a list? instead of fast forwarding… just go to the nest item on the list.
    Greetings from México!

  5. Holding down the play button for 5 seconds does not make mine sleep. I’ve read that command elsewhere but it has never worked for me.

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