Hardware Apple TV on the Apple Watch

Published on December 26th, 2017 | by Kirk Hiner

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How to make your Apple Watch an Apple TV remote

Did you get a new Apple TV this year? A new Apple Watch? Both? I became an Apple Watch user for the first time yesterday, and upon setting it up immediately checked for Apple TV compatibility.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of the Apple TV Remote app for iPhone, using it almost as much as Siri Remote itself. Would the tiny screen of the 42mm Apple Watch work, too? Let’s find out.

Connect Your Apple Watch to Your Apple TV

This process is very simple. If you have Home Sharing set up on your iPhone, you’re done; it automatically connects all your Apple devices and libraries to your Apple ID.

To set it up manually as I did, follow these instructions:

  1. Press the digital crown of your Apple Watch to access the open Home screen.
  2. Open the Remote app.
  3. If it doesn’t automatically find your Apple TV, tap the + symbol to add a device, then select your Apple TV after it appears.
  4. A four-digit number will be displayed; keep that handy.
  5. Turn on your Apple TV and open the Settings app.
  6. Select Remotes and Devices.
  7. Select Remote App, then find and select Apple Watch.
  8. You’ll be asked for the four digit code from your Apple Watch, so enter it here.

You’re now ready to…

Control Your Apple TV With Your Apple Watch

For the most part, this is still all about swiping:

  1. Open the Remote app on your Apple Watch and select your Apple TV.
  2. The Apple Watch touch screen becomes your swiping interface, allowing you to navigate through your Apple TV apps and inputs.
  3. Tap the touchscreen to select an item the same as you would tap on your Siri Remote.
  4. Tap “Menu” on the lower left to backtrack.
  5. Tap Play/Pause on the lower right to play or pause your media. A somewhat hidden feature is that you can also swipe left/right after tapping Play/Pause to rewind and fast forward your content.

The trouble with this—at least in my case—is that the Apple Watch screen is very finicky despite being about the same size as the touch area of the Siri Remote.

Apple Watch Remote

My swipes often wouldn’t register or were misread as taps. That’s one thing when navigating through apps, but it made password entry a total chore. It’s just a handier to keep the Siri Remote or my iPhone with the Apple TV Remote app close by, relying on the Apple Watch solely for playing and pausing content. Which brings me to…

Delete Your Apple TV From Your Apple Watch

This process isn’t readily apparent, but will be familiar to anyone with an Apple device:

  • Open the Remote app on your Apple Watch.
  • Press down on the device you want to remove.
  • Tap “Edit” when it appears.
  • Tap the X on the Apple TV you want to remove.
  • Tap “Remove”

Now, get back to using your Apple Watch for something more conducive to the device’s design…like checking your hockey scores or sending drawings of fish to your friends.

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About the Author

Kirk has been writing for the Apple web since 1997, having served as editor of Applelinks and the Technology Tell Apple Channel. He is also currently editor-in-chief of Public Access Gaming. Kirk lives with his wife and three children in small-town Ohio where the land is cheap and the air is (relatively) clean.



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