One of the coolest things to do with your Apple Watch is to use it as your Apple TV Remote with Apple Watch’s pre-installed Remote app. If you are anything like me, your remote(s) somehow manages to get lost when you need it the most. So having our Apple TV Remote right on our left or right wrist is a real life saver (or at least saves me the trouble of actually looking for my regular remote.)
The Remote app is pre-installed on your Apple Watch. So, all we need to do is set the darn thing up and start using it.
Apple’s Remote app controls your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Apple TVs (sorry 1st generation owners!) And don’t forget that Apple Remote is also a great remote to your iTunes library on your MAC and even your Windows PC. With this app, Apple TV menus, settings, and other options are easy to navigate. And everything is done using the Remote app on our Apple Watch. Neat!
Let’s walk through how you pair your Apple Watch with your Apple TV. And how you actually use the Remote app to find shows, movies, other types of programming, and apps.
So let’s get to it!
A Word About Home Sharing
If Home Sharing is already turned ON through your iPhone’s Remote app, we have great news for you! You’re good to go. Home Sharing automatically connects all your computers, iDevices, and Apple TVs that are linked with the same Apple ID. Let’s reiterate that–everything MUST be linked to the SAME APPLE ID. That’s the only way this method works.
Let’s Pair Up With Remote app
First, we need to pair our Apple Watch to our Apple TV. Sounds easy! And turns out, it actually IS easy. Since our Apple Watches work in tandem with our iPhones, check that your paired iPhone is connected to the same WiFi network as your Apple TV. Once you verify that everything is connected to the same network:
- Open Remote app on Apple Watch
- Tap Add Device
- A 4 digit code appears
- Take note of this code, you need it later
Now turn your attention to your Apple TV. The next steps require you to use your Apple TV Remote.
Using the Apple TV Remote
- Go to Apple TV and open Remote app
- Select your Watch listed in Pairable Devices
- Enter the code from your Apple Watch
- Your Apple Watch appears under My Devices
At this point, go back to your Apple Watch. Your watch screen now features the Apple TV Remote interface, with access to Swipe, Menu, and Play/Pause. Finally, you’re all set to use your Apple Watch as your Apple TV Remote!
Using Apple Watch’s Remote app for Apple TV
Now that your Apple Watch is paired to your Apple TV, browse through apps and games, select items, play movies and TV shows, showcase your photos, and even control your music through your watch. How cool is that?
Your Remote app interface features four distinct navigational options: Menu, Play/Pause, Swipe, and Remote Menu.
Tapping on Menu takes you back to the previous screen. Also, pressing and holding Menu returns you to the top menu of your Apple TV.
To watch and listen to media on your Apple TV, tap on Play/Pause. In addition, pressing it pauses playback and pressing it again resumes playback. Also, tapping and swiping to the right fast-forwards playback. And tapping and swiping to the left fast-rewinds playback.
Navigate to apps by swiping in the apps direction. Swipe up, down, left, or right to move through the Apple TV menus. To select a highlighted item or app, tap anywhere in the swipe screen to choose.
Tap on the remote menu to take you back to the Main Remote Menu, where you select and add different devices to control.
Unpair your Apple Watch and Apple TV
There are times when you need to unpair your Watch from the Apple TV. Maybe you’re getting the newest Apple Watch or the newest Apple TV and need to prep these for new owners. For whatever reason, you need to unpair your watch from your Apple TV.
To unpair, on your Apple TV
- Go to Settings
- Tap General
- Choose Remotes and Devices
- Select Remote App
- Choose Your Watch
- Select “Forget Device”
Once confirmed, your Apple Watch reports a lost connection. Select Remove. You are unpaired!
If you used Home Sharing to pair your Apple Watch to your Apple TV, removing it is easy. Just turn off Home Sharing on your iPhone–that’s it!
What About A Universal Remote app?
Okay, I think everyone’s ideal is one remote for everything. Just like single sign-on, an app that controls everything would be so fantastic! And if that app just sat on your watch–even better. But we are not there–yet.
For now, there’s an app named Peel that strives to become that ideal. Peel Smart Remote is a universal remote control app for the Apple Watch and iPhones. Peel also offers an app for Android phones and devices.
About Peel Smart Remote
Peel Smart Remote currently operates over 400,000 models of home electronics, including televisions, DVD players, some models of Dish and Direct boxes, Roku, and other audio and streaming devices. The catch is that your device MUST support WiFi Control.
If your device doesn’t support WiFi Control, there is an option to purchase a Pronto Device. This device basically translates your iPhones, iPads, or Apple Watches Bluetooth signals into IR signals that your home electronics understand.
Regretfully, none of Apple’s iDevices include an IR transmitter. In contrast, some Android phones can transmit IR signals, including HTC, LG, Samsung and ZTE. For these phones, there is no need for Pronto.
Unfortunately, with the Pronto you are only able to designate one iDevice as your home’s universal remote. That’s because the Pronto receives signals from the Peel app using the iPhone’s Bluetooth signal. So if you want to use a second iDevice, you first have to unpair the previous iDevice.
Also, the Pronto transmits IR signals only. Consequently, Pronto is not compatible with devices that communicate using only Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, such as Amazon’s Fire TV or Fire Stick.
Losing a TV Remote is a fact of life. It happens to us all. By connecting our Apple watches to our Apple TV via the Remote app, losing our remote is no longer a big deal. And with apps like Peel’s Smart Remote, losing ANY remote is no longer a time waster.
And here’s the best news! You only need to set up the Remote app once for each device. So after you set up the app, you quickly get to the fun of choosing all your movies or television programs–all from your Apple Watch.
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.