Rebooting a Remote

tl;dr Have you tried turning it off and on again? Reboot a Siri Remote by holding down the 📺 and ➖ buttons for several seconds.

Here’s a quick tip about dealing with a quirk of the new Apple TV Siri Remote. It’s not a big deal, not a “life hack”—but I already forgot about it once, so I’m hoping that by jotting it down, I’ll remember it myself next time. Anyway.

I have a fairly pedestrian television setup: a Samsung TV hooked up to a Vizio soundbar. I do most of my viewing through an Apple TV 4K, which in its most recent incarnation comes with a remote that’s recharged via USB-C. One nice thing about the remote is that it can also control the soundbar’s volume; it means I don’t have to juggle an additional remote for this frequently needed task. In fact, it’s enough of a quality of life improvement that when it stops working, watching TV gets kinda aggravating.

Fortunately, the fix is easy: reboot the remote. It’s a little weird—indeed, I’d go so far as to say disconcerting—that a television remote can be rebooted, much less occasionally require it. On the other hand, it’s not surprising that there’s a little computer in an Apple product, and less surprising still that where there’s a computer, there’s failure. Somewhere in there, the subsystem for blasting out IR signals must be taking a break.

Per Apple’s own support docs, you reboot an Apple TV remote by holding down the TV/Control Center and volume-down buttons for several seconds. (Long enough to see the light on the Apple TV itself blink off and back on.) After it reconnects, the soundbar once again responds to the Apple TV remote.

While it would be nice if the remote were a more reliable, the feature I’d most love to see is Find My support. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrabbled beneath my couches, searching for the remote like a pirate who’s mislaid his treasure map.