New Apple TV incompatible with Apple's own Remote app for iOS and watchOS

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2015
As shipments of Apple's latest and greatest Apple TV reach eager customers, some may be disappointed to find Apple's Remote app for iOS and watchOS incompatible with the new model, meaning all tvOS navigation and text entry must be conducted via the included Siri Remote and onscreen keyboard.




Apple itself confirms the Remote apps for iPhone and Apple Watch only support third-generation Apple TVs or earlier, as noted by a recently updated support document covering app setup. Seen above, the webpage now says in no uncertain terms that Remote cannot be used with the new Apple TV.

It is unclear if Apple chose to leave out Remote app compatibility in a bid to push the new Siri-powered control interface, but the decision is already causing problems for users averse to onscreen keyboards. Some reviewers found the new Apple TV version more difficult to use than past iterations due to an odd character layout, for example.

Paring down buttons on a physical remote meant Apple had to implement hunt-and-peck style alphanumeric entry, which on previous generation Apple TV units is arranged in an alphabetized 6-by-6 digit square with extra rows for numbers, special characters and commands. On the new Apple TV that square is stretched to a long row of letters, another for numbers and yet another for text input options, meaning users have to swipe back and forth using Siri Remote's touchpad.


Remote control setup menu screen on 4th-gen Apple TV.


For many, the Remote app was an effective workaround that provided a handy soft keyboard on an iPhone or iPad, though others preferred Bluetooth keyboards (the 4th-gen Apple TV nixes this feature as well for certain models). Further, Apple Watch owners were able to quickly access controls for UI navigation and content playback via the native Remote app.

It is unknown whether or not Apple has plans to tack on compatibility, but disassociating Apple TV from its flagship mobile products seems like a glaring oversight. It is possible that future Remote app updates will bring back support for both iOS and native watchOS apps, though a tvOS update might also be required.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 264
    Interesting. I'm assuming they're working on updating the app to support the ATV4. I use an Apple keyboard with my ATV2, but can see where some folks would prefer to use their iPhone/iPad.
  • Reply 2 of 264
    This is hugely disappointing. I ordered my 64GB today for store pickup tomorrow. But I will not be picking it up tomorrow. I'll wait until this issue is fixed (it looks like the @TV is available within an hour of ordering in your nearby Apple Store).

    It had better be.
  • Reply 3 of 264
    Bluetooth keyboards don't work either. They did work with the 3rd gen.
  • Reply 4 of 264
    I picked one up today. The keyboard is certainly a challenge, especially for services like Netflix and Hulu where it is a lot of scrolling around. The good news for some services like YouTube, HBO GO, etc it directed you to the web page to put you info in on a web browser with an activation code.

    I can't imagine this won't be addressed with an iOS app soon. But overall, this is a pretty neat little box. Several of my iOS games showed up as Purchased in the App Store and were quite usable. It is not "blow your mind amazing" but you can see this will become a major focal point for app developers. Definitely glad I picked one up.
  • Reply 6 of 264
    This shows you that this will be a great AppleTV. The remote app was horrible, to say the least. I still refuse to believe that Apple made it.

    Seriously, it sucked. You'd go into it, to pause something you're watching, and it would start with the touch interface screen, and then pop out back to the darn playlist screen, only for you to have to re-enter the touch interface that was the only half-way useful part of the app.

    I personally am glad it's gone. They can rewrite it (and should) and probably cook it into iOS and WatchOS, but otherwise that former app was horrible...
  • Reply 7 of 264
    It may not have been up to your standards, but it gave users a way to enter text without the remote.
  • Reply 8 of 264
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by r98266 View Post



    It may not have been up to your standards, but it gave users a way to enter text without the remote.



    Agreed and I liked that, and I'd love to see that come back. After pecking at the remote to re-enter all my darn DirecTV credentials to validate each app individually, I tend to agree with The Verge that Apple needs to figure out a way to unify that type of login.

     

    YouTube app...another example of that remote.app sucking. I would enter text, and the auto-complete would suddenly screw everything up. A simple search like "Swift tutorial" would turn into "SwiftWiftTuSwiftTutorial"

  • Reply 9 of 264
    Entering 6 different logins took way longer than it should have. Grrrrr..

    Enter a password wrong? Have fun entering everything again..
  • Reply 10 of 264
    mubailimubaili Posts: 383member
    Didn't someone demo you could use the remote app to jump in to play games etc? What the heck happened? Just picked up my 32gb one from Apple Store. I am very disappointed even before I open it. Darn.
  • Reply 11 of 264
    As someone with a physical disability (Muscular Dystrophy) I am gutted that the new Apple TV 4 will not allow me to use the Remote app to control the new device. This renders it useless for me as I am unable to physically use the new Siri remote. I assumed that I would finally be able to use Siri and the Remote app with my iPhone. Sadly this is not an option. Very disappointed that Apple forgot about its wide distribution of Apple loyalists with a disability. Looks like I'll be returning my ATV 4 on arrival as it has already been shipped!
  • Reply 12 of 264
    First thing I noticed when I started using the AppleTV, the remote app didn't work. Took me at least twice as long to set everything up without it.

    Boneheaded move on Apple's part, but I'm sure they'll fix it.
  • Reply 13 of 264
    Wow.... Bad, bad Apple. Let's hope there is a reboot on this.

    A new, dedicated AppleTV app would be a great move. But, a move that should have been made in concert with the new release of AppleTV.
  • Reply 14 of 264
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,408member

    Who was it who recently suggested updates don't break things, or "change features"?

    I know it's just an impression, but it seems to be an increasingly common pattern, and a very disappointing one,

    that these things give the sense of not quite being fully baked, despite the long ramp-up time.

    I'm sure many of you will see good reasons for this, and be able to forgive Apple unconditionally,

    but I invite you to consider how this might seem to the millions of new Apple users being attracted

    by Apple's reputation as the platform that gets it right, where it all "just works"...

    These "oopses" might not be the first impression Apple hopes to create, or that they deserve.

  • Reply 15 of 264
    Huge disappointment is an understatement! The whole concept of the Apple ecosystem is that it is an ecosystem. I invest in Apple products for the interoperability that was lacking in other OSs.
  • Reply 16 of 264
    Does anyone know if you can use the new remote with old AppleTV?
  • Reply 17 of 264
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    boredumb wrote: »
    Who was it who recently suggested updates don't break things, or "change features"?
    I know it's just an impression, but it seems to be an increasingly common pattern, and a very disappointing one,
    that these things give the sense of not quite being fully baked, despite the long ramp-up time.
    I'm sure many of you will see good reasons for this, and be able to forgive Apple unconditionally,
    but I invite you to consider how this might seem to the millions of new Apple users being attracted
    by Apple's reputation as the platform that gets it right, where it all "just works"...
    These "oopses" might not be the first impression Apple hopes to create, or that they deserve.

    It would have been nice to have been updated before the launch, or even before the demo units were sent out, but let's keep in mind that Apple never demoed the Apple TV with the iOS remote, never promised the iOS remote would work with the 4th gen Apple TV, or made any other such claims. So, yes, the Apple TV you get in the box does "just work" as Apple promised. There are no lies, deceptions, or any other skullduggery going on here to show Apple not giving the new Apple TV the exact impression they demoed and advertised last month.

    Now if AirPlay didn't work out of the box, that would be a different story since that is a touted feature from an iOS device.

    felixer wrote: »
    Does anyone know if you can use the new remote with old AppleTV?

    Of course you can. That's what it was designed for.
  • Reply 18 of 264
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by r98266 View Post



    Bluetooth keyboards don't work either. They did work with the 3rd gen.

     

    Remote app and BT keyboard compatibility better be fixed soon.  Otherwise this seems like a petty attempt by Apple to drive attention towards the new remote, which you can't even charge out of the box using what's included.  Since the new Siri Remote is so great, you won't want to use anything else to control Apple TV, and we're just being helpful by making sure that you don't use anything else.

  • Reply 19 of 264
    dachardachar Posts: 330member

    I am finding the screen keyboard frustrating.

     

    Purchasing a film has been a bit of an issue too. By default it seems you can only buy HD formats; I prefer SD but there seems no way of selecting them on ATV4. In the end I got around it by purchasing via iTunes on my iMac. 

  • Reply 20 of 264
    solipsismy wrote: »

    It would have been nice to have been updated before the launch, or even before the demo units were sent out, but let's keep in mind that Apple never demoed the Apple TV with the iOS remote, never promised the iOS remote would work with the 4th gen Apple TV, or made any other such claims. So, yes, the Apple TV you get in the box does "just work" as Apple promised. There are no lies, deceptions, or any other skullduggery going on here to show Apple not giving the new Apple TV the exact impression they demoed and advertised last month.

    Of course you're technically right about that. But, if that was Apple's intention, I would consider that to be a rather sneaky, petty, legalistic move.

    Therefore, I don't believe that was the case.

    There's must be some deeper reason why. I'll wait until this issue is fully resolved before I spend $200 upgrading to something that is, for me, in the 'nice to have' rather than the 'must have' category, since I am quite happy with my @TV3.
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