How to power on and navigate your 4th-gen Apple TV with an iOS-compatible gaming controller

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2015
With a compatible gaming controller, the new fourth-generation Apple TV can be used just like a traditional game console, powering on and navigating across the entire tvOS platform. Here's how it works.




Any iOS-compatible controller will work with the Apple TV. Simply open the tvOS Settings app, choose Remotes and Devices, and then Bluetooth, place your controller into pairing mode, and then select it on your TV.

Once a controller has been paired with tvOS, it can be used to navigate across the platform. Just like with an Xbox One, the A button selects an item, the B button is used to go back, and the left joystick and D-pad are used for navigation.

The Apple TV can even be returned from sleep mode with a paired gaming controller. Simply power on the controller, and the accessory will connect with and activate the Apple TV via Bluetooth, negating the need to use the Siri Remote if a user chooses.

But there are a few tricks that go beyond the basics.

In non-games, the A button is the equivalent of clicking the Siri Remote's trackpad, while the B button is mapped to the Menu button. That means, just like with the Siri Remote, pressing B once will go back one menu, while holding the B button will return to the home screen --?in non-gaming apps.




In games, however, the B button can be mapped however the developer sees fit. For example, in Asphalt 8: Airborne, the A button can be used for gas while the B button brakes. That title also offers use of the left trigger for acceleration and the right trigger for braking.

When you are playing a game, it's the physical controller's pause button that will serve as the Menu button. Pressing the pause button once will, appropriately, pause a title, while users can hold pause to return to the home screen.

In non-gaming apps, a controller's pause button works the same as the B button: Pressing it once will go back one menu, while holding it returns to the home screen.

Finally, the controller's trigger and bumper buttons can also be used for navigating left and right in tvOS menus for non-gaming applications. Of course, these buttons can offer completely different functions in games designed with controller support.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Useful to know--thanks. I'm getting more interested in the AppleTV. Might wait for the 2nd or 3rd gen (of the new tvOS platform) IF they update yearly. They may not....
  • Reply 2 of 17
    So are there any multiplayer games out already that support two users on game controllers ?? Inquiring kids want to know
  • Reply 3 of 17

    I bought the SteelSeries Nimbus. That controller works really well with the Apple TV. Now I just need more games to play. 

  • Reply 4 of 17
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,339member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Boltsfan17 View Post

     

    I bought the SteelSeries Nimbus. That controller works really well with the Apple TV. Now I just need more games to play. 




    I bought one too; that's what the Apple Store is currently selling. I'll probably buy a second for multiplayer.

  • Reply 5 of 17
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 638editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SailorPaul View Post



    So are there any multiplayer games out already that support two users on game controllers ?? Inquiring kids want to know



    Yes.

     

    Bird Climb, Crossy Road, Badlands, and more. I'm still discovering which ones do versus or cooperative multiplayer.

  • Reply 6 of 17
    sog35 wrote: »
    you should wait till the 4th gen, it will be better than the 3rd.
    Or probably the 6th gen, even better.

    This was so funny I actually joined AI after lurking forever to say so! Haha... Perfect!
  • Reply 7 of 17
    Received my new Apple TV this week from the friendly folks at Fedex and so far it's great. It has a slight Wii feel to the navigation and sounds (turned those off). Going to pair a couple of Steel Series Nimbus controllers this weekend and give them a whirl. It's clear even from a few days of use that this is going to go far as a development platform. Awesome start.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    boltsfan17 wrote: »
    I bought the SteelSeries Nimbus. That controller works really well with the Apple TV. Now I just need more games to play. 

    Yeah, I picked one of those up as well. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but it's fantastic to hear it works!
  • Reply 9 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Boltsfan17 View Post

     

    I bought the SteelSeries Nimbus. That controller works really well with the Apple TV. Now I just need more games to play. 




    Fully agree. I bought two of the controllers and they work exactly as advertised. Now bring on more games, especially from Nintendo!

  • Reply 10 of 17
    I also bought two Nimbus controllers, but have yet to figure out how to make them Player One and Player Two. Seems like I can use one for Player One, but player two is always only the Siri remote. Do I have to "forget" the Siri remote each time I want to use a second controller? or does that even work? What am I missing? Is there a way to have two players both using Nimbus controllers?

    Anyone have luck using two Nimbus controllers for two player games?
    Thanks.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 638editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by YodaMac View Post



    I also bought two Nimbus controllers, but have yet to figure out how to make them Player One and Player Two. Seems like I can use one for Player One, but player two is always only the Siri remote. Do I have to "forget" the Siri remote each time I want to use a second controller? or does that even work? What am I missing? Is there a way to have two players both using Nimbus controllers?



    Anyone have luck using two Nimbus controllers for two player games?

    Thanks.



    Two MadCatz controllers here.

     

    I've got it working with all three paired, and don't have to do anything special. I make sure they're both awake and AppleTV sees them as connected (I don't actually go to settings each time, but I look for the Controller Connected HUD in the upper right of the screen) and it seems to work. I'm sorry that's not more helpful.

  • Reply 12 of 17



    And does one of the controllers function for Player One and the other for Player Two?  I have no problem getting them to connect, just seems like they both work for player one only, and player two has to use the Siri remote.

  • Reply 13 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by YodaMac View Post

     



    And does one of the controllers function for Player One and the other for Player Two?  I have no problem getting them to connect, just seems like they both work for player one only, and player two has to use the Siri remote.




    Both controllers function in multiplayer games, one as P1, the other as P2. The Siri remote sits on the coffee table at those times.

  • Reply 14 of 17
    I actually like using the remote for some of the games, lol. My wife and I bought the Nimbus as a second controller, but she loves it so I've been getting used to using the remote.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 638editor
    I actually like using the remote for some of the games, lol. My wife and I bought the Nimbus as a second controller, but she loves it so I've been getting used to using the remote.


    I agree. Rayman did a good job of using the remote. Disney infinity did ok, too. What games are you guys playing?
  • Reply 16 of 17
    Just Rayman so far for 2-player. I wish there would be a category added to the App Store for multiplayer games so I can find some other good ones. But Ubisoft did an amazing job with their Rayman games. First played it on Wii U and it knocked my socks clean off. So imaginative, such a unique use of the second screen, and the graphics are vibrant. The games are all a lot of fun. I'm also using the controller for Asphalt 8 and it is really awesome.
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