6 Tips to Improve your Apple TV Experience

Your Apple TV is already a pretty great device, but it has a few hidden tricks up its sleeves that you can use to get the most out of your Apple TV experience.

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Craig Hanks
YouTube Channel Manager & Streaming Expert
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December 01, 2020
4 min read

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Tip 1: Mastering the Apple TV Remote

Now, the first thing we need to talk about is the remote. The remote is . . . well, it's not everyone's favorite. So, you can just use a new one.

Now, first thing you can do is use an iPhone or an iPad as the remote. You just go download Apple TV remote, the app called Apple TV remote for iOS. You can add it to your control center so you can quickly just pull down from the top and use that remote there. Or you can go into the app itself for a full screen experience.

But what if you're an Apple TV user and you use an Android phone? Well, that would be weird, right? But that's the boat I'm in. I'm an Android user.

So, you're going to have to go find a third party app on Android. Just be aware that if you do that, your Android phone must come equipped with an IR blaster, since it will transmit commands via infrared. Now, if you don't know if your phone has an IR blaster, don't worry. It'll tell you very loudly if it doesn't.

Now, you can also get a third party remote or even use some game controllers. At least with my dual shock four, I actually get some arrow buttons to use. It does make the Apple TV a little bit easier to get around on.

Tip 2: How to use the Apple TV Home Button

Tip number two is to get to know your home button. That's this one that's shaped like a TV on your remote.

You can change that home button in a couple of different ways. You only get a couple of options, but if you go into settings, go to general remotes and devices, and then home button, you'll get a couple of options there where you can either have it go to the Apple TV app, or you can have it go to the actual home screen.

Personally, I would use the Apple TV app a lot more often if they had Netflix built into it, but they don't. So, yeah, I use that as a home button.

You can also do a couple other things with that. If you double tap the home button, you get an app switcher. This is the thing where you can quickly scroll through recent apps instead of constantly going back to the home screen to switch apps. So a nice little feature there.

You can also hold down that home button to quickly switch profiles. If you have more than one person using it, you don't want to go all the way into your settings to switch profiles every time. Just hold down your home button and you can do that quickly.

Tip 3: How Do I Make my Apple TV Remote Trackpad Less Sensitive?

Now, tip number three has to do with this little trackpad thing on the remote--not my favorite feature of the Apple TV. If it's a little finicky for you too, then you can change how finicky it actually is.

Again, go to Settings, go into remotes and devices, and then you can change the touch surface tracking speed. All you get is slow, medium, and fast, but still, it is something you can do to make the experience a little more to your liking.

So, yeah, there's a lot to dislike about this remote, starting with the fact that they put glass on the front of it, but oh well, whatever. At least you can slightly change one of these things.

Tip 4: How do I Organize my Apple TV Home Screen?

Tip number four: if we go to your home screen, you can actually put folders on your home screen of your Apple TV. Now, if you're an iOS user on an iPhone or iPad, you're probably familiar with how to declutter your home screen using folders, but you can do it on Apple TV as well.

Option 1: Now, there's a couple of different ways you can do that. You can long-hold on one of these apps and then move it over on top of another app, and as long as you're using this remote, it will let you do that. You can just create a folder automatically.

Option 2: The other way you can do it is to long-hold until that little app icon starts shaking, and then press the play/pause button at the bottom of the remote. That'll give you some options. You can create a new folder, and so, you can do whatever you want with those. You can do your streaming TV, you can do your smart home stuff. However you want to organize your apps, use folders if you start to get cluttered on that home screen.

Tip 5: Adjusting Apple TV Parental Controls

Tip number five is parental controls. I bring this up because most devices have this nowadays, but Apple TV's parental controls are actually pretty robust and pretty great.

If you go to Settings and then General and then Restrictions. This is where you will set up a four-digit pin, and then you can change access, not just to explicit content, but you can also make that pin a necessity for purchases, for multiplayer games, for screen recording and for a bunch of other stuff too.

Tip 6: Pair a Bluetooth Game Controller with Your Apple TV

Tip number six: use Bluetooth game controllers. Okay, now, I brought up the PS4 controller that I use as a remote and it works great for that, but guess what? It also works great as a game controller.

On Apple TV, you've got Apple TV arcade or whatever they call it--Apple Arcade? I can't remember exactly what it's called. You can also download a bunch of other games and the Apple TV remote does work for some of those. It's not great, but it's okay. It's got a gyroscope in it. It works all right, but if you pull out your PS4 or your Xbox controller, suddenly your games are going to get a lot better.

So, if you're playing asphalt eight or whatever, yeah, you can do it here, but it's going to be much more pleasurable if you get the actual controller. Now, you could go buy one that is made specifically for Apple TV, if you wanted to, but honestly, I would just use anything you have laying around if you have something already. You just go into your Bluetooth settings and add that controller. Works like a charm.

So there you go. Your Apple TV is now officially awesomer than it was 10 minutes ago. You're welcome, America.

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Craig Hanks
Written by
Craig Hanks
Craig is a long-time writer, presenter, and podcaster, and he now runs the Reviews.org YouTube channel, where he strives to be far more charming and presentable than he is in real life. Within the Reviews.org umbrella, he has accidentally become a streaming expert after covering the streaming wars for almost three years. Craig is also the founder and host of The Legendarium Podcast, his outlet for his love of fantasy and sci-fi literature.

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