My Apple remote's battery died. I can get to the start screen of Apple TV by unplugging the device, but I can't seem to get further than that without the remote. That means I can't activate the Apple TV Remote app for my iPhone - I can't navigate to the activation screen.

This previous answer suggests I may be able to control Apple TV with the 1Keyboard app, but that app costs $10 and I have no reason to believe it can do what I need it to do.

Any help?

  • Replacing the battery on the remote is cheap and easy. Which model Apple TV do you have?
    – bjbk
    Oct 21, 2015 at 2:55
  • @bjbk model A1469 Oct 21, 2015 at 2:58
  • Is replacing the battery an option for you? If so, I'll post an answer on how to do it. Then it will be easy enough to pair the Remote App with the  TV. Batteries can be purchased pretty much anywhere.
    – bjbk
    Oct 21, 2015 at 3:01
  • @bjbk If I had a battery all my problems would be solved right now. Oct 21, 2015 at 3:13
  • 1
    I understand that. But with due respect, I don't understand is why you can't go get one. I'll try to work on a solution that does not require the Apple remote all the same. Cheers
    – bjbk
    Oct 21, 2015 at 3:34

6 Answers 6

  1. Download the Remote app for iOS onto a device with BTLE
  2. Connect the Apple TV to iTunes and restore it (you will lose everything that's currently on the Apple TV)
  3. Use the iOS physical tap method to set up the AppleTV and pair it to your iOS device
  4. Profit in not having to order a replacement battery or replacement Apple infrared remote or borrow one to get it set up again.

Note, once you have the iOS app paired, you can train AppleTV to respond to buttons on third-party infrared remotes so you don't need Apple's remote going forward.


You can use the Remote app on an iPhone as a remote.


  • 2
    Thanks Richard. I'm aware of that. The problem is that I don't know how to sync my Remote app with my apple TV if I don't have a working remote already to navigate to the Apple TV "remote activation" screen. Chicken and egg... Oct 23, 2015 at 23:31
  • @samthebrand do you have an apple id logged into thee apple tv? I've had the same problem but I had an account logged in. You can also set it up without a remote, solely through an iDevice but that would require a reset which can be done through connecting the Apple TV to a computer
    – Downgoat
    Oct 25, 2015 at 21:26

Assuming you don't have home sharing enabled, this page suggests that you can set up an iOS device as a remote if you connect your Apple TV over ethernet.

If you had enabled Home Sharing on your Apple TV before the remote got lost, you can just use the app directly over WiFi to configure your new third party remote.

But with Home Sharing turned off, you will need to connect the Apple TV to the router via an Ethernet cable, to use the app. After the set up is complete, you can switch back to WiFi and start using the new remote.

As mentioned in the same page, you can then set up the Apple TV to recognize button presses from a third-party remote (e.g. your TV remote), and you will not need the Apple remote in the future.


The OP doesn't mention if Home Sharing was turned on in the Apple TV. If it was, the Remote App will automatically find the TV when Home Sharing is turned on in the Settings. If Home Sharing was not turned on, the solution at this point is to replace the battery in the remote, then turn on Home Sharing on the Apple TV. The Remote app signed into the same Apple ID will then "see" the Apple TV.

Setting up Home Sharing on Apple TV. (With a working remote)

Use Home Sharing on your Apple TV

Go to Settings > Computers. Select Turn on Home Sharing. Then enter your Apple ID and password. Use the same Apple ID for every computer or device on your Home Sharing network. Now you can use Home Sharing on your Apple TV: To find shared libraries, go to the main menu, select Computers, and choose a library. You can also view photos from your computer on your Apple TV. Open iTunes on your computer. Then go to File > Home Sharing > Choose Photos to Share with Apple TV.

Home Sharing settings iOS


If you don't already have the Apple TV Remote app on your iPhone or iPad, be sure to download it for free in the App Store. You will need your Apple TV, a router, an HDMI cable, your iPhone, and a couple of ethernet cables.

  1. Find a regular TV remote.
  2. Plug the ethernet cable to the Apple TV.
  3. With the iOS Remote App go to Settings -> Geenral -> Remotes,
  4. Select Learn Remote and follow the easy steps to teach to Apple TV your TV remote.
  5. Once done, unplug the ethernet cable and set the WiFi under General -> Network -> Wi-FI.

I used CiderTV to setup the AppleTV with my MacBook as Bluetooth-Remote, configured the Wifi-Network and enabled AppleTV-Remote App on my iPhone for further use.

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