How to control your Apple TV without Remote: Use Shortcuts and Siri

How to control your Apple TV without Remote – Users with an Apple TV can locate the set for the Apple TV Remote app, a built-in utility mostly used in Control Center to utilize the iPhone as a remote for the Apple TV, among the default actions that come with the Shortcuts app.

Apple has expanded access to the Apple TV with Shortcuts, a set of actions that allow users to control the following features:

  • status of the device
  • Playback
  • Settings
  • Games & Apps

Status of the Device

Apple TV Wake

Apple TV Wake; This action will turn on the designated Apple TV, as well as sending a signal to any connected receivers or TVs indicating the device wants to wake up — this implies that this action can turn on several television sets, as well as switch them to the right input if it isn’t already selected.

It’s a good idea to put Wake Apple TV before most other Apple TV Remote actions, especially if you’re using it in a menu, because it makes sure the TV is turned on before sending the primary instruction.

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Apple TV Sleep works similarly to Wake Apple TV in that it turns off the specified Apple TV while also sending a sleep signal to receivers and televisions. This is a terrific technique to stop a TV show while also turning off all of the linked devices at the same time.

Start Screen Saver. The cinematic, slow-motion screensavers that Apple created expressly for the Apple TV are one of the device’s most popular features; using the Launch Screen Saver action, users may set their Apple TV to show the screen saver immediately.

Here’s a shortcut that awakens the Apple TV and displays the screen saver — sometimes it’s just nice to have one on.

Display the Remote Control

The major operation that employs the built-in Apple TV Remote is Show Remote Control, which activates the full-screen remote for the specified TV. There, you can quickly access all of the controls featured on the real Apple TV Remote, which is useful if someone else has the remote or if you’re not near the viewing area where you keep it.

It’s also worth noting that, while in Remote view, the device’s volume controls can transmit HDMI-CEC signals to your receiver or TV to modify the volume, thereby turning your watch, phone, or iPad into a full-fledged remote.

Show Remote Control is frequently used in conjunction with the Open Program action since that action suggests that additional steps will be conducted inside the newly launched app – when you execute that kind of shortcut from the phone, the digital remote will be ready to go right away.

Playback

Play/Pause

The action Play/Pause on Apple TV is designed to play, pause, or toggle playback on any media playing on the specified Apple TV – most likely by pausing first, then playing again to resume playback.

These can be useful in Siri-based shortcuts — I give them names like “Snack Break” to tell Siri to pause the TV while I go get something from the other room. “Resume the TV” is also useful for returning to the room when you’re ready to resume watching.

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Skip to the main content The Apple TV Remote’s Skip Content feature also allows you to skip forward or backward in time by a set amount. You can use this function to create custom presets for specific time periods, such as going back 60 seconds or exactly 45 seconds for shows with a repeating title/credits sequence.

Captions set

Set Captions is another useful Apple TV Remote shortcut that gives you programmatic access to the current program’s closed captions/subtitles. This allows you to set up Siri-based shortcuts to toggle captions on or off from the HomePod, allowing you to handle subtitles totally hands-free for the first time.

I’ve combined the Go Content action with the Siri feature of Apple TV, which allows you to ask “What did they just say?” and the TV will skip back 30 seconds, switch on captions, wait 30 seconds, and then turn them off again.

Settings

Changing User Accounts

Shortcuts users can change the active profile on their Apple TV by adding the action before their other steps in the shortcut or by creating a separate shortcut for each person.

This is probably most handy if you have numerous family members who wish to use Shortcuts to manage Apple TV – because HomePod shortcuts are sent as Personal Requests to each person’s iPhone, they’ll need their own shortcuts to use the HomePod to control the Apple TV.

Because Siri already knows who is speaking, the Switch User Account account can be used before any other Apple TV Remote actions to ensure that the Apple TV is set to the correct person who is speaking – for example, if my girlfriend asks to open the TV app, it can simply switch to her account at the same time, and her Up Next will be displayed.

Activate the Light/Dark Mode switch.

Set Light/Dark Mode is another option for customizing the experience, and it’s especially useful in conjunction with Switch User Account – if one person prefers light mode and the other prefers dark mode, they can switch to their own profile and change the appearance in their own dedicated shortcuts.

Reduce Loud Sounds is turned on.

Set Reduce Loud Sounds is the other personal preference action for the Apple TV Remote group, and it allows users to turn on “Reduce Loud Sounds” or turn it off/toggle it as needed.

This is another example that’s more useful if one person in a household prefers to reduce loud sounds while watching something, but the rest of the household doesn’t want to affect the volume and wants this feature turned off – similar to Switch User Account, whoever is running their own Apple TV shortcuts can customize their experience inside each shortcut.

Games & Apps

Open the app on your Apple TV.

The Open App on Apple TV action is also great for customizing an Apple TV experience for oneself or a family, allowing instant access to any app or game installed on the specified Apple TV.

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This is especially handy for single apps or games, allowing you to use a trigger like “Netflix and Chill” to open Netflix and alter the lighting, “Alto TV” to launch Alto’s Odyssey so you can pick up a game, or “Help me discover a movie” to open the Letterboxd app on the TV and look at recent reviews.

Using Choose From Menu and several instances of Launch App, you may select from a list of options and open the corresponding app that you’ve set up ahead of time — you could have one shortcut that opens all of your Apple TV’s apps and games.

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