So you finally cut your cable and bought the new Apple TV. With Siri, an app store, and a touchscreen remote, it’s no longer just for Apple fanatics. But some of the coolest features and most useful functions can get lost unless you know they are available. Here are the top 10 tricks for making the most of your Apple TV.
Get granular with Siri.
Apple’s digital assistant becomes the ultimate retriever when paired with the Apple TV. It not only can find shows and movies that you want, it can understand contextual searches. Press the microphone button on the remote and say “Find Matt Damon comedies,” and Siri will return a long list of movies. But if you get more detailed — “with George Clooney” — Siri will show only the Ocean’s movies.
“What did he say?”
Press the microphone button and say those words. Siri will rewind the video 15 seconds — just enough so you can hear the phrase you missed. Siri can also turn on captions if you ask.
Use the Apple Remote to control your TV.
If you have a TV that supports HDMI-CEC, the remote that comes with your Apple TV should automatically be able to control the volume and turn the TV off (if it doesn’t, make sure HDMI-CEC is enabled on your TV settings). Even if your TV doesn’t have HDMI-CEC, you can train the Apple Remote to control it in Settings > Remotes and Devices > Volume Control. Select “Learn New Device” to start.
Use your TV remote to control the Apple TV.
The Apple Remote isn’t for everyone — that touch surface can take some getting used to. You can make the Apple TV respond to your TV remote instead. Go to Settings > Remotes and Devices, and then click “Learn Remote.” Follow the on-screen directions to teach your TV remote the correct commands.
Swipe right, swipe left.
If you want to fast forward while watching a video, swipe right on the remote’s touch surface. To go back, swipe left. The faster you swipe, the faster it moves ahead or back. You’ll also see a preview of the content at the bottom of the screen.
Adjust the remote’s sensitivity.
The touch remote is pretty slick — maybe too slick. To make it less sensitive to swipes, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Touch Surface Tracking. Switch it to Slow and you’ll have to make bigger movements for the remote to react.
Add a game controller.
Games are one of the best new additions to Apple TV. The remote includes a motion sensor, which makes it pretty good for controlling your car at 200 mph in racing games, but some call for a real controller. You can use Mfi game controllers like the $50 SteelSeries Stratus XL with the streaming box to make the experience more like a console.
By default, apps appear in the order you download them. You can move Netflix — or any other app — to the top for easy access, though. First select the app you want to move. Then hold down the touch surface until it jiggles. Swipe up, down, left or right to move the app to your preferred place. Lock it in by pressing the touch surface again. You can also delete apps: Once it starts to jiggle, press Select, then Play/Pause, and confirm that you want to delete.
Switch between apps.
To switch quickly between apps, press the Home button twice. The App Switcher — similar to the one in iOS — pops up and you can swipe right or left to jump to a recently used app. Press the touch surface to select an app.
Force quit apps.
If you’re watching HBO Go, for example, and the app becomes unresponsive, sometimes the only option is to force it to quit and relaunch it. To do so, go to the App Switcher and highlight the app you want to quit. Then swipe up on the touch surface. Restart the app, and you should be able to watch again in no time.
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