How to find lost Apple TV remote | Cult of Mac

How to find your lost Apple TV remote


Where’s The Clicker?
A modern solution to an age-old problem.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

How can you find a lost Apple TV remote? Whether it’s wedged between the cushions or kicked far under the couch, a handy-dandy new feature in iOS 17 and tvOS 17 lets you find the remote using your iPhone.

The mind races when one imagines how many hours of human life might have been saved if everyone had this feature 30 years ago.

Sure, you can take the L and simply use your iPhone or Apple Watch to control your Apple TV. But I like having the physical remote on hand, too. Let me show you how to find it.

How to find a lost Apple TV remote

Before we get started, please note that finding your Apple TV remote with your iPhone is one of many new features built into iOS 17. If you bought a new iPhone 15, you’re using this new operating system already. If you’re using an older iPhone and haven’t upgraded to iOS 17 yet, head over to Settings > General > Software Update to get it. Upgrading to iOS 17 can take up to 20 minutes after downloading the software. So make sure you don’t start the upgrade at a bad time.

Table of contents: Find Apple TV remote with iPhone

  1. Open the Remote on your iPhone
  2. Enter Find mode in the Apple TV Remote app
  3. Move closer based on the directions

1. Open the Remote app on your iPhone

Adding the Apple TV Remote to Control Center
Add the Apple TV Remote to your iPhone’s Control Center, then open it from there.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

First, open the Apple TV remote on your iPhone. It should appear in Control Center after you first set up an Apple TV — look for the remote icon.

If you don’t already have the remote on your iPhone, go to Settings > Control Center and tap + Apple TV Remote to enable it. (If you want to add the remote to your iPhone’s Home Screen, you can download this Shortcut, hit the Share button and tap Add to Home Screen.)

2. Enter Find mode in the Apple TV Remote app

Enter Find mode from Apple TV Remote app
Tap the “Find” button from the menu on top.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

After you’ve opened the Apple TV Remote app, tap the menu on top to see the list of nearby Apple TVs. Tap the “Find” button on the one you’re looking for.

If this button doesn’t show up, your Apple TV may not be running tvOS 17. Using your phone, go to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software and install the latest version.

3. Move closer based on the directions

Finding Apple TV remote
Pay attention to when you’re getting closer or farther away.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The Apple TV remote doesn’t have an AirTag built in, so it can’t tell you exactly where it is straight away. What the remote can do is tell you if you’re getting nearer or farther away from it. This functionality works much like the Find Nearby feature in the Find My app, which can help you zero in on a missing AirTag, AirPods, etc.

To use it, stand in one corner of your room with the iPhone in your hand. Then walk around the perimeter of the room and see when the app says you’re getting closer to the lost Apple TV Remote. The bubble in the middle of the screen will get bigger and bigger, then turn blue when it’s nearby.

The new feature works pretty well. But I think what we all really want is an Apple TV remote with built-in precision tracking, powered by the new second-generation Ultra Wideband chip in the latest Apple Watches and iPhones. That would let you see precisely where your remote is relative to your phone, with an arrow and the precise distance down to the inch.

With rumors of a new Apple TV coming next year, we may soon get what we’re wishing for.


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