When you power on your Apple TV, the remote should connect automatically in 3-5 seconds. If it doesn’t, keep pressing the power button until a “Remote Connected” notification appears on the screen.

If your Apple TV isn’t responding to remote inputs, the troubleshooting recommendations below should get the remote working again.

Table of Contents
    Apple TV and Remote

    1. Move the Remote Closer to the Apple TV

    First things first: Make sure your Apple TV and its remote are within connection range. The Siri Remote (2nd-generation) communicates with compatible Apple TV devices via Bluetooth 5.0—works best within a 40-meter connection range. The Bluetooth 4.0-powered 1st-generation Siri Remote has a maximum connection range of 10 meters.

    1st and 2nd gneration Siri Remotes

    The white and aluminum Apple Remotes with removable batteries have a shorter connection range (5-6 meters) because they use IR transmitters.

    Aluminum and White Apple Remotes

    Move your Apple Remote or Siri Remote closer to the Apple TV and ensure the distance apart doesn’t exceed their respective connection ranges.

    We should also mention that electronic devices, appliances, or furniture may block remote signals from your Apple TV remote. For instance, someone in this Apple Community forum resolved input lag issues by moving his Apple TV a few inches away from a surge protector. The surge protector was interfering with the Bluetooth signal from the Siri Remote.

    Don’t hide your Apple TV box behind a concrete wall, TV, or TV console. Likewise, ensure your remote has a clear line of sight to the Apple TV.

    2. Use a Shielded HDMI Cable

    Shielded HDMI cable

    Using an unshielded or poorly-shielded cable with an Apple TV 4K can interfere with Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth remote signals. Switching to a shielded high-speed HDMI cable from Apple can fix Apple TV remote lag issues and Wi-Fi connectivity problems. That worked the magic for many Apple TV 4K users in this Apple Community forum.

    3. Use the Siri Trick

    Another trick we discovered (in this Reddit thread) is using Siri to bring an unresponsive Siri Remote back to life.

    Press and hold the Siri button on your remote, ask Siri a random question, and release the Siri button.

    Siri buttons on 1st and 2nd generation Siri Remotes

    Your Apple TV HD or Apple TV 4K should now detect and respond to the remote. Press the Back button or TV/Control Center button to close Siri.

    4. Charge the Remote

    The Apple TV remote should last several months on a full charge. You’ll get notifications to charge the remote when the battery level falls below 20%. Your Apple TV won’t detect or respond to keypresses when the remote’s battery is dead or damaged.

    Check the remote’s battery level before recharging the built-in battery or inserting a new battery. If your Apple TV is paired with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, use the Apple TV Remote app in the Control Center to check the remote’s battery status.

    Open the Control Center, tap the Apple TV Remote icon, and wait for the app to detect your Apple TV automatically. Otherwise, tap the “Choose a TV” drop-down menu and select your Apple TV.

    Apple TV Remote icon > Choose a TV > Living Room

    Afterward, head to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Remote on your Apple TV, and check the remote’s “Battery Level.”

    Battery Level in Remote

    If your Apple TV uses a Siri Remote, charge it for at least 30 minutes using a USB to Lightning cable. Then, unplug the remote from the charger and press the power button.

    Use an authentic Apple-certified cable, preferably the USB cable that shipped with Apple TV.

    Counterfeit or knock-off cables may not charge the remote. Even worse, it can damage the remote or its batteries.

    For Apple Remotes with removable battery design, remove and replace the old/dead battery. You’ll find the battery compartment either on the bottom or the back of your Apple Remote.

    Battery Compartment in Aluminum and White Apple Remotes

    Refer to Apple’s official tutorial on replacing Apple Remote’s battery for detailed instructions. Contact Apple Support or visit a nearby Apple Store for technical assistance.

    5. Restart the Remote

    Keep your Apple TV on, ensure the remote is charged, and follow the steps below:

    1. Press and hold the Control Center/TV button and Volume Down button together for at least five seconds. While at it, keep an eye on your Apple TV’s status light.
    2. Release the buttons when the Apple TV’s status light flashes. A “Remote Connection Lost” notification should pop up in the top-right corner of your Apple TV screen.
    "Remote Connection Lost"
    1. In about 5-10 seconds, a “Remote Connected” message should reappear in the same position.
    "Remote Connected"

    6. Reconnect the Apple TV and Remote

    If your Apple TV is still not responding to remote input, unpair the remote and pair it again from scratch.

    Reconnect Siri Remote to Apple TV

    Here’s how to pair Siri Remotes or Apple TV Remotes with Siri support back to your Apple TV:

    1. Move the Siri Remote close to the Apple TV—not farther than three to four inches (8 to 10 cm). If possible, place the remote on the Apple TV box.
    2. Press and hold the Back and Volume Up buttons for at least five seconds. On the 1st generation Siri Remote, press and hold the Menu button and Volume Up button instead.
    Back and Volume Up buttons
    1. Release both buttons when you get an on-screen message that your Siri Remote is paired successfully.

    Reconnect Apple Remote to Apple TV

    If your (aluminum or white) Apple Remote doesn’t support Siri, here’s how to reconnect it to your Apple TV:

    1. Press and hold the Menu button and Left button for at least six seconds. That’ll unlink or disconnect the remote from your Apple TV.
    Menu and Left buttons
    1. Release both buttons when your Apple TV displays a broken chain icon atop a remote control icon.
    2. Press and hold the Menu button and Right button on the remote for at least six seconds.
    Menu and Right buttons
    1. Release the buttons when you see a linked chain icon above a remote control icon on your TV.

    7. Restart Your Apple TV

    Power-cycle your Apple TV if the streaming device still won’t respond to remote inputs after trying all possible troubleshooting solutions.

    Unplug the Apple TV’s power cord from its power outlet and wait at least six seconds. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet and check if your remote now responds promptly.

    8. Update Apple TV

    Updating tvOS can resolve performance issues like connectivity problems, remote input lag, and app-specific glitches on your Apple TV. Open the Apple TV Remote in your iOS device’s Control Center and follow these steps:

    Open the Settings app and go to System > Software Updates > Update Software. Wait a few seconds for your Apple TV to check for new tvOS updates. Select Download and Install to proceed.

    Download and Install button

    Do not turn off or unplug your Apple TV during the update. Also, refer to our tutorial on updating tvOS on Apple TV for more dos and don’ts. You’ll also find troubleshooting fixes for possible issues that may occur while updating tvOS.

    Time for a New Remote

    If your Apple TV still won’t respond to it, the remote is partially or fully damaged. You can buy a new Apple TV remote on Amazon or Apple’s website. The Siri Remote costs $59, while the regular Apple Remote retails for $19.