There’s a lot to love about the Apple TV. It supports major streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it’s got the most powerful operating system of any set-top box–tvOS, and it’s got its own App Store. But one other thing it has is also a clever, thin remote called the Siri Remote. As you can guess from the name, this remote has a built-in mic that lets you give it Siri voice commands. But the Siri Remote also has six physical buttons as well as a trackpad for more input options.
The Siri remote is a powerful little device that you can figure out how to use the basics of just by looking at it. However, the Siri Remote also has a ton of hidden tricks that make it much more powerful than it looks. You can view all the names of the buttons on the Siri remote below (image courtesy of Apple). Once you’ve had a quick look read on to find out what you can do with them.
#1 Quickly Switch Between Open Apps
Just like on an iOS device you can quickly switch between open apps on the Apple TV by calling up the app switcher screen. Click the HOME put twice in quick succession to bring up the app switcher screen. Use the trackpad to swipe between open apps or swipe up on an app to force quit it.
#2 Restart Your Apple TV
This is my favorite tip on this list because I frequently find myself navigating into the Apple TV’s layered Settings screens to restart the device whenever it gets Wi-Fi issues. Well, no more! Simply press and hold the HOME and MENU button at the same time for six seconds to restart your Apple TV.
#3 Put Your Apple TV To Sleep
You can also quickly put your Apple TV to sleep using the remote. Usually, it goes to sleep after a predetermined amount of time passes. To make that happen sooner hold the HOME button for five seconds.
#4 Get To The Home Screen Instantly
Sometimes you can be deep in submenus on the Apple TV, especially when using some third-party channels. The good news is you don’t need to back out of each sub-menu step by step. Simply press and hold the HOME button on the Apple TV remote for three seconds and you’ll be taken to the Home screen right away.
#5 Rearrange Apps
The new Apple TV allows you to download apps that appear on the Home screen. By default, each new app will appear at the bottom of the grid of other apps. But the apps don’t have to stay that way….
To rearrange apps on the Home screen select the app you want to move then simply press the TRACKPAD button for two seconds. The app icons will jiggle. Swipe the TRACKPAD to move the selected app.
#6 Delete Apps
If you decide you want to delete an app (don’t worry, you can always download it again later) you can easily do that from the Home screen. On the Home screen select the app you want to delete then simply press the TRACKPAD button for two seconds. The app icon will jiggle. Now press the PLAY/PAUSE button and a window will appear asking if you want to delete the selected app.
#7 Skip Backward Or Forward 10 Seconds At A Time
With a video playing, tap the left edge of the TRACKPAD to quickly skip backward by 10 seconds. Tap the right edge of the TRACKPAD to quickly skip forwards by 10 seconds.
#8 Rewind And Fast Forward
You can also rewind or fast forwards at length by pressing and holding the left edge of the TRACKPAD to rewind or pressing and holding the right edge of the TRACKPAD to fast forward.
#9 View Video Settings
Sometimes you might want to adjust audio or other settings for a video that is already playing. Swipe down in the TRACKPAD during a playing video to call up the video’s info window. This window allows you to see a summary of the show, enable subtitles, and change audio settings.
#10 Quickly Get Back To The Music App
Music is a background app, meaning you go into it to begin playing a song and then leave it to explore other areas of the Apple TV and the song will keep playing in the background. As long as a song is playing on the Apple TV you can press the PLAY/PAUSE button from any screen to pause it. But if you hold down the PLAY/PAUSE button on any screen while music is playing after about 5 seconds you’ll instantly be taken back into the Music app.
#11 Quickly Access VoiceOver
The Apple TV has accessibility options built-in, which you can access by going to Settings>General>Accessibility. But you can quickly get to these Accessibility options by pressing the MENU button three times.
#12 Activate The Screen Saver
The Apple TV has a ton of cool screensavers built-in–or you could use your own photos as a screen saver. By default a screensaver will start after a given amount of time–you choose the timeframe in the Settings app. But if you want the screensaver to start immediately, simply press the MENU button rapidly three times.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.