Apple TV 4: Using the Siri Remote

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Essential Siri Commands for Apple TV 4

Siri is a broad subject, and goes beyond the scope of this article. There are some essential Siri commands that will enhance your Apple TV 4 experience. You can launch Siri anywhere by holding the Siri (microphone) button and speaking your command, slowly and clearly. Release the button when you are done. If you are lucky, Siri will handle your request. It doesn’t always “just work”. Sometimes the personal digital assistant will be offline due to heavy demand or problems in the data center. Siri will often misinterpret your speech.

Siri will turn on the reduce loud sounds feature when you say “turn on reduce loud sounds”. You can turn this off by saying “turn off reduce loud sounds”. This feature will tame the dynamic levels of movies and music, making them much more audible at quieter levels. You can turn on subtitles by saying “turn on subtitles”. “Launch [app name]” can be used to launch any app. Find your favorite show or movie by saying “find [show/movie]”. Play music by saying “play [artist/album/song]. This will only play music through Apple’s Music app. These are the most useful and essential features. You can also ask Siri to display the weather forecast, stock quotes, and sports scores. There are many more possibilities, however, Siri for Apple TV is not as mature or capable as the iOS version. You can’t look up information from the web, set Reminders, do calculations, or invoke many other features found on iOS.

Charging the Siri Remote

The Siri remote features a lithium ion battery that lasts a very long time, depending on use. If you play a lot of video games, don’t expect the battery to last for three months. Apple TV 4 will display a warning when the battery level is low. Although I have yet to see this, I ended up charging my remote after I noticed problems with it controlling my TV through IR. I charge it every 2-4 weeks, mainly so I am not unpleasantly surprised with poor remote performance while playing a video game. You can check the battery level by clicking on Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth. You will see a visual representation of the battery level in the Remote field. It looks like a gray AA battery, with no percentage displayed.

Charge the remote by plugging the lightning cable into the socket and the other end into a computer or wall adapter. The remote takes 9 hours to fully charge, if it is completely drained. You can use the remote while it is charging. Be advised that your Apple TV may turn on unexpectedly while handling or plugging in the remote. I recommend setting the sleep timer to 15 minutes (Settings > General > Sleep After) before you plug in the charger. This ensures that if your Apple TV and television turn on automatically, they will turn off in 15 minutes. You can also use an alternative remote or the Remote app for iOS, which is available in the app store for free.

Adjusting Touch Surface Tracking Speed

If you find the trackpad to be too responsive or sluggish, it’s possible to tune the sensitivity. Click on Settings > Remotes and Devices and set the Touch Surface Tracking appropriately. After some experimentation, I find the default of medium to be best.

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