Best Way to Use Apple TV 4

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Use Siri to Launch Apps

Apple TV 4 introduced Siri to customers’ living rooms. The personal digital assistant interprets spoken commands and can present recommendations, information and perform tasks. Launching apps is a task that Siri does quite well. Simply hold down the Siri (microphone) button on the Siri Remote and say the name of the app. This works with most apps. You may need to say “launch [app name]” to start a few apps, such as Asphalt 8.

Launching an app with Siri is much easier than navigating the Home screen. Even if your icons are placed efficiently, it still takes a few steps to launch an app. You also need to constantly re-arrange the Home screen, which can be a tedious process.

The best thing about launching apps with Siri is that you can do it within other apps. You don’t need to exit to the Home screen. If you’re in Netflix, just hold down the Siri button and say “YouTube”. YouTube will launch immediately. I don’t use folders or arrange the apps on my Home screen. I don’t care what my Home screen looks like. I really don’t see it often. I just launch apps using Siri.

Don’t Close Apps

If you’re launching apps while using another app, eventually you’re going to have a lot of open apps. Don’t worry about it. These apps aren’t really open. When you switch from one app to another, the previous app is passivated. As new apps require resources (memory, CPU, graphics) the previously used app’s state is stored to flash memory. Resources are freed up for the app being used. When you come back to the app, it will usually be in the same state that you left it in.

There is actually more of a disadvantage to closing apps. For example, if you are watching an iTunes movie, the video is cached while you watch it. If you close the Movies app, the cache is erased. When the Movies app is launched again, the video has to be re-downloaded. I found this out the hard way on a night when my Internet service was very slow!

If your Apple TV or app is behaving erratically, closing apps may be warranted. If this is the case, I recommend closing all of your apps and restarting Apple TV. Double tap the Home button (looks like a TV) on the Siri Remote to launch the App Switcher. A stack of app windows appears. Flick up on the Touch surface to close each app. Next, hold down the Menu and Home button until you see the light on your Apple TV base station flash rapidly, then release both buttons. This will restart your Apple TV.

After the tvOS 10 update, I have been using my Apple TV in the aforementioned manner. I launch apps using Siri. I don’t use the Home screen. I never close apps. So far, I haven’t had any problems. Closing apps and restarting Apple TV haven’t been necessary. I save a lot of time and effort this way, and when I return to an app like YouTube or Netflix, I’m usually back where I left off.

Use Siri to Change Settings

We’re all accustomed to changing settings using a menu. Launching the Settings app and drilling down into the menus is a chore. There’s a better way to change frequently used settings. Siri can actually alter some of the most commonly used settings. Users can turn on dark more or light mode with Siri. Just say “dark mode” or “light mode”. I also use Siri to toggle the Reduce Loud Sounds feature. You can say “turn [on/off] Reduce Loud Sounds” or “turn [on/off] Full Dynamic Range”. Subtitles can also be turned on or off using Siri — “turn [on/off] subtitles”. I’m sure there are more settings that can be altered using Siri. These are just the ones I use frequently. (continue…)

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