This article is a pre-release chapter in the upcoming “Take Control of Apple TV,” by Josh Centers, scheduled for public release in January 2014. Apart from “,” these chapters are available only to ; see “ ” for details.
With only four buttons, the Apple Remote included with your Apple TV is quite possibly the most elegant remote control ever made. However, that simplicity hides some useful features. This chapter will teach you how to master the Apple Remote’s basic features and shortcuts.
But you’re not limited to the Apple Remote; the Apple TV can be commanded by a third-party remote, an iOS device with Apple’s Remote app or, as we saw in Chapter 2,, a Bluetooth keyboard. Each option offers considerably more power than the Apple Remote, and each has its own particular strengths (and weaknesses).
You have several choices in how you control your Apple TV. Here are the pros and cons of each.
Let’s take a look at each button to see what it does (Figure 1):
Is the Apple Remote not doing it for you? Too small? Too hard to hold? Forever lost in your couch? That’s cool; the Apple TV can work fine with any remote control.
Follow these steps:
The Apple TV walks you through the process.
After entering a name, you’re technically done, but you’ll notice one button missing in the guided setup: the Play/Pause button! You’ll be prompted to either complete setup, or Set Up Playback Buttons.
The best part of using a separate remote is that doing so enables more capabilities than the Apple Remote provides. You can set separate play and pause buttons, rewind and fast forward, previous and next chapter, and even skip back and skip ahead (which rewind or fast-forward your media 30 seconds). Set these just as you set the basic buttons.
If you later decide that the buttons you chose aren’t ideal, you can make changes by navigating to Settings > General > Remotes and choosing your remote’s name from the list. You can rename the remote, delete it entirely, or redo the basic or playback buttons.
One of the best features of the Apple TV is that you can control it with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You can use the touch screen to navigate menus, and better yet, you can enter text directly with the on-screen keyboard instead of hunting and pecking with the Apple Remote. You can even access content from a Home Sharing-enabled iTunes library with the touch of a button!
To get started, from the App Store.
Once it’s installed, open the Remote app. To use it with your Apple TV, tap Set Up Home Sharing, then enter your Apple ID credentials.
Next, you’ll see a grid of available devices you can control in the app (Figure 4) .Figure 4: Apple’s Remote app works via iTunes Home Sharing and lets you control multiple Apple TVs and Mac-based iTunes libraries." />
If your Apple TV isn’t listed, you’ll have to enable Home Sharing on the Apple TV. Open Settings, then choose General > Remotes > Remote App. Select Turn On Home Sharing and enter your Apple ID credentials. After you’re logged in, you’ll be asked if you’d like to use that Apple ID for the iTunes Store, if you haven’t already set that up. Select Yes to save yourself some typing later.
You’ll then see a screen telling you that Home Sharing is on. Select OK to finish.
Let’s take a tour of what you can do with the Remote app. Open it and choose your Apple TV from the list of options.
You should now see the Control screen, which lets you simulate pressing buttons on the Apple Remote (Figure 5). The large area in the middle of the screen is called the gestures area and acts like a trackpad, letting you swipe in different directions to control the Apple TV. Tapping the gestures area is the same as pressing the Select button on the Apple Remote. To navigate, swipe your finger over the gestures area. For example, swiping up would do the same thing as pressing Up on the Apple Remote.Figure 5: With Apple’s Remote app, you can either use interface control (left), or media control (right)." />
There are three buttons on the bottom of the screen. From left to right: Options, Menu, and Play/Pause. The Options button is a quick way to access options during playback. For example, while watching an iTunes movie, pressing Options lets you quickly select chapters, subtitles, audio tracks, and AirPlay Speakers. The Menu and Play/Pause buttons behave just as they do on the Apple Remote.
However, the Remote app’s gesture controls can be slippery. It’s easy to overshoot your target without the tactile feedback of pressing a button on the Apple Remote.
Fortunately, the Remote app gives you not only control over the Apple TV’s interface, but direct control over content. You can control content playing on the Apple TV just as you would any local content on your iPhone by tapping Done in the upper right of the Control screen to switch to the Computers screen, then tapping the Now Playing button in the upper-right corner of the Computers tab.
On the Now Playing screen (Figure 6), you see the currently playing title featured prominently on the top. In the middle of the screen is a track position scrubber. Drag the knob to scroll through the title’s timeline. On the bottom is a button that skips ten seconds back, a Play/Pause button, and Next and Previous buttons, which skip forwards or backwards 30 seconds, respectively. Press either Next or Previous to rewind or fast forward. The longer you press the button, the faster the Apple TV rewinds or fast forwards. Release the button to continue playing.Figure 6: The Now Playing view gives you direct access to the media’s control, including play, pause, and time." />
To exit Now Playing and return to the Computers screen, tap the Back button in the upper-left hand corner.
You can also access content directly from shared iTunes libraries to play back on the Apple TV—tap Done in the upper-left hand corner of the Control screen, then tap More in the lower-right, then tap Computers to switch to the Computers tab. In the Computers tab, you should see any iTunes libraries available on your local network, where “available” requires the host computer to be turned on, iTunes to be open and signed into the same Apple ID as the Apple TV, and Home Sharing to be enabled. (To learn how to set up Home Sharing in iTunes, see Computers in the next chapter.)
Tap a shared iTunes library, and you come to a screen that gives you direct access to your content (Figure 7). The toolbar on the bottom of the screen lets you switch between content types. The defaults are Playlists, Artists, Control (which returns you to the Control screen for using the Apple TV interface), Search, and More, which offers other options, such as viewing Movies, TV Shows, Genres, Composers, and so on, plus lets you search the iTunes library.Figure 7: With the Remote app, you can access your entire iTunes library to play back on the Apple TV (left). You can rearrange the default tab shortcuts (right)." />
If you don’t like the default tabs in the toolbar, you can change them by tapping the More tab, then tapping Edit in the upper-right. That displays the Configure screen, with a grid of icons that you can place in the toolbar. Just drag the item you want in the toolbar on top of an existing button to replace it. Tap Done in the upper-right when you’re happy with the layout (Figure 7).
Perhaps the best part of using the Remote app is that you can type into text fields with your iPhone’s virtual keyboard instead of hunting and pecking with the Apple Remote. Whenever you navigate into a text field, your iPhone vibrates and displays a text field you can type into. To dismiss the onscreen keyboard, tap Hide in the upper-left. To bring it back up, tap the keyboard iconin the upper left.
The capabilities of the iPad version of Remote are identical to its little sibling, but the interface is rather different (Figure 8). Here’s a quick overview of the differences.
After you select your Apple TV from the device list, you won’t be taken to the interface controls, but rather media controls. The controls should be familiar if you use the Music or Video apps on the iPad. Tapping the media artwork near the top of the screen while something’s playing brings you to the same Now Playing interface that’s available on the iPhone.
To take direct control of the Apple TV’s interface, tap the cross in the upper right. To the right of that button is a button that enables or disables the onscreen keyboard — when available.
Access iTunes libraries by tapping the action label in the lower-left corner. Select a library, and the relevant content appears in the Remote app’s interface. Unlike the iPhone’s interface, you cannot customize this list. You choices are Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, and iTunes U.Figure 8: The iPad version of Remote offers the same capabilities as the iPhone version, but with a different layout." />
If you skipped Chapter 1,, you might have missed the fact that you can control your Apple TV with a Bluetooth keyboard. Here’s how to set up and use a keyboard with the Apple TV.
Turn on your (unpaired) keyboard and navigate to Settings > General > Bluetooth. Under Devices, select your keyboard and press Select. You’ll then be prompted to enter a code on the keyboard and press Return. If pairing succeeds, you’ll be notified. Select OK to continue.
If you later decide that you want to use your Bluetooth keyboard with another device, go to Settings > General >Bluetooth, and select your keyboard from the list. You’ll be presented with the same screen as when you first paired the keyboard. This time, select Forget this Device to free your keyboard from the grip of the Apple TV.
While using a full keyboard to control your TV might seem like overkill, it’s actually pretty simple. Use the arrow keys to navigate, press Return to simulate the Apple Remote’s Select button, and use Esc when you would press Menu on the Apple Remote.
You can use the keyboard’s media keys, but they’re fairly limited. For instance, if you play music from the Apple TV’s Music app and jump back to the home screen, the Play/Pause key will pause the music, but pressing it again won’t resume it.
One distinct advantage of controlling your Apple TV with a keyboard is that you can cut through menus with ease. Whenever you’re at a long menu, start typing what you want, just as if you were using LaunchBar. For instance, if you’re in the Artists tab in Music, start typing the artist’s name you want to listen to. You should jump straight to that artist, saving yourself a lot of time and menu digging.
Read More: |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |