Are Apple TV Remotes Universal? (Let’s Find Out)

Apple is constantly working to make life as easy as possible for its customers.

They make top-tier products and support systems to prolong the use of these products.

For example, your TV remote makes entertainment more enjoyable; you can control your device from the angle of your house without touching the device.

And losing such a privilege can be annoying. Thankfully, Apple makes it easy for you to continue enjoying this privilege if you lose your original TV remote.

Yes, Apple TV remotes work universally. Your smart Apple remote can control more than one Apple device within a given proximity. However, you can only control one paired device at a time since it is only possible to pair the remote with one. 

Do Apple TV Remotes Work On All Apple TVs?

Are Apple TV Remotes Universal

All Apple remotes use Infrared transmitters to control different generations of Apple TVs.

Especially the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations of TVs are mostly network-based and IR.

The grey (aluminum) and White Apple remotes are compatible with the 2nd and 3rd generation TVs and other devices with similar configurations.

Infrared remotes, otherwise known as universal remotes and other network-based remotes, can be used to control all Apple TVs from the 4th generation and above.

Network-based Apple TVs and devices that support HDMI-CEC connect with the remotes through the HDMI. 

The signal strength of these network-based remotes is pretty solid: you don’t need to point them at the devices to control them directly.

To switch to a new remote, you must unpair the old one and pair the device with the new one. Unfortunately, this is only possible with 2nd and 3rd generation remotes. 

From 4th and above, you cannot unpair the original remotes, but you can pair a replacement remote. 

Pairing a replacement remote automatically unpairs an old one and directly connects your device with the new remote.

Sometimes the problem with your remote not working isn’t the batteries but the wrong pairing. For example, if you paid your remote to the wrong device, it would not respond.

In this case, you have to unpair it in the following steps.

  • Directly point your remote at the paired device.
  • Press the menu and left arrow buttons for 6 seconds
  • Your screen will display an icon like a broken chain over a remote control
  • If the icon appears, it means you’ve successfully unpaired the device
  • If it appears, it means you did not press both buttons simultaneously or didn’t hold it for long.
  • Repeat the first two steps to unpair the previous remote successfully.

Do Apple TV Remotes Work On Any TV?

Apple is not only on the lookout for its customers alone, but other people who use other TV brands can still be in control even without their remotes. 

So if your TV remote needs to be fixed, don’t fret about having access to its features because, with your Apple TV remote, you will be able to control the TV without its remote. 

However, this depends on the TV brand, the features you intend to control, and the type of Apple TV remote you use.

The 4th generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4k remotes can control other brands like LG and Sony.

With your network-based Apple remote, you can control your LG TV and other devices so long as the HDMI-CEC is working correctly.

However, you will still need the original remote of the other brand to control other essential features of the TV. This is because the Apple remote can only control limited features.

Some features that the Apple TV remote can control include;

  • The volume
  • Power button
  • The DVD player, 
  • Other HDMI devices 

Is The New Apple TV Remote Universal?

The new Siri Remote is backward compatible with Apple TVs that run on tvOS and are usable in countries and regions that support Siri. 

Its navigation is superb and hitch-free, and you can use your voice to control your TV without touching the remotes. 

It is an excellent experience for Apple TV users. However, other brands may be bad news since they can only control Apple TVs.

The 2nd generation, or Siri Remote, is an upgrade of the first generation remote, which had a lot of negative reviews and was around for six years.

It didn’t have the option of voice control and had navigation issues, but the new remote is everything the former remote was not. 

Both remotes are worlds apart from the physical design and the operation mode. But just like every other manufactured product, it has its upsides and downsides.

It combines both buttons and a touchpadIt is expensive
The buttons are nice and firm, yet still soft and easy to clickCan only control Apple TVs
It has wider voice recognition Lighting the USB cord may be unnecessary

Will a Replacement Apple TV Remote Work?

You can use a replacement remote to access your TV settings when you lose your original Apple TV remote. 

But it will only work if you unpair the old remote and pair the replacement remote since it can only work when paired with the TV. 

Apart from the first generation Apple TVs, all other newer models work perfectly with a replacement remote.

The point of producing a replacement remote is for emergency cases where you can’t find your TV remote control. 

While it’s best to keep it in good condition and a safe place, you can only be careful if you live; it can get missing one day. 

So, to avoid staying locked out of your TV, Apple has a replacement remote control that you can use to unpair the previously remote and continue usage.

Follow these steps to unpair an old remote;

  • Point the replacement remote at your TV and click Settings.
  • Select ‘General’ and ‘Remotes’
  • Choose ‘Unpair Remote’
  • An icon that looks like a broken chain link over a remote will appear on your screen to show that you have successfully unpaired the older remote. 

Alternatively, in case of a missing remote, download the Apple Remote app on your Apple mobile device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod); use it to control your TV, as getting a remote replacement costs more. 

First, go to your Apple store on your phone and search for “Remote App” to download. Then, sync with your TV data and use it at will.

What do Other Remotes work On An Apple TV?

You can use other network-based or infrared remotes to control your Apple TV. 

You can easily use the network-based remotes with HDMI ports to control your Apple TV because it supports HDMI-CEC receivers. 

The TV uses the HDMI connection to allow the other remote to control it. 

However, the infrared remotes may take a longer response time since it has to learn the signals that Siri generates.

Every new update on the Apple TV remote comes with a price higher than the previous one. 

The more they work to improve your viewing experience, the more expensive the remotes become, and while the updates are necessary, only some can afford a replacement remote. 

As a result, many people look for cheaper options that do not require spending so much. 

Instead of paying for a new remote, you can use your HD infrared or network-based remote to control your Apple TV.

#1. Using a Network-based Remote On Your Apple TV

To use a network-based remote on your TV, ensure that you add it to your Home app using an iOS or iPadOS device and tune on the remote.

  • Open the Home App on your device and click on ‘Add.’
  • Tap on the ‘Add Accessory’
  • A set of instructions will appear for you to follow
  • It will instruct you to scan or enter a number on the remote box.
  • Assign a name to the remote icon, which the system will recognize, and you can use it to control your TV.

#2. Using an Infrared Remote On Your Apple TV

Using an infrared remote to control your Apple TV doesn’t require a lengthy process like using a network-based remote. 

All you have to do is to teach the remote how to pick up the signals Siri will be generating.

  • Open your TV settings on the TV.
  • Scroll to Remotes and Devices and click on ‘Learn.’
  • A set of instructions will appear on the screen for you to follow.

Losing control over your TV can be exasperating, especially for brands like Apple without extra control buttons on the side of the TV. 

But Apple will never leave you stranded; they always provide a backup plan: the replacement remote and Remote App.


Apple as a brand has become a globally recognized brand because of how they’re able to harness vast digital skills to control their brands as well as other brands.

With your network-based Apple TV, you can control other TV brands and use other network-based and infrared remotes to control your Apple TV.

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