There are several ways you enter text in your Apple TV including the Siri Remote which many find rather frustrating. Especially if you’re typing something long, you can use any of the ways listed below to enter text on your TV.

Apple TV lets you use your remote control to choose characters using a left to the right alphanumeric keyboard that appears on the TV screen. This is the default system you use to search for apps in the App Store, music, films or anything else on TV.

There are some shortcuts to help speed up text entry:

  • If you tap and hold any lower case key a new palette will appear that shows all the accented and capitalized variations of that character, including upper and lower case characters.
  • If you press Play/Pause then the next character you type will appear capitalized, after which it will return to lower case font. That’s useful as it means you don’t need to shift between the upper- and lower-case keyboards.
  • One final useful shortcut is the Recent button. Tap this to access recent search terms, account names or passwords in a flash.

2) Or Use Siri

Siri is in your Apple TV Remote. When you see the microphone icon appear in a text entry box it means you can use Siri to speak your search.

All you need to do is tap the microphone icon on your remote control to make the search. You can check that this feature is enabled in Settings>General>Dictation.

3) Use An iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

Probably the most convenient text entry solution, the Remote app works on any iOS device: iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You can use it to enter text using the keyboard you’re already used to working with on your Apple device. This makes writing on Apple TV much easier than using the on-screen keyboard.

NB: Starting fall 2016 iOS and tvOS support a vastly improved version of the Remote app. This offers all the functionality of the full Siri remote, with the addition of a handy Notifications feature that will remind you to use your iPhone or iPad for text entry when you begin entering text on your Apple TV screen.

To setup the Remote app on your Apple TV and iOS device, you must first check the software on both devices is up to date and ensure they are on the same Wi-Fi network. You will need to set the app up as follows:

  • Set up with Home Sharing by signing in with your Apple ID and opening Settings > Accounts > Home Sharing on your Apple TV.
  • Set up manually: Just open the Remote app and choose to Add a Device. A four-digit code will appear that you must enter in Settings>Remotes and Devices>Remote app.

4) Use An Apple Watch

If you have installed the Remote app on your Apple Watch you will be able to use your smartwatch to enter text manually, in the same way as using your standard TV remote control and the on-screen alphanumeric keyboard.

5) Use A Bluetooth Keyboard

You can also use most Bluetooth keyboards to enter text on your Apple TV. You’ll need to pair the keyboard to your Apple TV, after which you’ll be able to use it to enter text anywhere in any app across the system that needs you to type. You can also use the keyboard to control your Apple TV if you lose or break your Siri Remote control.

6) Use Your Gaming Controller

You can also enter text using a dedicated third-party games controller for iOS, though you will be limited to manually choosing letters using the on-screen keyboard.

7) Use An Old TV Remote Control

You can even use an old TV remote control if it is supported by your Apple TV. Grab the remote control your TV ships (or another one if you like) with an open Settings>General>Remotes& Devices>Learn Remote on your Apple TV. You’ll be guided through a series of steps after which you should be able to use this to control your Apple TV, with much-simplified controls.


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