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Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation): Resolve issues with Apple Remote

Symptoms

Your Apple TV might not respond to Apple Remote, or your Apple Remote might unexpectedly start to control your Mac computer. Learn to resolve these issues.

Resolution

If your Apple TV isn't responding to your Apple Remote, or if it responds intermittently, first follow these steps.

  1. Make sure that your Apple Remote has an unobstructed view of the front of your Apple TV (which is where the IR sensor is).
  2. If you have more than one Apple Remote, make sure that you're using the right remote for your Apple TV (each may be paired to a specific Apple TV).
  3. Try another Apple Remote if you have one.

The light on the front of the Apple TV usually flashes when it communicates with the Apple Remote. The pattern of the flashing can help resolve issues with the Apple Remote.

If the light flashes three times in quick succession, the Apple TV is paired with a different remote. Follow these steps:

  1. Use any Apple Remote to clear the current pairing by holding Menu and Left for six seconds. A broken chain-link icon will appear on your TV screen.
  2. Pair your current remote with the Apple TV by holding Menu and Right for six seconds. A chain-link icon will appear on your TV screen.
  3. Find more information about pairing and unpairing your Apple Remote if necessary.

If the light flashes when you press buttons on your Apple Remote but nothing happens on your TV screen, follow these steps:

  1. Hold Menu and Down on the Apple Remote to restart.
  2. If the issue isn't resolved yet, unplug the Apple TV from the wall outlet, wait at least six seconds, then plug it back in.

If the light doesn't flash when you press the buttons on your Apple Remote or if it doesn't flash with every press, follow these steps.

  1. Look for the low-battery icon on your TV screen .
  2. If you see the low-battery icon, please replace the Apple Remote's battery.

If your Apple Remote unexpectedly controls a Mac:

  1. Pair a different Apple Remote with your Mac if you have two or more remotes.
  2. Or, you can disable the IR receiver on your Mac.
    • Choose System Preferences from the Apple () menu in the upper-left of the menu bar.
    • Choose Security & Privacy from the View menu.
    • Click the lock and enter your Administrator password if necessary.
    • Click Advanced…
    • Select "Disable remote control infrared receiver".

Refer to the Remote App for iOS if you are experiencing issues controlling your Apple TV with your iOS device.

Last Modified: Mar 24, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Mar 24, 2014
  • Article: TS5157
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