Lost your Apple TV Remote? Here’s what to do next

Although it isn’t the most popular way to watch television, Apple TV still has a good amount of users based in the UK. This is likely due to its variety and easy integration with your other Apple devices. It’s also very easy to control and navigate – when you’ve got your Apple TV remote.

But if you do lose the remote, or you buy a secondhand one online without the remote included, then you might be worried about how you can control your device. Unlike other boxes out there, there’s no way for you to control your Apple TV by using the box itself.

So what happens if you lose your Apple TV remote – can you still use it, or will you need to order a replacement? Let’s find out more about Apple TV to understand what you can do.

Lost your Apple TV Remote?

The good news is that if you’ve lost your Apple TV remote, then all is not lost. You have three different options from this point; use your iPhone as your TV remote, use a universal remote instead or you can order a replacement from Apple.

You don’t necessarily need to use an iPhone with your Apple TV either. If you have an iPad, then you can use this too. Or if you have an old iPod Touch, then this could also work, especially if you want to have a remote separate to your iPhone.

Now depending on your circumstance, each of these different options may or may not be a possibility for you. Let’s look at the three options in a little more detail so you can decide which one of them you want to choose.

Setup with your iPhone


Undoubtedly the easiest option to use if you’ve lost your Apple TV remote is to use your iPhone to control it instead. All of the other options listed will require you to have control of your Apple TV except this one.

So if you’ve lost your remote for good, then you’ll need an iPhone to use with it, or at least connect other device to it (I’ll get to that in a minute). In the past, there was an app that you could download that would allow you to control your Apple TV.

Most people referred to this as the Apple TV Remote App. This was discontinued in Q4 of 2020, although Apple didn’t give much attention to the app itself and the fact that it was being discontinued.

This was largely down to the fact that Apple’s most recent update gives us the ability to be able to control our Apple TV without even downloading the app itself. However, this does mean that things are a little different when it comes to how things work nowadays.

With the newest iOS update, you can actually use the Apple TV Remote within the control center of your iPhone. The control center is just the panel that comes down when you swipe down from the top right of your screen.

You might need to turn Apple TV Remote on in your settings for this to work. You can do this by going to Settings then Control Center, then turning on your Apple TV Remote.

This is much easier than having to download the app, and it shows that Apple are trying to increase the compatibility between all their difference devices.

As of now, this is the best way to control your Apple TV without the remote too. And as mentioned earlier, an old iPod touch or iPad will work fine too.

Get a Universal Remote/Use an Old Remote


Another alternative way that you can control your Apple TV is by using a universal remote to do so. Generally, the Apple remote itself doesn’t actually use many different buttons, so you won’t need a ton of complex buttons and there’s no difficulty in setting it up.

You actually don’t need a universal remote for this – you can use any old TV remote that you’re currently not using. So, if you’ve got an old set top box or DVD player remote, that’ll work just fine.

And the good thing is that it’s very easy to set this up. You can do this by going to your Settings, then into Remotes and Devices, and finally go on Learn Remote. This will bring up the panel you need to use when you’re going to connect the two together.

To set the remote up properly, you’re going to need to assign all of the buttons on your remote individually. This is pretty easy, as you can give all of the regular buttons their equivalent on your universal remote (left = left, and so on).

If you’ve completely lost your Apple TV remote, then it makes sense to use your iPhone to set up another remote with it instead. That way, you won’t need to order a replacement.

Get a Replacement

You can see the newer generation of Apple TV remote (left) and the previous 2nd generation (right).

Now, if you don’t have an iPhone to use with your Apple TV box, then unfortunately you don’t have much choice aside from ordering a replacement.

One good thing about Apple TV remotes is that they’re very basic. This means that generally they actually don’t cost too much – they’re only £19 in the UK if you’re looking for a base model remote to control your TV box.

Although you can use another remote instead by simply reprogramming it, some people will prefer to have the proper thing instead of using an old remote. So if this is you, then a replacement is definitely in order.


In conclusion, if you’ve lost your Apple TV remote, then you’re going to need to use your iPhone to try and resolve things. If you don’t have an iPhone yourself, then try to borrow one from a friend – it doesn’t take long to set your Apple TV box up with one of your other remotes in your home.

But without a remote, you can still do anything you need to with your iPhone or other iOS device. So, it’s really not the end of the world.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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