How to Control TV Volume and Power with Your Apple TV Remote
Having trouble getting your Siri Remote to change the volume or turn on your TV? Try these steps.
When the 4th Generation Apple TV came out, there was a lot of buzz about all the awesome Siri Remote features and tvOS updates.
But when I finally got around to upgrading, I was like:
Holy smokes! I can control the volume with this thing. And I can turn the TV on too!
It’s the little things that matter to me.
With the 4th Gen Apple TV and the forthcoming Apple TV 4K, your Siri Remote for Apple TV can be the one remote to rule them all.
No more yelling at the kids to find “the other remote” if they want to watch their shows!
No more having a kid run up to me triumphantly with the remote she found only for me to tell her, “No, dangit, that’s the DVD player remote!”
All is right with the world. Or at least the TV remote part of the world…
These two features—the Apple TV volume control and enabling your Apple TV To power on your TV—are separate features that use two different mechanisms to work: infrared and HDMI-CEC. When I hooked my 4th Gen Apple TV up to my Samsung HDTV, both worked instantly. But when I upgraded to a new Vizio SmartCast TV, only the volume worked.
Try these steps if you are having issues with getting the volume or power control working with your 4th Gen or later Apple TV.
How to Control TV Volume with the Apple TV
This requires the 4th Gen Apple TV and Siri Remote or later. Start by connecting your Apple TV to your TV via HDMI. Your Apple TV should automatically detect the type of TV you have and configure the remote to work right away.
If it doesn’t, go to Settings on your Apple TV and choose Remotes and Devices.
Then, go to Volume Control.
It should be set to Auto via IR (TV). If it’s not, set it to that and give it a whirl. If it is already, then select Learn New Device…
The AppleTV will walk you through the rest of the setup steps.
Once you have it set up, keep in mind that the Apple TV volume control uses infrared (IR) to communicate. So, unlike the Apple TV itself, which uses Bluetooth and WiFi, you’ll need to have a line of sight with your TV and the Apple TV remote to control volume.
How to Turn the TV On and Off using Apple TV Remote
In the Settings > Remotes and Devices screen, you’ll see an option for Control TVs and Receivers under Home Theater Control. Go ahead and set this to On if it’s not already.
Once this is on, your TV should turn on automatically when your Apple TV wakes from sleep. It should also automatically change to the appropriate HDMI input.
If this doesn’t work, then you need to enable CEC on your TV.
You’ll notice that if you have Control TVs and Receivers Off, Apple TV will give you the message, “For better control, enable CEC on your TV.”
So, what the heck is CEC? I’m glad you asked.
HDMI-CEC stands for High Definition Media Interface – Consumer Electronics Control, and most HDTVs support it. But you wouldn’t immediately know it because: (a) Most TVs have it disabled by default, and (b) many manufacturers call it something different.
Don’t ask me why on either of those items. Despite being an industry standard, like Wi-Fi and
infuriatingly tiny ketchup packets, manufacturers use other names for HDMI-CEC (maybe to pretend they invented it?):
- Samsung: Anynet+
- Sharp: Aquos Link
- LG: SimpLink
- Philips: EasyLink
- Sony: BRAVIA Sync
Vizio wins points in my book because they call it a spade and refer to it as “HDMI-CEC.”
How you enable HDMI-CEC on your TV will vary. Googling “Enable HDMI-CEC Samsung” or “Turn on HDMI-CEC LG TV” will get you there, as will your manual.
On my Vizio TV, it was easy to find. I found it under CEC in the System menu.
Once I set it to Enabled, my Apple TV remote let me control my TV power. I could also use the Device Discovery feature to have it find my Apple TV and Samsung BD Player via the HDMI connections.
HDMI Cables: HDMI 1.0 vs. HDMI 2.0
One last thing: if you bought your HDMI cables a super long time ago—I’m talking before 2005—then you may need to upgrade your cables. CEC was implemented starting in HDMI 1.2a in December 2005. Additional CEC features were added in HDMI 1.3, HDMI 1.4, and HDMI 2.0. I’m not sure which version of CEC Apple TVs require, but if you bought an HDMI cable after 2013, chances are it’s an HDMI 2.0 cable and is fully supported. If you know for a fact that you have something earlier than HDMI 2.0 and it works, please let me know, since I’m curious.
If you got HDMI 1.0 cables wired into your walls and ceilings like 15 years ago, then well… sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
So, there you have it. If you didn’t know your Apple TV remote could control the volume and power on your TV, then you’re welcome. If you’re like me and your new TV doesn’t do one or both of these things, then the steps above should help. If you have any questions, then I’ll see you in the comments section.
Got any Apple TV Siri Remote tips and tricks? Please share them in the comments!
Super helpfull post. I talked to several Apple workers who don’t know this. My Apple remote still won’t control the volume. It is able to turn the tv on and off. According to the 5th Apple guy I spoke to that’s because of my HDMI cable or maybe HDMI input on my tv, but I bought a new cable (2.0) and my tv is 2 years old (Philips). Do you maybe know why I still can’t control the volume? I did the ‘learn control’ thing and ofcourse my tv has HDMI-CEC.
Long press the power button. That works for me. Still don’t have volume control yet.
I had volume control problems with my Apple TV remote. Everything worked except volume. Problem arose after I brought home a HomePod mini. Took a while but I had placed the HomePod in front of the tv. This obstructed the IR receiver on the television. Moved the ball to the right and hey presto! Volume works fine.
Thanks for this super helpful article. I did this and it was working like a charm! My apple TV (4k) remote was turning on and off my samsung just by waking and sleeping the apple TV. This was happening great for like a month, then all of a sudden, it stopped working and reverted back to the prior state (only controlling volume). I checked all the settings and nothing’s changed, they’re just not working. Checked my Samsung, and it stll has the CEC on. Any ideas??? I just updated the apple tvOS, and that didn’t help either….
Try removing the IR devices from the Apple TV settings, and keep the Volume Control set to Auto. After selecting Auto, it will display in the Remotes and Devices menu page as “Auto via HDMI (receiver)” or “Auto via HDMI (TV)” depending on which device the Apple TV is connected to.
Thank Christ I found this article! I purchased a new Apple TV remote because I lost my last one. The volume wouldn’t work and I was literally about to go mad lol. Thanks for this
Excellent Breanna, I’m glad we were able to help you with your sanity. :) Thank you for the article feedback!
This should literally be upvoted to the first site when people search for “how to turn tv on/off with Apple TV remote.
If I could give you a rating it be 100 out of 10! Thank you so much for a clear and straight to the point guide!
Any suggestions for controlling the volume when my Apple TV and receiver are located behind a door? I have a projector, which is wired through the ceiling and into a storage closet behind a small door. I can use a Harmony remote to control everything, and the Apple TV remote works for everything except for volume. If there’s no direct line of sight to the Apple TV or the receiver, is there a workaround?
My Apple TV Remote works fine with volume and turning the tv off. However, it stopped turning the tv on. I have done the power disconnect/reset for both the Apple and the tv. Control TVs and Receiver is on. Volume is on and in auto. I tried deleting 2 other ir remotes, but “deleting” didn’t make them go away. Situation is the same, volume works, power off works, but power on does not work. Ideas?
Really helpful just been struggling for weeks.
The Apple remote controls volume turns on and off the Apple TV but only turns on the TV. Will not turn it off. Any ideas? i followed all the steps you mentioned but still doesn’t turn off the TV.
I updated my mom’s Vizio TV, and now whenever I turn the TV off using the Apple remote, we get a confusing message about inputs, then the TV switches to SmartCast! This is sooo frustrating because before I updated the TV, the Apple remote worked fine turning the TV on and off! My mom is 82 years old and now she has to use two remotes to turn the TV on and off, I am soooo pissed at Vizio right now, why won’t they fix this issue? There are long threads on Reddit with people screaming bloody murder about this issue but Vizio does nothing, so lame! I’m never purchasing another Vizio product as long as I live.
Thank you for the article, but my volume still does not work on my Apple TV remote. It used to work, and then when I got home from vacation last month, I noticed it doesn’t work anymore. I am still able to turn on and off the TV with the Apple TV remote, but I hate having to have the TV remote out too just to control the volume. Any suggestions? I went to Remotes and Devices > Volume Control > TV via IR and then had it learn my TV remote. Then my TV remote was still the only device that would work for the volume. I also tried disconnecting and reconnecting the Apple TV. That didn’t work. And I have forgotten the new device (the TV remote) thinking that may help, and that didn’t work. Any suggestions would be appreciated. This sucks having to use the TV remote just for the volume. Thank you so much!!
Thanks for the HDMI tip. I forgot those cables upgrade too. I changed out my HDMI when someone borrowed it on accident. Switched it back. Tv comes on now. Voila! Thanks for sharing. I can’t handle using the tv remote AND the Siri Remote. Nope. Hah.