Unlock iPhone’s Secret Apple TV Remote App for Home Screen, App Library, Siri and More – No Control Center Needed « iOS and iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Unlock iPhone’s Secret Apple TV Remote App for Home Screen, App Library, Siri and More – No Control Center Needed « iOS and iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

If you use the Apple TV remote found in Control Center on your iPhone, there’s a hidden surprise you’ll enjoy with the iOS 16 update — one that lets you use the remote without having to open Control Center.

You can use Apple TV Remote to control media playback on Apple TV or smart TV with AirPlay 2 connection. Apple TV (3rd generation) and newer models should already be usable with the Apple TV Remote on your iPhone. AirPlay 2-compatible smart TVs must be added to your Home app in an assigned room before you can use the Apple TV Remote to control them.

It’s a simple tool to adjust volume levels, navigate menus, play and pause media, change channels, perform searches and control other important things. However, on iOS 15.7 and earlier, you can only open Apple TV Remote from the Control Center. Not even Siri, App Library or Spotlight Search can help you. Closing the remote will return you to the Control Center.

Use Apple TV Remote in App Switcher now

On iOS 16.0 and later, Apple TV Remote works more like an app than a simple control in Control Center. When you use the Apple TV Remote and switch to another app, you can use App Switcher to bring up the remote when you need it—just like you can with any other app.

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While App Switcher support is a huge win for when you need to multitask, you still can’t open Apple TV Remote from Siri, App Library, or Spotlight Search. And Apple TV Remote will eventually disappear from the iPhone app switcher after a period of inactivity.

But the Apple TV Remote has a secret beyond being supported in the iPhone’s app switcher, one many of you probably never thought possible: you can turn it into an app.

Make Apple TV Remote work like other apps

OK, it’s already an app and technically always has been since it’s had its own .app file in iOS’s hidden apps list, just like Code Scanner and Print Center. What’s different is that Apple finally assigned a URL scheme to the Apple TV Remote.

If you don’t know what a URL scheme is, think of a regular URL or a link on a web page to send an email to someone via your standard email app. http:// or https:// start of a web page URL indicates a web resource that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, while mailto:// indicates a hyperlinked email address that you can click or tap to start a draft in your email client.

App developers can assign custom URL schemes to their apps and submit those apps to the App Store. Running the scheme alone in a browser or from another app will open the app if it is installed on the device. You can add special parameters to the form to perform specific actions in the associated app.

Apple provides many of its own apps with URL schemes, such as Calculator (calc://), Camera (camera://), FaceTime (facetime://), Find My (findmy://), Fitness (fitnessapp: / /), music (music://) and news (applenews://). And with iOS 16.0 and later, Apple supports tvremote:// for the Apple TV Remote.

Step 1: Get it working with Siri and Spotlight Search

With an assigned URL form, you can build a simple shortcut in the Shortcuts app that opens the URL form, which opens the Apple TV Remote. You can then use that shortcut with Siri, add it to your home screen or app library, and find it via Spotlight Search. And creating the shortcut is easy.

You can also download our pre-made Open Apple TV Remote shortcut and skip to step 2 for information on how to use it from your home screen and app library.

  1. Start a new shortcut from the Shortcuts tab.
  2. Add the “URL” web action.
  1. Change apple.com to tvremote:// in the URL action box.
  2. Add the “Open URLs” web action.
  1. Press (v) next to the shortcut’s name, select “Rename” and give it a new name, such as “Open Apple TV Remote”, which also works as the Siri command.

If you just want to use Siri or Spotlight Search to open the Apple TV Remote, you can tap “Done” to save the shortcut at this point. But if you want to give it an app icon for the home screen and app library, change the shortcut’s current icon.

Step 2: Add it to your home screen and app library

Tap the current icon next to the shortcut’s name to open the icon picker. You can also press (v) and then “Select icon”. You can choose which icon and color you want, but the Apple TV icon might be the most appropriate. Save it with “Done”.

Now let’s add it to the home screen and app library for easier and faster access. Press (v) next to the shortcut’s name and select “Add to Home Screen”. Alternatively, press (i) in the toolbar, followed by “Add to Home Screen.”

By default, it will use the shortcut’s icon as the bookmark icon shown for the home screen and app library, which should be fine since we’ve already changed it. But you can also tap the icon to select another image from Camera, Files or Photos. Since “Open Apple TV Remote” is quite long for a home screen icon name, try it without “Open”. You can also drop “Apple” if you want a slimmer presentation.

When you press “Add”, you jump to the new icon on the home screen. Before using it, go back to the Shortcuts app and tap “Done” on the shortcut to make sure it’s saved to your library.

Step 3: Open Apple TV Remote Faster

Whether you stopped after step 1 above or not, you can ask Siri to “Open Apple TV Remote” and Apple TV Remote will open. You can also search for the remote control in Spotlight and open it from there.

And you can even map the shortcut to the double- or triple-tap Back Tap gesture, where tapping Apple on the back of your iPhone two or three times will open Apple TV Remote from whatever screen you’re on.

If you followed step 2 above, you can also tap the Apple TV Remote icon from your Home screen or app library to open it.

One day, Apple may turn the Apple TV Remote into a real app with an official app icon for the Home screen, App Library, and Spotlight Search, like it did with the Magnifying Glass. Until then, the URL form works pretty well.

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Cover image and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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