Function101 Offers an Apple TV Remote Replacement with Delightful Buttons

Originally published at: Function101 Offers an Apple TV Remote Replacement with Delightful Buttons - TidBITS

Do you hate the slippery, slidey Siri Remote? The Function101 Button Remote for Apple TV provides blessed relief, though it doesn’t offer Siri voice control.

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This remote is excellent. I never use Siri anyway, so no great loss (and I can’t tell you how many times I have sworn when I have accidentally pressed the Siri button on the normal remote when I meant to press menu), but this year at the summer house with my mother-in-law, who had a lot of trouble mastering the trackpad part of the normal remote (and accidentally hit it a few times while watching content), this worked out great.

As you mentioned, the other drawback is that there is no "TV’ button. I use that quite a lot, but basically pressing the menu button multiple times ultimately gets there.


It is excellent for navigating the apps in AppleTV and controlling playback. The limitation for me is that my Apple TV is connected to my TV via an Onkyo receiver. I need to be able to turn on the receiver, select the AppleTV input and then control volume. (The receiver is set to the Cox DVR as a default input - and HDMI passthrough when off - and also supports a BlueRay player.). So, I still need to control the receiver separately to get connected to Apple TV - but then the new remote works fine to control the AppleTV. Much better than the original Apple remote.


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Before reading this, I bought a Philips Universal Remote SRP3219G/27 and am quite happy with it. It also controls my horrible Sony Android TV and Vizio soundbar. (The straw that broke my camel’s back with the Apple remote was having to skip the soap opera parts of “For All Mankind”; the lack of a fast forward button was intolerable. The camel was already unwell from its ludicrously symmetric design and the indistinguishable buttons.)

It’s a blessing to have Function 101. Finger-skating across the Apple remote provides little, if any, control. However…
I have a Bose Solo sound bar. I can’t get it to turn on and control the sound, so the sound comes from the Sony TV.
Any suggestions?

Only to contact the company. If you can get it to pair with one device but not the other, it may not be in the remote’s database.

re. FF/RW

Skipping a few secs is easier…

Do people know you can just fast-click the left or right edge of the trackpad, and it skips playback forward/back a few seconds? You can repeat this too, so to jump back 60 secs, you simply repeatedly click-click-click-click the right edge of the trackpad, et voila. :wink:

I tend to use the above method the most to get to the position desired quickly.
(Or if wanting to get further than a few minutes from current playback position, instead of clicking, I just keep holding-down left/right trackpad and let go roughly where wanting to be.)

Blah. More hidden and hard-to-discover functionality.

Yup, works erratically for me. My younger kid has no problem with it. I use other touch/tap/click devices without a problem, so I am apparently not upgradable to the Siri Remote.

Just hid my ATV in a cupboard along with other cable-messy devices so the lack of bluetooth is a show stopper for me.
A mute button is wonderful. Last week I sent feedback to Apple (ha ha) suggesting that double tapping the Remote “-” button should mute the sound. That would just require a software update - although it seems that most ATV apps have to handle audio commands themselves. tvOS14 has wrecked volume control of Homepods for a couple of my apps.

My holy grail would be a good universal remote that works with my LG TV, Apple TV, TiVo, and XBox One. Right now, I’m using the TiVo for my regular cable TV stuff, the Apple TV for most streaming stuff, and the XBox as a Blu-ray/DVD player. And I’m using a different remote for each of them. It gets kinda confusing. :slight_smile:

I use my Harmony remote which controls my Panasonic TV, Sony Soundbar, Sony BluRay player, Apple TV (4th Gen), and DVR. This is an older Harmony which is no longer sold but no reason why a newer one wouldn’t work. I create soft buttons so the Harmony can turn on what I want and make settings with one touch. I can also turn off everything with one touch.


  • On Apple TV I can move forward/backward in a show. I still need the ATV remote for that. I rarely do this action.
  • IR instead of Wifi. Even if I had a Wifi Harmony the only Wifi device in this group is the Apple TV.
  • Limited by what is built into the devices. For example, I can use the Harmony to increase/decrease volume on the Sony Soundbar but I cannot set it to a particular volume. This is because Sony didn’t believe it is necessary for a remote to have this type of control.

Anyway, I am very happy with the One Remote to Rule Them All.

I don’t understand this review at all… why spend $30 this when you could buy a universal remote (some are even less expensive for seemingly all the same features). I guess if you only use AppleTV for everything, but I still also have a DVD, an old and failing Tivo, etc.

The killer for me, though, is no Siri. The only way to find half the stuff we’re watching is by saying it aloud.

I didn’t see mention in the article, or on the remote control’s web site, how this thing is powered. Built in rechargeable battery, like the Siri remote? Or replaceable batteries? Or…?

It’s an Apple Siri drop-in replacement, and I (and seemingly a lot of other people) mostly or entirely use an Apple TV. I think it fits the bill perfectly given the provisos about usage I mention—your mileage may vary, which is why I listed all the things it can’t do, almost none of which bother me. What I wanted was a remote that worked with my stereo system, so I can turn it on/off and control volume, and then handle all the menu navigation and playback features of an Apple TV. A lot of folks surely want more, but this wasn’t designed for them; it fit my needs so perfectly, I reviewed it.

I have owned and tried many universal remote controls over decades, and some of the remote controls that I have for other devices (my receiver, the Blu-Ray player, etc.) can be programmed as universal remote controls. There’s also HDMI-CEC, mentioned in the article, which is a sort of interlocked system that can help with managing power and audio and playback across interconnected devices.

In the end, I didn’t want a truly universal remote control; I wanted a more suitable (to my needs) Apple TV + audio remote control.

As for $30, if you can find a really good universal remote control for $30 that doesn’t cause your soul to leak out of your body while programming and using it, you should let us all know. I recalled that Harmony is often cited as the ne plus ultra of programmable universals, and it’s $100 for its full-featured version and $50 for a lower-end IR version (according to Wirecutter’s round-up).

I often prefer purpose-suited devices. (We play a DVD or Blu-Ray rarely, and when we do, we’re almost entirely pressing play/pause, so we don’t really need a universal to support that.)

My family is like that, not me; hence I didn’t set the old Siri Remote on fire and they use it.

It’s a simple very low-power IR device, so it uses one AAA battery, alkaline or rechargeable, but you have to swap the battery. My suspicion is in regular use it will last 6 to 12 months based on how long similar infrared remote controls I have that are powered by a single small cell.

Interesting. OK, thanks!