Apple is used to dominating the market when it comes to phones, tablets and smartwatches. It's a different story for media streaming devices, where the Apple TV goes up against popular offerings from Roku, Google, and Amazon.
If you're an Apple fan, though, you'll love what the company has done with the latest iteration of Apple TV ($179.99 at Amazon) . A new remote adds voice control with Siri, a touchpad, and an accelerometer and gyroscope for games. And this fall, there will be even more to watch once the Apple TV+ streaming service arrives.
The standard HD Apple TV costs $149 for 32GB of storage space. The Apple TV 4K edition costs $179 for 32GB or $199 for 64GB. Let's see what you can do with it.
Turn Anything into a Remote
You'll need the remote that comes with the Apple TV during the setup process, but you're not stuck with it after that. Turn your iPhone into a remote with the Apple TV Remote app for iOS. (For Android users, there are some apps not made by Apple on Google Play.)
You can also use a traditional third-party remote. On your Apple TV, navigate to Settings > General > Remotes > Learn Remote, where you can map your remote to work with the device.
Check Remote Battery Levels
Search by Voice
The newest Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K come with a Siri remote, which lets you summon Apple's digital assistant and navigate the media streamer by voice. Hold down the Siri button and ask for title, genre, cast, and more. Release the button and Apple TV will search through available apps. Press and release the Siri button for recommendations.
Adjust Remote Sensitivity
Did you miss something someone said onscreen? Tap the touch surface on the left to go back 10 seconds, or tap on the right if you need to get past a sad animal commercial 10 seconds at a time.
To quickly move through a video, pause and then swipe the trackpad in either direction to scrub back and forth. You can also tell Siri to "fast forward 10 minutes" or ask her "What did he just say?" and Apple TV will rewind for you.
Use the App Switcher
If your Apple TV home screen is too cluttered, you can move apps around, hide them, or tuck them into folders.
Click and hold an app until it jiggles, at which point you can move it around the home screen. Or press the Play/Pause button to hide a selected app from view.
The new Apple TV, meanwhile, supports folders, just like iOS devices do. Highlight the app you want to put into a folder and hold down the touch surface until it starts to jiggle. Then drag it on top of another app that you want in the same folder.
If you want to create a new folder based on the highlighted app, hold it down and press Play/Pause and choose an option. To rename a folder, tap it, and then type in a new title.
Apple TV has built-in AirPlay compatibility that allows you to send content from an iPad or iPhone to a connected television screen. But you can restrict who has access to your Apple TV. Navigate to Settings > AirPlay and choose between everyone, anyone connected to the same Wi-Fi network, or people who share control of your Home app. You can also require a password for someone to use AirPlay with your Apple TV.
On older devices, go to Settings > AirPlay > Security to set a verification code or a password for the device.
Set Parental Restrictions
Similarly, if you want to block the kids from certain content at home, you can turn on restrictions in Settings > General > Restrictions, and then set a four-digit code to enable.
Apple TV allows you to limit or block the ability to make purchases and access explicit content. Filter TV, movies, music, and podcasts based on language, ratings, or age. Newer models can also disable multiplayer gaming, screen recording, location services, and more.
Add More Accounts
Connect to Bluetooth
Watch Live TV
Streaming apps are great, but at times, nothing beats the live TV experience, especially when it comes to sports. Some US TV channel apps will let you watch live TV via Apple TV. That includes ABC News, CBS, CBS News, CNN Go, Cooking Channel, Disney Channel, Disney Jr, Disney XD, DIY, ESPN, Food Network, FXNOW, HGTV, TBS, TNT, and Travel Channel.
If you have a fourth-gen Apple TV, you can just hold down the mic icon on the remote and ask to watch a channel live. Siri will even understand if you search for a particular sporting event, such as asking "When are the Flyers playing?"
Make Yourself At Home
Your third- or fourth-gen Apple TV can serve as a smart house hub if you have HomeKit-enabled devices.
To set up Apple TV as the hub, you must use the same iCloud account for your Apple TV and the iOS devices you use with HomeKit. The process should happen automatically. If not, go to Apple TV and navigate to to Settings > Accounts > iCloud, look for HomeKit and make sure it is connected.
Apple also requires that you set up two-factor authentication on iCloud in order to ensure your devices are more secure. Open an iOS device and go to Settings > iCloud > Passwords & Security > Set Up Two-Factor Authentication. You also need to set up iCloud Keychain in Settings > iCloud > Keychain.
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