Apple TV Siri Remote: 5 Things to Know

BY Parth Shah

Published 6 Jun 2021

new apple siri remote

Apple officially unveiled the next-generation Apple TV at its Spring Loaded event. Apart from the usual performance improvements, the new Apple TV 4K also comes with a redesigned Siri Remote. It’s a huge improvement over the last Apple TV remote and works with the older gen. 4K Apple TV as well. Read below to know what makes the new Siri Remote so special.

Apple TV Siri Remote: 5 Things to Know

Compared to its predecessor, the new Siri Remote is a step in the right direction with both aesthetics and functionalities. Let’s start the list with the physical look and feel.

1. Brand New Design

Since the introduction of the 2018 iPad Pro, Apple is steadily changing the design language of its entire product lineup with hard edges and hard corners. We saw the practice with the iPhone 12 lineup, 2021 iMac, and now the same applies to Siri Remote.

The new Apple TV is made up of 100% recycled aluminum, and it’s thicker and bigger in size than the old Apple TV remote. It feels sturdy, and the weight distribution is spot on. You are less likely to break it with random drops on the floor. It seems Apple’s obsession with the thinness of its products is finally getting over.

new siri remote

Another noticeable improvement is black color buttons with silver chassis. The previous remote was carrying all-black aesthetics, making it difficult to navigate and use in a dark environment.

2. Better Tactile Feel and New Buttons for Navigation

The buttons on the new Siri Remote offer a better tactile feel and clickiness. It’s all related to the solid construction of the new remote.

Apple finally listened to the growing criticism and added dedicated buttons for navigation. Gone are the days of unpredictable gesture-based navigation on the Apple TV remote. You can now precisely navigate the tvOS interface with dedicated up/down/left/right buttons around the D-Pad.

3. Dedicated Mute Button

This one is long overdue, and we are surprised that it took Apple till 2021 to realize that a TV remote needs a dedicated mute button. Stuck with an annoying YouTube ad or want to mute the show for an urgent phone call? Simply press the Mute button on the Siri Remote and enjoy a silent environment.

specific mute button

4. New Gestures

As we mentioned above, the new Siri Remote comes with dedicated buttons for navigation. That doesn’t mean D-Pad gestures are gone. They are still there and work better than ever. Allow us to elaborate.

First of all, you can comfortably use the old swipe up/down/right/left gestures to navigate through the menus and options. Apple has added the same gesture trick on navigation buttons as well.

For example, you can rotate your fingers clockwise to forward the video and anti-clockwise to rewind. Apple calls it a circular gesture.  It all feels natural and intuitive compared to the old Apple TV remote. This one is inspired by the iPod classic’s click-wheel design.

circular gesture on siri remote

We like the added options here. It’s up to you whether you want to navigate the device with buttons or gestures.

5. New Back Button

This one is an interesting add-on by Apple. The Back button replaces the Menu button from the old Apple TV Remote on the Siri Remote. The Back button behaves differently depending upon the current interface.

For example, in the YouTube app, the Back button will take you back to the YouTube home. In the Prime Video app, the Back button will trigger the Options menu. If you are deep inside any app, simply long-press the Back button, and it will take you to the tvOS Home interface.

Frankly, it’s a mess right now. There is no way to tell what the Back button will trigger in a specific app. We hope Apple standardizes the Back button function and arm-twist developers for a universal experience for end-users.

2021 Apple TV Remote Cons

The 2021 Siri Remote is better than the old one by leaps and bounds. However, Apple misses a couple of tricks for the perfect home run.

The new Siri Remote still uses the lightning connector for charging. We would have preferred a USB-C port here.

The Siri Remote misses out on the U1 chip as well. The U1 chip uses positioning tech known as an Ultra Wideband (UWB) radio that provides accurate location and spatial awareness, so a U1-equipped device can detect its exact position relative to other devices in the same room.

Is the Siri Remote Worth Upgrading To?

You don’t need to buy the latest Apple TV to enjoy the new Siri Remote. Apple is separately selling the Siri Remote for $59. And in our opinion, it’s absolutely worth the price considering the upgrades you are getting this time around.

Are you planning to buy the new Apple TV or limiting the purchase to the new Siri Remote only? Share your views in the comments section below.