Here’s how the Apple TV’s new Bluetooth keyboard support works

By , Dec 8, 2012

Earlier today we told you about how the latest beta version of the Apple TV firmware adds Bluetooth keyboard support. Why Apple is just now getting around to adding support for keyboards is anyone’s guess, but it’s better late than never.

No longer will you have to tediously type in hidden WiFi SSIDs and passwords in order to setup a WiFi connection. No longer will you tear your hair out in frustration as you search YouTube for your favorite videos from iDB.

We’ve downloaded the beta version of the latest Apple TV firmware, and tested out the Bluetooth keyboard support for ourselves. Now we’d like to share with you the entire setup process just to show you how incredibly easy it all is. Take a look inside…

Setting up a Bluetooth keyboard with an Apple TV is a piece of cake. Simply head over to the Settings, select General, and select Bluetooth. Once Bluetooth is selected, you’ll be presented with an option to pair a new keyboard. The Apple TV will automatically start to look for the keyboard, so all you need to do is place your keyboard into pairing mode to finish the process.

Once the Apple TV finds your keyboard, you’ll be presented with a four digit numerical code. After inputing this code and pressing the Return key, the pairing process is complete. Once it is successfully paired, you can begin navigating the interface via the keyboard.

As we noted in our first post regarding this long awaited feature, pressing the Return key acts as a play/pause button and the Escape key brings up the menu. From there it’s as simple as navigating the Apple TV interface using the keyboard’s standard arrow keys.

While the Apple TV features a 10 foot user interface that can be adequately perused using nothing more than the remote control that comes bundled with it, there’s no denying that having the option to pair a keyboard makes the experience feel more complete. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve simply forgone a night of watching content on the Apple TV due to the fact that I had to go through the tedious process of setting up the WiFi connection again. I know, I’m lazy, but if for some reason I have to completely reset my Apple TV from scratch, I’m much more apt to go through the setup processes knowing that I can simply pair my Bluetooth keyboard to quickly enter in any pertinent information.

The question is, will keyboards be the first and only Bluetooth peripheral that the Apple TV will support? Will we see support for other hardware devices like mice, headsets, or even…iPhones, iPads, and iPad touch? It surely seems logical. It also seems possible, though unlikely, that we may see a version of Safari with a 10 foot user interface some time down the line. At the very least, Bluetooth keyboard support should be awesome for those of you with Jailbroken Apple TV’s who have the web browser installed.

What do you think about the Apple TV’s upcoming Bluetooth keyboard support? If you’re a developer, then feel free to head over to Apple’s developer portal, and download the 5.2 beta firmware for the Apple TV now. Once you’ve tried it out, let me know what you think about it in the comments below. If you’re not a developer, then you’ll have to wait, but I assume that the keyboard support should be featured in the very next release scheduled to hit the public.

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  • http://policydiary.com/ John S. Wilson

    Thanks for the breakdown. But this seems really overhyped. A keyboard isn’t more useful for basic searching. In fact, it reminds me of Google TV and those horrible remotes for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

    Agreed Jeff! They shouldn’t have done this from the get-go thanks for sharing this!
    Also are you hdmi outing your apple tv to your macbook pro retina? you can do that? ha

    • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

      Right, I got the same question, we can now use the HDMI port as an input from other device?

      • http://twitter.com/kubelekk Kuba

        how is that possible??

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

        That might make me get a retnia lol Xbox 360 done ps3 done lolol

    • http://www.facebook.com/franckamayou Franck Kamayou

      Same question here!

  • http://twitter.com/rickz97 Ricky

    Well now i know your password jeff. Just need to find wheres your house hahaha

  • http://twitter.com/davester13 D R

    Will I need separate keyboards if my Mac and my AppleTV are in the same room?

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    Is this just ATV 3 or does ATV 2 get this aswell ? I don’t care if ATV 2 doesn’t I use Rowmote on my iPad ,so I get a trackpad and keyboard to controll my ATV 2

  • luis gonzalez

    Just a lil typo: …iPhones, iPads, and iPad touches? It surely seems logical. It also seems

  • imot65

    Jeff, you are using some elgato gadget to be able to use the ATV on your MBP?Just curious.

  • http://twitter.com/parkerreed Parker Reed

    Heh, been able to use a bluetooth keyboard for a while. BTStack ftw :D

  • Lordthree

    2 articles for this?!?

  • DomPerignon1

    Jeff, I’m glad you are writing interesting things again, instead of silly tweaks for obsolete jailbroken iPhones.

    • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

      The jb-iPhone demand is getting low… Moreover we can unlock our iPhone easy and officially now with just few bucks.

  • commenterx

    A game controller? Apple TV is one SDK away to become a $100 HD game console. They are sitting in a potential pile of cash and they don’t even know it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gavin.thomson.3994 Gavin Thomson

      Oh…I think they know it. Apple is probably wondering how to make the ATV capable of loading games sans drive storage. You’d have to run it through AirPlay (as in Air Game Play) or iTunes itself.

  • http://twitter.com/podperson Tonio Loewald

    Haven’t had to tediously type in passwords since the ios remote app came out.

    • Jeff

      You can’t use the iOS remote app until you connect the Apple TV to a WiFi connection, and you can’t connect the Apple TV with WiFi without manually typing in an SSID and/or password. So there’s no way to totally skirt around the issue yet. This solves that problem.

      • http://twitter.com/podperson Tonio Loewald

        Good point, although it’s something you only need to do once in a blue moon, and you still need to pair your keyboard…

  • http://twitter.com/lakhygill lakhwinder

    I prefer to use iphone remote app to type

  • http://www.facebook.com/siggen Sigurd Bøe

    Now we just need a bluetooth boxeebox remote like alternative!!!

  • keith

    anyone know why my Bluetooth keyboard wont pair with apple tv?..it discovers it, but wont give up the 4 digit code and pair and it paired with ipad no prblem

    • keith

      wow this place was really helpful…NOT!!