How to control your TV or receiver volume using the Apple TV remote

By , Nov 3, 2015

Apple TV Siri Remote in hand image 004

In addition to using your Siri Remote to navigate the tvOS user interface and play games on the fourth-generation Apple TV, you can program it to control power and adjust volume levels of your television set or home theater receiver.

That’s because your Apple TV and the Siri Remote that came with it are compatible with HDMI-CEC and outfitted with a built-in infrared receiver and blaster.

This means owners of the new Apple TV can adjust the volume of their TVs and home theater receivers via the HDMI cable or line of sight, using just their Siri Remote.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to program your Siri Remote and configure it to work with your home entertainment equipment.

Crash course on HDMI-CEC

HDMI-CEC stands for HDMI Consumer Electronics Control, a feature of the HDMI standard that permits users to command and control up to fifteen television sets, receivers, set-top boxes, DVD/Blu-ray players and other compatible devices connected via HDMI, using a single remote control.

If your Apple TV is hooked up to an HDMI-CEC compatible device like a TV set or receiver, you should be able to adjust its volume with the Siri Remote out of the box. In addition, automatic input switching is supported for newer HDMI-CEC devices.

Owners of older TVs or receivers that are incompatible with HDMI-CEC will need to manually teach their Siri Remote to blast compatible volume commands to these devices via line of sight. Note that input switching is not supported on non-HDMI-CEC devices.

How to program Siri Remote for HDMI-CEC devices

Step 1: Go to Settings → Remotes and Devices on your fourth-generation Apple TV.

Step 2: Select Volume Control under the Home Theater Control heading.

Step 3: If options labeled Auto, TV via IR or some such are available here, your TV or receiver supports HDMI-CEC and can be automatically linked to the Siri Remote here. If not, proceed with the manual setup, as detailed in the following section.

How to program Siri Remote for non-HDMI-CEC devices

Step 1: Go to Settings → Remotes and Devices on your fourth-generation Apple TV.

Step 2: Choose Volume Control under the Home Theater Control heading.

Step 3: Now select the option labeled Learn New Device. If options labeled Auto or TV via IR are available here as well, your home theater devices support HDMI-CEC and can be automatically linked to the Siri Remote so there’s no need to proceed with the manual setup.

Step 4: Time to teach your Siri Remote new tricks. First, tare your traditional TV or receiver remote control and point it at your Apple TV. Now press and hold the Volume Up button on that remote and continue holding it until the on-screen progress bar is full.

Step 5: Repeat the process for the Volume Down button. The infrared receiver built into your Apple TV will pick up these remote commands and program your Siri Remote accordingly.

Step 6: Lastly, name your newly programmed remote for easy identification in the menus.

Tip: To cancel setup at any time, press the Menu button on the Siri Remote.

Congratulations, you now have taught your Apple TV the commands to adjust the volume levels of your home theater equipment through the Siri Remote’s plus and minus buttons on the bottom right.

How to adjust power and volume control

After your Siri Remote is programmed for your TV or home theater setup, you can selectively enabled or disable its power and volume functions.

Step 1: Go to Settings → Remotes and Devices on your fourth-generation Apple TV.

Step 2: If you want waking your Apple TV to automatically turn on your television or receiver and switch to the correct HDMI input, select Turn On Your TV with Your Remote under the Home Theater Control heading. This will also shut down your TV or receiver when you put your Apple TV to sleep.

NOTE: Switching inputs requires a HDMI-CEC-compliant TV or receiver, or the Turn On Your TV with Your Remote feature will be greyed out.

Step 3: To enable volume control for a specific TV or receiver, choose Volume Control under the Home Theater Control heading and select a compatible device, or select OFF to disable volume control.

NOTE: Volume control uses the Siri Remote’s built-in infrared blaster and works on both modern HDMI-CEC devices and legacy non-HDMI-CEC hardware. Power control requires an HDMI-CEC compatible device.

As a side-note, you might need to manually enable HDMI-CEC in your TV or receiver’s menu. This option might be also referred to as SimpLink, Anycast, EasyLink, Bravia Link, CEC or a similar name ending in “Link” or “Sync.”

Recommended tutorials

You might also appreciate the following Apple TV how-tos:

Send us your own tips and tutorial ideas at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

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  • James G

    This is just what I was hoping for but Apple’s specs didn’t make apparent. Setup my Apple TV today and the HDMI-CEC worked just fine! My Vizio M80-C3 even recognized the device as “Apple TV” and the remote controlled my soundbar that is connected via ARC just fine.

    Sweetness!

    Now, Apple, about that Remote app…

  • sNick

    It works also for me, but my tv switched on yesterday two times without touching the Apple TV or my remote at all. I just saw that my aTV was running also.

  • Techsticles

    Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to power on/off your TV and Receiver if one or both are non CEC compliant.

  • George

    anyone looking to buy an apple tv 4 best buy is selling open box 32 gb for $126 and 64gb for $169 on their website. looks like lots of returns..

  • FlynIFR

    This works for me fine except for turning the TV off. I have a Samsung TV with Anynet+. Apple remote turns the Apple TV on , Samsung TV on and set the proper input for Apple TV. When I put the Apple TV to sleep it turns off, the TV shows AnyNet+ disconnecting then the TV reverts to the line in antenna instead of turing off. Any idea? If I can figure this out I can ditch the remote that I have to use just to turn the TV off.