Apple TV 4 image 004

To me, the new software keyboard in tvOS is absolutely the biggest pain point and a major step back from the old password-entry grid on previous Apple TV models.

As ridiculous as it sounds, Apple has opted to put all the characters in a single line, two-row layout. This isn’t just odd from a user experience standpoint, the new keyboard design in tvOS is a lot slower and clunkier to maneuver than the previous grid-style one.

And with the amount of passwords needing entering in third-party video apps, it’s especially annoying and cumbersome. But as it turns out, there’s a way to bring back the old password-entry grid to speed up typing those passwords.

How to bring back old password-entry grid on Apple TV 4

Step 1: First, you need to put your fourth-generation Apple TV to sleep by holding down the Home button and selecting Sleep in the menu that will pop up after a second or two.

Step 2: Now wake up your Apple TV using your old Apple TV remote (silver aluminum or white plastic). You did keep your old remote, did you not?

tvOS Grid style password entry

Tip: Make sure you’re not touching the Siri Remote when waking the device using the old silver remote. If you start using your Siri Remote, your Apple TV will immediately switch to using the new, clunkier one-line keyboard.

I own both third and fourth-generation Apple TV and was able to verify that this trick works like a charm. And judging by user comments on social media, it also works with Harmony’s universal IR remotes.

This awesome tip was first discovered by Rob Griffiths.

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  • James G

    Is Apple ever going to update their Remote app?!

    • No to support the new box. But they’re working on a brand new remote app specifically for Apple TV 4

      • Kenneth Delgado

        Is this confirmed?

      • James G

        This has been confirmed by Apple? Or just speculation? It seems likely given the Remote App in App Store specifically states its for Apple TV 3 or older..

        It just makes any kind of text input horrendous…and it’s been over a month.

  • Merman123

    It’s sad we even have to do this.

  • jefflass

    Christian you are a wuss! I found the new layout to be 3 to 4 times faster when using the touch surface at the top of the remote. And it has built-in momentum to also help speed things up. You just need more practice, practice, practice … and you know what they say about practice … Touting that old grid is a JOKE!

  • junkscienc

    It’s this kind of stupidty in interface design that makes me wonder why would anyone buy the new Apple TV? What is actually different about it from the 3rd gen especially as Siri can’t even perform basic input for you so that you waste time inputing text by hand anyway.

    • I do regret upgrading. Even my Apple Music playlist are for some reason missing songs on it. There’s no reason to go from a 3 to a 4 or to get a 4 when 3 is available.

  • ProllyWild

    I get peoples frustrations, but I recall swipe based entry on the remote app for the grid keyboard was not at all pleasant. It was very easy to overshoot the letter you intended. That’s why the remote app’s ability to enter text via the iOS keyboard was ultimately best. I could be wrong by I think everyone’s assumptions about ease of a grid keyboard with the Siri remote is imagined. I also imagine that perhaps the remote app was not updated so as to encourage people to use/experience the Siri remote.

    That said, there are holes that need fixing, but I doubt the grid keyboard would be the easier experience people think it would be.

  • techfreak23

    So it uses the grid keyboard only when you’re using the old remotes…?

  • Josh

    I think an even worse frustration is the iCloud and save files disappearance issue, in the new apple tv. I hope the new update fixes this.