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CiderTV, a software-based alternative for your Apple TV Remote, includes a built-in keyboard and has the ability to control linked Smart TV volume. As of recently, the app comes with a handy widget that makes it possible to control most of the functions of your Apple TV right from the Notification Center. It will save you a lot of time, here’s how to get started with CiderTV and set up the widget.

The widget is especially cool given I can now control my Apple TV from my iPhone’s Lock screen instead of fiddling with the Siri Remote, which has a tendency to disappear mysteriously when I need it most.

Setting up CiderTV

To get started with CiderTV’s widget, first download the app from the App Store.

Then, pull down from the top of any Home screen to display the Notification Center. Now switch to the Today view, scroll all the way to the bottom and hit the Edit button.

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Now tap the green plus sign next to CiderTV and then hit Done to save the changes. The widget is now ready to be used.

But wait, you must also pair CiderTV with your Apple TV. Fire up the app on your iOS device and it should detect any Apple TVs on your local network. To pair the app as a software remote with your Apple TV, tap the plus sign in the upper right corner.

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Now type in a four-digit code that appears on your screen in Settings → Remotes and Devices → Remote App on your Apple TV and you’re good to go.

Using the widget

With the widget enabled in Today view and the app paired with the Apple TV, pull down from the top of any Home or Lock screen to invoke the Notification Center.

The widget features four directional buttons, the OK button and the Menu button. You can also expand or minimize it by hitting the up arrow in the lower right corner.

Though you cannot swipe over the controls like in the CiderTV app (a limitation Apple imposes on Notification Center widgets), tapping these buttons worked as advertised.

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In my brief test, I was able to move the tvOS selection cursor around, select items, run apps and more. You can even long-tap the Menu button to quickly jump to your Apple TV Home screen anywhere you happen to be, or start the screen saver.

If you cannot use the widget on the iPhone’s Lock screen, ensure that the Today view has been enabled when the device is locked under Settings → Touch ID & Passcode.

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Note that your Apple TV and an iOS device running CiderTV must be on the same Wi-Fi network in order for you to control the set-top box with the app.

Intuitive navigation

Here are some basic gestures to control your Apple TV and television volume through the CiderTV app on your iOS device:

  • Tap to select an item or play/pause
  • Double-tap to go back
  • Long-tap to go back to Home Screen
  • Swipe left/right/up/down to move between the items
  • Swipe left/right during media playback to rewind or fast-forward (further swipes increase rewind/fast-forward speed)

To learn more about the app, check out my CiderTV review.

Pricing and availability

CiderTV requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 7.1 or later and includes a watchOS 2 component for controlling your devices from your Apple Watch.

Grab CiderTV for free on the App Store.