How to control Apple TV from your iPhone’s Lock screen with CiderTV widget

By , Jun 9, 2016

CiderTV Notification Widget teaser 001

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.

CiderTV Notification Widget image 003

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.

CiderTV Notification Widget image 005

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.

CiderTV Notification Widget image 004

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.

CiderTV Notification Widget image 001

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.

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  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    Doesn’t work on a jailbroken Apple TV 4

    • Tim

      Doesn’t seem to work on a non-jailbroken Apple TV 4 either. 🙂

      • Olya Galkina

        Hi! Please check your devices are connected to same local WiFi with your Apple TV and ATV is turned on. If it doesn’t help, you can contact support via online chat inside app or answer in the comment below.

      • Tim

        I have restarted my Apple TV, I can confirm they are on the same WiFi network, I have disabled and enabled my Bluetooth several times. I’m out of options at the moment. The Mac App was seen immediately after switching the Bluetooth off and on but I can’t get the iOS App to be recognised.

      • ezziapps

        CiderTV for iOS works via WiFi, not Bluetooth. So to pair it with your Apple TV 4 go to Settings->Remotes and devices -> Remote app and select your iPhone with CiderTV installed

      • Tim

        It has connected meanwhile, after some fiddling around. Only thing now is that CiderTV for my Mac keeps disconnecting from my Apple TV 4 after I’ve been out of the house with it.

    • Olya Galkina

      Hi, if you would read the description, it says – works with non-jailbroken Apple TV ) So it should not)

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        Why can’t it? It doesn’t make sense that the app won’t work on jailbroken devices as many other apps do whether they’re free or paid for. Plus there have been a few reviews on it stating that it doesn’t work even on stock.

      • ezziapps

        You can jailbreak Apple Tv 4 running 9.0 and 9.0.1 but our app works with Apple TV 4 running tvOS 9.1 and above.
        And what is more, jailbreaking of an Apple TV can reorganize the whole system API and nobody will guarantee that your ATV device will work properly. Thats why we focus on non-jailbroken devices. Although we receive positive reviews from users with jailbroken ATV boxes

      • ezziapps

        Please sare us what apps do work with jailbroken Apple TVs well and what is more – work with NON-jailbroken Apple TVs too.

  • DOOManiac

    Great idea, but it doesn’t control the volume on my TV the same way the Siri remote does. I think it needs to pair to the TV separately (and needs a smart TV to do so) or something, couldn’t figure it out.

    Without volume control there’s no reason to use this app over Apple’s Remote app.

    • Olya Galkina

      Hi, to control the volume you need your linked smart TV to be turned ON and than press the gear button to select it. It doesn’t work like Siri because Siri Remote works via Infrared Port (and iPhone doesn’t have this port =)

      If it doesn’t help, please tell what TV model do you try to connect? This will provide us the basic information to help you.


    • ezziapps

      Also you can type text queries and send them to your Apple TV with ease. And what is more – you can control Apple TV from locked screen. No need to unlock your iOS device. Enjoy!

  • Nskey

    Yaay! Now I don’t need to unlock my phone to control Apple TV. That’s cool, thanks 🙂

    • ezziapps

      Thank you very much 🙂 Enjoy!