How to Connect Apple TV to Wi-Fi Without Remote Control: Use Your iPhone

How to Connect Apple TV to Wi-Fi Without Remote Control: Use Your iPhone

After I installed my Smart TV with Apple TV at a new place, I realized that the remote was lost. 

While I was aware that I could use an iOS device as a remote to control my Apple TV, both devices must be connected to the same WiFi network. 

I’d just got a new WiFi connection set up at my home and was yet to connect my Apple TV to it. 

But, since my Apple TV was a Wi-Fi + ethernet model, I knew a quick way to get connected to Wi-Fi, but if you’re on a Wi-Fi only model, it’s a little more difficult.

To connect your Apple TV to WiFi without a remote, make sure both your Apple TV and iPhone are on the same network. Open the Control Center on your iPhone and tap on Apple TV Remote and select your device from the list.

Use An Ethernet Cable To Set Up Apple TV Remote On Your iPhone or iPad   

If you’ve lost your Siri Remote or if it’s not working, you can easily control your Apple TV through the Remote app on your iPhone or iPad. 

However, your iOS device and Apple TV must be on the same WiFi network for the Remote app to work. 

There’s an alternative way to connect your Apple TV to WiFi without a remote through a wired connection. 

Here’s how: 

  • Plug in one end of the ethernet cable at the back of your Apple TV and the other end to your WiFi router to set up a wired internet connection
  • Now connect your iPhone or iPad to the same WiFi network used as a wired connection on the Apple TV 
  • Now go to Settings > Control Center 
  • If Apple TV Remote is not listed, tap on Add (+) icon next to the Apple TV Remote 
  • To access the Apple TV Remote app, open Control Center
    • On iPhone X or latest version of iPadOS, swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen 
    • On devices running on iOS 11 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen 
  • Tap on Apple TV Remote 
  • Select your Apple TV from the device list 
  • Follow the on-screen instructions and a four-digit passcode will appear on the TV screen
  • Enter the code into your iPhone or iPad
    • Note: This method will not work if you’ve got an Apple TV (3rd generation) as it requires users to enter the passcode into the Apple TV using the Siri Remote 
  • Once the Apple TV Remote is set up, try changing the channels or controlling the volume through your iPhone or iPad 

Once you’re able to control the Apple TV via iPhone or iPad, you can easily connect it to a WiFi network. 

Follow these instructions: 

  • On your Apple TV, select Settings in the Apps menu 
  • Navigate to Network 
  • Select Wi-Fi and choose your preferred WiFi network 
  • Enter the password if required to confirm the connection
  • You can now remove the ethernet cable and control your Apple TV through iPhone or iPad 

Use Your Android Smartphone As An Apple TV Remote 

In case you don’t have an iOS device and still want to connect Apple TV to WiFi, you can use your Android smartphone as an Apple TV remote. 

To do this: 

  • Connect your Apple TV to the WiFi router using an ethernet cable as mentioned above 
  • Now, connect your Android smartphone to the same WiFi network used to set up a wired connection on Apple TV
  • Download & install the Remote for Apple TV app from the Google Play Store 
  • Launch the app and follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Apple TV on the app 

Once the app is set up and you’re able to use the smartphone as an Apple TV remote: 

  • Open Settings on your Apple TV
  • Navigate to Network and select Wi-Fi 
  • Enter the WiFi password if required 
  • Once the wireless connection is successful, you can remove the ethernet cable as well 

Try Using Your Smart TV Remote To Connect Apple TV To Wi-Fi 

If your TV supports HDMI-CEC, Apple TV allows it to be controlled by your TV remote as well. 

However, before you can control Apple TV with a Smart TV remote, you need to ensure that the HDMI-CEC feature is enabled on your Smart TV. 

Go to the TV Settings and search for the HDMI-CEC feature. The feature name may vary depending on your TV manufacturer. 

Some common examples of the HDMI-CEC setting include SimpLink, Anynet+, EasyLink, BRAVIA Sync, etc. 

With the HDMI-CEC setting enabled, try controlling your Apple TV with the Smart TV remote control directly. 

You should be able to use the directional buttons and Select key of the remote to control the Apple TV. 

If the remote works, go to Settings > Network > Wi-Fi and connect to your desired wireless network. 

You Can Also Use A Universal Remote To Connect To Wi-Fi

If you’ve got a universal or any other IR remote available, you can easily teach it to control the Apple TV. 

Open Settings on your Apple TV and navigate to Remotes and Devices. Select Learn Remote and follow the on-screen instructions to set up the remote. 

Additionally, you can also use a network-based remote with Apple TV. To do this, you need to add the remote to the Home app on your iPhone or iPad. 

Launch the Home app on your iOS device. Now tap on the Add button and select Add Accessory. Follow the on-screen instructions to add the remote. 

As a network-based remote sends signals to Apple TV through a network, it doesn’t have to be pointed directly at Apple TV making it more convenient to use. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it better to use a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi on an Apple TV? 

A wired network connection offers more stable and high-speed connectivity as compared to WiFi. Wireless connections are prone to network interference and the connectivity can be restricted depending on the distance of the WiFi router from your TV.

How do I troubleshoot Wi-Fi connection issues with Apple TV?

Restart your Apple TV and Wi-Fi router, ensure that you’re within range of the Wi-Fi network, check for any network interference or congestion, and update your Apple TV to the latest software version.

What to do if I can’t set up the Apple TV Remote on my iPhone? 

If you’re unable to set up the Apple TV Remote on your iPhone, make sure that the Apple TV is on the same WiFi network as your iPhone. Additionally, ensure that your iPhone and Apple TV are updated to the latest version of iOS and tvOS respectively.

Can a VPN affect the Wi-Fi connection on Apple TV?

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your Wi-Fi network can potentially affect the connection on Apple TV. Some VPN configurations may cause conflicts or limit network access.

About the author

Maria Chan, or MC, as we call her, is the genius girl-boss who gave up on her cushy silicon-valley job to grind it out with us. Her undying pursuit of wanting Zeebox to the best makes it very clear that she has no interest in running a generic tech-site.

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