August 2, 2016 Last Updated 1:17 pm

Apple releases new Apple TV remote app, incremental improvement over previous app

The new app was released for the iPhone only, with no iPad or Apple Watch version available, but the app can be installed on the iPad without any loss of functionality

The new Apple has a unique way it disappoints its customers – it gives them something that is obviously better than the previous version, but far less than what the customer expected. Yesterday it released a brand new Apple TV remote for the iPhone – but, yes, without a version for the iPad or Apple Watch.

AppleTV-appsThe short review would be to say simply that the new app is worth downloading. It is free, after all.

In general, the new app mirrors that of the new Apple TV remote – the physical remote. That remote was an incremental improvement over the old one, but many Apple TV owners were disappointed to learn that their remote app no longer worked with the new Apple TV. Apple fixed that in December when it updated the old app to add support for the new Apple TV. So far so good.

Now, there are two Apple remote apps, which will no doubt cause confusion.

The old one is now designed to use with iTunes, and as you will soon learn, you’ll need to hang on to it.

ATV-remote-appThe new, called Apple TV Remote, requires iOS devices using iOS 9.3.2 or later, a Wi-Fi connection to the Apple TV, and works with not only the new Apple TV (4th gen) but also older 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TV units.

The new app is very easy to set up. The first thing you’ll need to do is pair the app with Apple TV device by inputting a code the unit will give you. That means you have to wake up that device so you’ll still need the physical remote to do that.

Then one is presented with an app look that basically mirrors that of the physical remote.

The advantages of the app are the same as the old remote: easier typing, bigger area to work with, etc.

The disadvantages remain the same: one can now see what is currently playing, but because the Apple TV can not mirror back what is on the screen you will still need to be sitting in front of the TV for it to work.

Now, that might seem obvious – after all, if you are watching TV why wouldn’t you be in front of the TV? Well, I often am using the Apple TV and not actually watching television. I might be outside listening to music playing through the Apple TV. In order to see what choices I have I have to return indoors to see the TV screen. Because of this, I often decide to stream Spotify to my receiver via Bluetooth because the Spotify mobile app allows me to see what my choices are.

This is where you old remote app, now called iTunes Remote, will come in handy. If you are playing music from your computer to the Apple TV through iTunes you can still use that remote.

That’s where some users have complained, why have two separate remotes, wasn’t it possible to combine the functionality of the iTunes Remote into the new Apple TV remote app?

Also, some have complained about the fact that the new app was released for the iPhone only, with no iPad or Apple Watch version. That does seem a valid complaint (maybe Apple’s software team prefers the Microsoft Surface?). But I was able to install the app on to my iPad, and while it was definitely designed for the iPhone, using it on an iPad means it is even easier to type those search terms and passwords. But because this wasn’t designed for the iPad there would be no landscape version.

The new app can be used as a game controller, which is yet another reason for some to want to download the app (and, again, the app is free).

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