2021 Siri remote: option for channel surfing with up/down buttons

I've been loving the new 2021 model of the Siri remote. I understand the dedicated up/down buttons are mapped to bringing up the video controls and pulling down the info/options pane, respectively, and these are good intuitive actions for the default controls.

That being said, both of those actions are easily done with swipes on the touchpad since the previous Siri remote had no up/down clicks. I'd love an advanced option to use those up/down buttons for channel surfing while viewing live TV. This would eliminate the biggest benefit of third-party remotes for me.

Good idea! We've added this as a new setting in the latest TestFlight beta.


Would this be like the swipe that is replicated by double click? Would be nice. Nobody here likes the touchpad so I have it turned off.

Are you saying tvOS simulates a down swipe if you double click the down button (with touch off)?

Or are you talking about something specific to Channels?

I'm not really understanding.

Yes! This is an excellent idea and I'm excited to check out the latest TestFlight beta when I get home!

I have found one example when manually closing an app, with the touchpad you swipe up to close the selected app. With the touchpad turned off, you double click up to accomplish the same thing. Wondering if that is default behavior for the OS or if that needs to be programmed into the app.

EDIT: One of my favorite things is when watching a recording and the commercials start, I can double click right to skip them all. Is that something you programmed into the app or is that TVOS replacing a double click for was actually a swipe function on the trackpad?

The double-press on Right or Left has been standard in Channels to skip to the next/prev commercial marker.

  • Single press: skip the pre-determined amount (30/15s defaults forward/back)
  • Double press: skip to the next commercial marker
  • Long press: Seek/FF/RWD
1 Like

Yep. Doesn’t answer my question about if double click up and down will work though.

No it will not work in "Click only" mode. One challenge is that our app doesn't know what mode you have configured in the OS.

This has existed for ages for remotes that don’t have a touch pad, the harmony remote for example.

It’s not emulating a swipe gesture as much as that specific interaction supports a double click up.

Too bad. I hate giving up features with the touchpad but will live with it. I can’t stand reaching for the remote and accidentally swiping something on the remote with no idea what I did. My wife hates it even more. Deal breaker. It’s just good you can turn it off. There are only seven navigation buttons on the new AppleTV remote. Maybe it will be worth exploring other double click actions in the future.

Channel Surfing with this new feature is working great on my new AppleTV 4K v2 with the new Siri remote. Fast and seamless.

It’s NOT working on my AppleTV 4K v1 however, even though I’m using a new Siri remote v2 with that box too. Pressing up and down while watching live TV doesn’t do anything,

Does this feature require a new Siri remote AND v2 of the 4K AppleTV? I hope not. Both of my devices have the new Siri remote, it’s working great on both with everything else, and both are running tvOS 14.7 (18M5523d)
I’ve double-confirmed the settings and they're identical. Is there anything else I can try?

Thanks for adding this feature though. Folks are gonna love it!

I’m curious, why not use the “Skip Button” option under Settings > Playback > Commercial Skipping? Wouldn’t that produce the same result, just with a center click instead of a right double-click?

Further if you are always skipping them, why not just choose “automatic?”

Just wondering what I’m missing here.

Simple reason. Commercial marking is not perfect. Probably never will be. Manual skipping gives me the illusion of control. Also, my family already knows how to skip manually. A button to push or a sudden skip forward just leads to confusion for my crew. Everyone’s different.

This is weird. I literally WROTE the feature with this configuration. A gen 1 Apple TV 4K paired with the new remote.

1 Like

OK, glad to get confirmation that it works on the previous 4K box.
I thought it might have something to do with the tvOS 14.7 public beta.

Anyway, on the v1 AppleTV 4K where it wasn't working, I deleted the Channels beta app, and re-downloaded from Test Flight. Went through all the settings to confirm. And now Channel Surfing is working!

Apologies for the false alarm.


Thank you! Noticed it in the TestFlight release notes before I even checked back here and it works just like I wanted to.

This seems to default to all channels even when the quick guide is set to something else eg. favourites

There is a separate setting for Channel Surfing collection