Apple TV not working with Harmony? Check these tips

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While the Apple TV isn’t flying off the shelves like AirPods or the Apple Watch, it’s still a great product. This is especially true with the release of Apple’s TV+ streaming services as more try to “cut the cord”.

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Another great aspect of TV+ comes into play for those who live the “smart home” lifestyle. With options like Logitech’s Harmony system, you don’t need to keep track of the Siri Remote and can even use Android to control the Apple TV.

What is the Harmony Remote and Hub?

Logitech Harmony 950 Hero

Logitech Harmony 950

The Harmony Remote and Hub system comes from Logitech and adds additional features to your pre-existing system. After various devices have been added, they can then be controlled by a single remote or with your phone.

Currently, there are several different options available, ranging from the Harmony Elite (top of the line), to the Harmony 350 and 665. These remotes offer smart functionality of their own, with a few of them including LCD displays.

Pair Harmony IR Remote with Apple TV

There are two different options for pairing Logitech’s Harmony remotes with the Apple TV.

The first, and most common, is to take advantage of the IR sensors on the remote and TV.

  1. Open the Harmony app from your iPhone
  2. Select the Harmony remote and tap on Devices Add device
  3. Enter Apple under manufacturer and Apple TV under the model
  4. Tap the Sync icon in the top right-hand corner
  5. Select Sync Now

After a few moments, the Harmony remote will pair with your Apple TV. This gives you control over many aspects without waiting for Bluetooth to be paired and connected after sleep.

Pair the Harmony Hub with the Apple TV using Bluetooth

Harmony Elite Remote Control

Some folks have been stating that when paired to Harmony via the IR blaster, you cannot control certain aspects. In this case, you will want to switch to Bluetooth pairing instead.

Here’s how you can do so:

  1. Open the Harmony app on your iPhone
  2. Select Enable Text Entry and choose Watch Apple TV Activity
  3. From your Apple TV, navigate to Settings > General > Bluetooth

This puts both the Harmony Hub and Apple TV in Bluetooth pairing mode. Within a few moments, the two will automatically connect, giving you control over your ATV via Bluetooth instead of through the IR blaster.

After connected, you can use the Harmony app to enter text, control the TV itself, and use swipe gestures during video/music playback.

In fact, you can even use this method to power the ATV on and off, as users have found issues when using IR. Everything else would work fine, but when trying to turn the system off, the Apple TV would be the final product turned on.

Try the beta and make sure the software is updated

tvOS 13 has been out for a few months now, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t still “broken”. Especially when it comes to those using a Harmony system, you will want to do one of the following:

Enroll in the tvOS Beta cycle:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple TV
  2. Select System
  3. Tap on Software Updates
  4. Scroll down and click on Get Beta Updates
  5. Follow on-screen instructions

From there, the beta software will download and install itself, so do not turn the Apple TV off during this time.

Check for a software update

Apple TV Software Update button

Update to the latest version of tvOS.
  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple TV
  2. Select System
  3. Tap on Software Updates
  4. Click on Update Software

If a software update is available, you will need to follow the on-screen instructions in order to update your Apple TV.

Can you use this with an Android phone to control your Apple TV?

Harmony and Android Device for Apple TV

The short answer here is yes and no. After setting up the Harmony app on your Android device and pairing it with the Apple TV, there’s a bit of a catch. For the time being, it seems that the Android Harmony app is lagging behind a bit, without actually providing “remote” access.

Use Harmony to “control” your Apple TV

  1. Open the Harmony app from your Android phone
  2. Select the Harmony remote and tap on Devices Add device
  3. Enter Apple under manufacturer and Apple TV under the model
  4. Tap the Sync icon in the top right-hand corner
  5. Select Sync Now

However, you can still use your Android phone for text input in a pinch. The obvious benefit to this is to be able to type entries better/faster than relying on the Harmony remote or the Siri Remote.

Instead, we would recommend finding an old iPod Touch or even iPhone 5 (or iPhone SE) to act as the remote. This will make the experience much smoother, and the iPod or old iPhone will serve as the dedicated remote for your Harmony/Apple TV system.

Conclusion

We are grateful that Apple makes it possible to use these different products with TV. This is especially true for those looking to get involved in the smart home lifestyle.

If you continue having issues with the Apple TV and Harmony system, let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to help!

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