Volume Not Working on Apple TV Remote? 12 Ways to Fix

The Apple TV series of streaming devices is hassle-free, but things can get buggy, especially when controlling things on your TV rather than the Apple TV.

From time to time, you may find that the volume buttons on your Siri Remote don’t do anything, so you have to look for your original TV remote or figure out where exactly the volume controls are on your TV. So stop looking through the cabinets and try some of these Apple TV troubleshooting tips.

The Different Remotes

At the time of writing, there are three remote designs for Apple TV devices, as you can see here. The layout for the remotes with the Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K looks the same and has a MENU button.

However, the new Apple TV 4K second and third-generation models have changed things. The glass touch interface is gone, replaced by a touch-sensitive circle and directional wheel. The most crucial difference is that the MENU button on the latest remotes has been changed to a Back button, represented by a left arrow.

So whenever we refer to the MENU or Back button below, remember that this is the same button.

1. Does It Happen in Every App?

Before we blame the remote itself, it’s a good idea to confirm that the volume controls aren’t working in different apps. Try it on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or whichever streaming services you subscribe to. If the volume control issue only happens in certain apps, check for updates or uninstall and then reinstall that app.

2. Restart Your Apple TV

Restarting the Apple TV clears up any number of random glitches. Hold the Back or MENU buttons simultaneously with the TV button to restart your device.

Keep holding these two buttons until the Apple TV indicator light blinks rapidly. Unplug the Apple TV from the wall when you see the light blinking. Wait at least five seconds, then plug it in again and power it on. You should see the Apple logo on your TV screen if the reboot is successful.

3. Restart Your Remote

You can restart the remote if restarting the Apple TV doesn’t do the trick. Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold the TV and volume down buttons simultaneously for about five seconds.
  1. Wait for the status light on your Apple TV to turn off and then on again.
  2. Release the buttons on the remote.
  3. Wait for the Connection Lost Notification to appear onscreen.
  4. Wait while the remote restarts.
  5. The remote is ready to use when you see the Connected notification.

After restarting the remote, try adjusting the volume again.

4. Check for Software Updates

Your Apple TV has to work with various brands (e.g., Samsung, Sony, or LG) and different models within that brand. If you have a new TV or the TV has recently received a firmware update, you may need to update Apple TV too.

Usually, your Apple TV will show a notification when a new update is ready, but you can manually check for one like this:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to System.
  3. Open Software Updates.
  4. If an update is available, you can select Download and Install.

Wait for the update process to complete, and then try using your volume buttons again.

5. Charge the Remote

If your remote’s battery is low, it may be acting up. Here’s how to check the battery level:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to Remotes and Devices.
  3. Check the remaining battery percentage.

Leave the remote connected to the charger for at least 30 minutes after checking its battery level and determining that it’s low.

6. Move Closer to The Apple TV

The Apple TV remote control uses Bluetooth to communicate with the box itself, but for some TV models, it uses IR (Infrared) to control TV functions such as adjusting the volume. Unfortunately, typical IR issues can prevent this from working correctly.

While Bluetooth will work from any practical distance you may be from the TV, IR can struggle to cover longer distances, especially in bright environments. Move closer to the TV and see whether your volume controls start working. If it works at closer distances, it may indicate that the IR signal isn’t strong enough to overcome distance or interference.

7. Clean the IR Sensors

Another IR-related issue is whether the sensors are obscured by dirt. Check the IR sensor on the TV and the transmitter on the remote to make sure dust or other foreign matter isn’t blocking the signal. Remember that Bluetooth will be unaffected by this, which might explain why only volume doesn’t work or works intermittently.

8. Enable HDMI-CEC

HDMI-CEC is a technology that allows a device like an Apple TV or Apple TV 4K to control your TV directly. It takes advantage of the bi-directional communication on an HDMI cable.

If your TV supports HDMI-CEC, you should also turn it on and ensure it’s enabled on your Apple TV. This also bypasses any IR-related problems since the Apple TV is sending commands to the TV over HDMI after receiving a Bluetooth signal from the remote.

Apart from controlling your TV’s volume, HDMI-CEC also lets the Apple TV turn your TV on or off. You’ll have to consult its manual to enable the feature on your TV. Some TVs call the feature HDMI-CEC, but others may use a name that includes the term “link” somewhere.

To ensure that HDMI-CEC is activated on your Apple TV, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Control TVs and Receivers and check that the setting is active. Then try the volume controls again.

9. Use an iPhone or iPad As a Remote

If you have an iPhone or iPad on the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV and on the same Apple ID, you can use it as a remote control thanks to the Apple TV Remote app.

Whether in iOS or iPadOS, simply swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to reveal the Control Center, then look for the remote icon and select it.

Now you have full remote functionality on your device’s touch screen. Try to use the virtual volume controls to see if they work. If the volume controls on the virtual remote work, but the physical buttons don’t, there may be other problems.

10. Pair Your Remote Again

If restarting your remote isn’t effective, you can try pairing the remote with the Apple TV again:

  1. Turn your Apple TV on and make sure you can see the Home screen on your TV.
  2. Point your remote at the Apple TV and bring it within three inches of the device.
  3. Press and hold the Back or Menu button and the volume up button for five seconds.
  1. If asked, put your remote on top of the Apple TV.

If the remote fails to sync, check that you have the latest version of tvOS. Remember that you can use an iPhone or iPad as a temporary remote if your Siri Remote isn’t usable for any reason.

11. Try Another Remote

If you have multiple Apple TVs or have a friend willing to lend you their remote, one final check you can do is to use a different remote. If the other remote doesn’t work either, the issue must be with the Apple TV, your TV, or a specific combination of both. You may want to consider a factory reset of your Apple TV and carefully check all the settings on the TV and Apple TV box to ensure it looks right.

Likewise, you can take your remote and try to use it with another Apple TV; if the volume control problem follows the remote, it means there’s something wrong with the remote itself.

12. Take Your Remote to Apple Support (Or Buy A New one)

If you’re 100% sure your remote is the issue, you can take it back to Apple for a warranty replacement. Repairing an Apple TV remote is rarely worth it, so if there’s no warranty option left, you’re best off buying a replacement remote.

The good news is that the latest Siri remote model is backward compatible with older Apple TV devices, so you can get a nice upgrade to soften the blow of having to replace the remote. However, you may not have all the functionality the new remote offers.

DOFAS Tech Enthusiasts, Power Users, Gamers

Back to top button