How to Control Apple TV and iTunes With Your Apple Watch

By Marc Saltzman

Of course, you know your fancy schmancy new Apple Watch can control your iPhone wirelessly, such as playing music or snapping the shutter on your iPhone’s camera, but it can also let you manage your Apple TV box connected to your TV and your iTunes software installed on a Windows PC or Mac.

With the latter, the Remote app lets you play back content on your computer, as if it were at TV, as long as the media is in your iTunes library. Put that mouse away and start controlling iTunes from your wrist. Or maybe you’re cooking in the other room and you want to change music pumping from the speaker? No need to physically go to your laptop or desktop.

Before you can control iTunes or Apple TV, though, you first need to set up Home Sharing in iTunes and sign in with your Apple ID.

To set up Home Sharing in iTunes, follow these steps:

  1. Download the free Remote app from the App Store.

  2. On your computer, open up iTunes and click the little rectangular icon in the very top-left corner of the screen.

  3. Click Preferences.

    A number of tabs appear across the top of this Preferences window.

  4. Click the blue Sharing tab and select what media you’d like to share via Home Sharing.

    Options include Music, Movies, Home Videos, TV Shows, Podcasts, iTunes U, Books, Purchased, and others.

  5. Now connect your devices, such as iPad and iPhone, to your home Wi-Fi network and then sign in to Home Sharing via the Remote app.

    Home Sharing is now enabled on iTunes.

Apple TV

To control Apple TV from your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Digital Crown button to go to the Home screen.

  2. Tap the Remote app.

    You can also raise your wrist and say “Hey, Siri, Remote.” Either action launches the Remote app. You’re presented with two options: Apple TV and iTunes.

  3. Select Apple TV if you own one of these media boxes and it’s attached to your TV.

    As long as your iPhone and Apple TV box are joined to the same wireless (Wi-Fi) network at home or work, you can access your Apple TV as if your Apple Watch were that small remote control that comes with it. (You can also control Apple TV with the Remote app for iOS — for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad — if you’d like to.)

  4. Tap one of the four arrows on the watch — Up, Down, Right, or Left — to navigate Apple TV’s menus.

    No more reaching for the hardware remote or phone or tablet; controlling your media can now be done with a tap on your wrist.

  5. Tap the center Play/Pause button to stop and start your media at your convenience.

    You’re at home, with your feet up on the coffee table, and you’re enjoying a bit of Netflix on your big screen — until your dog brings you a leash in its mouth (and with those sad eyes). Tap the center of your Apple Watch and take your pup for a walk.

  6. Press the Digital Crown button to return to the Home screen.

    And don’t forget to turn off your TV and Apple TV box if you’re done. Don’t waste power and money.


To control iTunes from your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Digital Crown button to go to the Home screen.

  2. Tap the Remote app.

    You can also raise your wrist and say “Hey, Siri, Remote.” Either action launches the Remote app.

  3. Inside the app, tap iTunes.

    You’re prompted to type in a four-digit code to access your iTunes library. And remember, you need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac or Windows PC and be signed into Home Sharing in iTunes.

  4. Swipe around the Apple Watch screen to access the library of content on iTunes and then select something to play.

    The Remote app lets you control your iTunes library from anywhere in your home. Fast-forward, pause, or skip back a track or two. Choose a song, shuffle an album, or select a custom playlist. And if your Mac or PC is sleeping, opening the Remote app wakes it up.