Hands-On With Salt’s Apple TV Remote Replacement

The Apple TV 4K is a fantastic little set-top box that has an easy-to-use interface, an App Store, and options to watch all kinds of content, but there's one major flaw with the device - the Siri Remote.

Apple unveiled its ‌Siri‌ (or ‌Apple TV‌) Remote with touch surface in 2015 alongside the fourth-generation ‌Apple TV‌, and it's never been a particularly popular accessory. With that in mind, Swiss company Salt created an alternative ‌Apple TV‌ Remote, which we managed to get our hands on.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Salt is a Swiss telecommunications company that offers the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K in a broadband TV bundle for its customers. There's no way to order this remote in the United States or countries other than Switzerland - it's designed only for Salt customers.

According to Salt, the Salt Remote was designed in close collaboration with Apple after the Salt TV customer base complained about the poor usability of the default remote that comes with the ‌Apple TV‌.


Available for just under 20 Swiss francs, the Salt Remote looks more like a traditional remote than Apple's version, and it's made from a simple black plastic with buttons for controlling multiple functions.

It is designed to connect to the ‌Apple TV‌ out of the box and requires no pairing to set up. It's both wider and longer than the ‌Siri‌ Remote, so it's harder to lose, which is probably a good thing for most people given how easy it is to misplace the ‌Siri‌ Remote.


Unlike the ‌Siri‌ Remote, the Salt Remote has no touch interface on the front, offering buttons as an alternative. On the ‌Siri‌ Remote, the touch surface replaces directional arrows and there are limited physical buttons available.

Salt's remote features directional arrows for navigation purposes, volume controls, multiple media controls with play/pause, rewind, and fast forward, a mute button, a menu button, and a power button. All of the buttons are responsive and easy to use.

There is no microphone button for activating ‌Siri‌ because ‌Siri‌ is not an available ‌Apple TV‌ function on the ‌Apple TV‌ set-top boxes in Switzerland. Anyone who uses the current ‌Apple TV‌ remote with ‌Siri‌ for searching for content will definitely notice the lack of a ‌Siri‌ button.


There's also no Home button available on the Salt remote. On Apple's version, the Home button lets you get to the Home screen quickly and access the app switcher to close out apps or swap between apps. Holding down the menu button on the Salt Remote brings you to the Home screen of the ‌Apple TV‌, but there's no way to replicate the other missing Home button functionality.

Given that this is an inexpensive remote option, it is powered with two triple A batteries that need to be replaced every six months on average, but that's a minor inconvenience.

All in all, the Salt Remote is clean, simple to use, and has no fiddly touch interface to deal with. Unfortunately, given that this is developed by a Swiss company, it is unlikely to come to the United States or other countries.

Apple may have allowed an alternative remote for one telecom, but it's doubtful that Apple would allow the ‌Siri‌ Remote to be replaced in all countries. It's possible that we could, however, see a new ‌Siri‌ Remote design at some point when Apple releases an updated ‌Apple TV‌.

What do you think of the Salt Remote? Let us know in the comments.


This article, "Hands-On With Salt's Apple TV Remote Replacement" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Swiss Fiber TV Service ‘Salt’ Launches Alternative Apple TV 4K Remote Control for Frustrated Customers

Swiss telco Salt, which includes an Apple TV 4K in its domestic broadband TV bundle, has today launched an "alternative" bespoke ‌Apple TV‌ remote control for users of its 250+ channel television service.


Costing just under 20 Swiss francs, the optional remote was reportedly developed in close collaboration with Apple, after a sizable section of Salt TV's customer base apparently complained about the poor usability of the Apple Remote that comes with every ‌Apple TV‌ 4K.

Thanks to Apple's input, the alternative remote doesn't require any pairing with ‌Apple TV‌ and works out of the box. It includes directional arrows in place of the Siri Remote's glass Touch surface, a power button in addition to a Menu button, along with separate volume and channel rockers and traditional media playback buttons.

There's no microphone button in evidence, presumably because ‌Siri‌ on ‌Apple TV‌ isn't officially available in Switzerland, and there's no numerical channel buttons because tvOS doesn't support the function. Otherwise, it resembles a standard TV remote that should be more amenable to Salt TV's users, who can also look forward to an updated Salt TV app interface on ‌Apple TV‌.

It's unclear if this is a one-off ‌Apple TV‌ hardware collaboration between Apple and a regional third-party, although having said that, Apple recently made Microsoft and Sony controllers compatible with tvOS and iOS, so maybe this indicates a new trend.

Either way, Apple has obviously listened to feedback and decided its ‌Siri‌ Remote isn't the most optimal design for enjoying multi-channel TV navigation after all. The alternative remote control for Salt TV can be set up to work with almost all standard TV sets, and is available to order on the Salt online store.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 13
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

This article, "Swiss Fiber TV Service 'Salt' Launches Alternative Apple TV 4K Remote Control for Frustrated Customers" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums