Being a fantastic virtual home assistant, Alexa is able to help in many ways that make life easier and ‘smarter’ for users around the world. Numerous different smart devices can be linked with Alexa and used controlled through it. And, as part of a smart home, one may expect Alexa to control a smart TV- they are essential to almost every home.
This brings us to the question of whether Alexa can control Apple TVs or not.
Alexa can surely control Apple TV but not directly. Alexa can be connected to smart TVs using the Bluetooth feature; however, you won’t be able to access your smart TV fully through this connection. The best option is to get a Harmony Hub remote that you can initially link your Alexa with, then set up your Apple TV with the said remote.
Let’s take a detailed look at this process and see how it can be done!
There is no specific Amazon Echo device that is known to work best with Apple TVs. When creating a direct connection, Bluetooth is used, which operates the same way for all models. When creating an indirect connection, a Harmony Hub is used, which also tends to work the same way with every model.
Hence, it is safe to assume that the model of your Amazon Echo device does not usually determine its compatibility with an Apple TV. To maintain a secure connection between Alexa and your Apple TV, you should check in with the Harmony Device and its links.
Yes, an Amazon Echo Dot can connect with Apple TV through Bluetooth now. This feature was not available before, but now users can link their Echo Dots and other Alexa-enabled Echo speakers with Apple TVs. However, only a few actions can take place via voice commands to Alexa. You can only pause, play and control the volume on your TV.
Another way to connect the two would be using a Harmony Hub, allowing you to access more features via voice commands.
Connecting an Echo Dot or any other Alexa-enabled Echo speaker with Apple TV may at times reap limited benefits but still not be completely useless. Users around the globe have suggested (and I have tried and tested) two ways you can go about this: use Bluetooth or use a Harmony Hub.
Using Bluetooth to connect Echo Dot with Apple TV
This is a straightforward and basic approach but allows limited features to be used via Alexa- pause, play, and volume control. Here is what you need to do:
- Command Alexa to turn Bluetooth on and go into pairing mode.
- Access the settings on your Apple TV.
- Connect your Apple TV with your Echo speaker.
You are good to go! However, it must be noted that pairing with Bluetooth is not always as easy as it may seem. Users can access only limited features with a Bluetooth connection. To overcome these issues, you can use a Harmony Hub.
Also check out this article on playing SoundCloud on Alexa!
Using a Harmony Hub to connect Alexa with Apple TV
Amazon Alexa is compatible with numerous hub devices, including a Harmony Hub. Connecting via a Harmony Hub can be a long and relatively complex procedure, but I think it goes a long way and allows you to use more features on your TV using voice commands. There are some things you will need to prepare for this. You will need:
- An Amazon Echo device
- A smart device (phone or tablet) connected to your Apple TV
- A stable Wi-Fi network
- A Harmony Hub (and an application from the App Store or Google Play Store)
- An active Amazon account
Now, here is what you need to do:
- Set your Harmony Hub into ‘Discoverable Mode.’
- Link your Alexa and Harmony Hub accounts.
- Make sure your Apple TV is connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
- Open your Harmony Hub application and go to the ‘Menu’ from the top left corner.
- Go to ‘Harmony Setup’ from the drop-down menu.
- Tap on the ‘Add/Edit Devices’ option.
- Choose ‘Devices’ and then ‘Add Devices’ from the option visible at the lower end of your screen.
- Tap on ‘Scan for Wi-Fi Devices.’ This allows Harmony to search for your Apple TV and connect it to the hub. You may be asked to enter your Apple TV account information at this point.
- You can create ‘Activities’ following the prompts that appear on your screen after you click ‘Yes’ when asked about initiating the process.
These activities will help you control your Apple TV using Alexa via the Harmony Hub. You can set them up to turn your TV on or perform other functions.
After setting up a connection between Alexa and your Apple TV using a Harmony Hub, you can use Alexa commands to control your TV. Here is an example of how you can turn your Apple TV on using Alexa. This is what you need to do:
- Access your Alexa application on your smart device (phone or tablet).
- Tap on the menu on the top left corner of the home screen.
- Select ‘Routines’ and then the ‘+’ sign to add a new one.
- Again tap on the ‘+’ button visible near the area with the text ‘When this happens.’
- Tap on ‘Voice’ to enter a trigger phrase of your choice to start your Alexa routine.
Note: Do not use any punctuation at the end of your phrase.
- Go to the ‘Add Action’ menu and tap on the ‘+’ button to add the action you want to be associated with your trigger phrase.
- Click on ‘Smart Home.’
- Tap on ‘Control Device’ and scroll down to find your Harmony Hub device.
You are good to go! This way, you can set up routines of your choice to use the Harmony Hub to perform any action via voice commands. Setting up commands following this method can be time-consuming, but it will be saved and go a long way once done.
Many users face different issues while controlling Apple TV with Alexa via either Bluetooth or using a Harmony Hub device. For your ease, I have researched and listed down the two most common issues and their fixes to help.
Alexa not turning on Apple TV via Harmony Hub
Connection via the Harmony Hub is meant to allow users to have a greater extent of control over their Apple TV via voice commands. However, some users face issues in turning their Apple TV on even when the Harmony Hub is used. All settings are how they should be, yet the Apple TV would not turn on.
When facing this issue, a response highlighting the existence of some kind of ‘profiling issues’ with the Apple TV would show up. Fixing this issue is easier than you may think. Many users go through a series of troubleshooting techniques but fail and give up. Here is what you need to do:
- Open your Alexa application.
- Go to the settings.
- Then to the device list.
- Go to the ‘Scenes’ section.
- Clear out all instances of Apple TV from this section.
- Disable and enable the Harmony skill.
And, done! You can now turn on your Apple TV using the Harmony Hub with a voice command.
Alexa not connecting
The easiest and quickest fix when your Alexa is not connecting to the Harmony Hub device is to restart your Alexa device. This usually does the trick. If not, you can reset the Wi-Fi settings on your Alexa device to forget the network and reconnect to your Wi-Fi connection. Here is how you can do this:
- Access the Amazon website and log into your account.
- Go to ‘Account’ and then ‘Settings.’
- Scroll down and tap on ‘Your Content and Devices.’
- Go to ‘Manage your Content and Devices.’
- Towards the right, you will see ‘Settings.’ Open that.
- Access the list labeled ‘Saved Wi-Fi Passwords’ and find your Wi-Fi network.
- To forget this network, click ‘Delete.’
Now you can reconnect your Alexa device to your Wi-Fi network. This will most probably fix the issue of your Alexa not connecting.
You cannot control some features with Alexa when you are connected to your Apple TV via Bluetooth or a Harmony Hub. Let’s take a look.
Connecting via Bluetooth
What you can do:
- Control Volume
What you cannot do:
All other features, including FWD (forward) and RWD (rewind), cannot be controlled when connected to Apple TV via Bluetooth.
Connecting via Harmony Hub
What you can do:
Basic controls like turning your Apple TV on or off and switching to a specific category of channels (for example, sports) can be performed when connected via the Harmony Hub. An activity will need to be set up for each voice command, though.
What you cannot do:
The full range of features cannot be accessed, and the TV application will have to be used for more complex controls.
As with a few other smart devices, you can work your way around when trying to connect Alexa to your Apple TV. A direct approach does not work, but the indirect one using a Harmony Hub can go a long way for you! Many users, including myself, find this integration quite convenient when using an Apple TV. Moreover, you can use the Harmony Hub to connect other smart devices as well. It might just prove to be a valuable addition to your smart home!