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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
7 months ago
I hope now that Ive is gone someone will wisen up and make a remote that doesn't suck.
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago


Shut up and take my money!

I'm with you dude. I HATE the Apple TV Remote. After going all-in on Apple, by far the Apple TV Remote is Apple's WORST product. I have other "issues" with the Apple TV, but it all starts with the remote.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
Just because Apple didn't "invent" it is no excuse; heck, just give the Salt company a fistful of dollars and license it at least; sell it as an overpriced accessory in the Apple Store. People will buy it.

Not all of Jony Ivie's designs are worthy of keeping around.... the butterfly keyboard, the trashcan Mac Pro, the MacBook with one USB-C port (!) .... sometimes you wonder if anyone at Apple actually tries any of their products outside of their UFO.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
I was super excited about this until I saw the limitations.

Why can’t somebody just make a version of this that still has a microphone with Siri and the normal Home button?

Why can’t frickin’ Apple just do this?

God this company is so bloody annoying.
Get over yourselves and make some stuff that is actually well designed for human usability.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
I had no idea there was so much hate for the normal remote.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
No Siri :(

Most TV remotes already work with Apple TV (but not Siri), so we're not missing anything that Salt is providing. Great point about closing out apps... Guess the perfect remote would be a taller version of the current Siri Remote with the old navigation keypad right below the touch pad.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Warns Against Closing MacBooks With a Cover Over the Camera

Friday July 10, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
Apple this month published a support document that warns customers against closing their Mac notebooks with a cover over the camera as it can lead to display damage. Image via Reddit Apple says that the clearance between the display and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances, which can be problematic. Covering the camera can also cause issues with automatic brightness and True Tone....

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 Pro' to Come With 6GB of RAM

Friday July 10, 2020 1:59 am PDT by
Later this year, Apple is expected to release four OLED iPhones in three display sizes, including 5.4, 6.7, and two 6.1-inch models. Rumors suggest the 6.7-inch iPhone and one 6.1-inch model will be higher-end devices, and now leaker @L0vetodream has corroborated previous rumors about the internal specs of Apple's upcoming lineup. Rumors suggest Apple will use 5-nanometer A14 chips in its...

Apple Moving Forward on Semitransparent Lenses for Upcoming AR Headset

Friday July 10, 2020 7:24 am PDT by
Apple and Foxconn have reached a key milestone in the development of Apple's long-rumored augmented reality headset, with the semitransparent lenses for the device moving from prototype to trial production, reports The Information. Apple is developing the lenses on a single production line at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu in southwestern China, where most of Apple’s iPad production is...

Kuo: Apple Silicon Macs to Include 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air This Year, 14.1-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro Models Next Year

Friday July 10, 2020 2:58 am PDT by
At last month's WWDC, Apple officially announced that its Mac computers will be transitioned from Intel x86 to homegrown Apple Silicon chips. Apple said it plans to deliver the first Apple Silicon Mac by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a form factor similar to the current 13.3-inch...

Arm-Intel-PowerPC Universal Binaries Are Possible

Saturday July 11, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
Casual MacRumors visitors may not realize that we have a very active PowerPC forum where users discuss issues related to PowerPC Macs that have not been produced since 2006. Threads range from hardware upgrades and software options to nostalgia: Photo by AphoticD Apple's recently announced transition to Apple Silicon (Arm) based Macs raised some interesting questions about future support...

iPhone 12 Sizes Compared with iPhone SE, 7, 8, SE 2, X, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max [Update]

Tuesday July 7, 2020 6:49 pm PDT by
Apple is planning on launching the iPhone 12 this fall which is rumored to be coming in 3 different sizes: 5.4", 6.1" and 6.7". The middle size (6.1") matches up with the currently shipping iPhone 11, but the other two sizes will be entirely new. Over the weekend, there was some excitement about how well the new 5.4" iPhone 12 compares to the original iPhone SE. Those who have been hoping...

Tom Hanks WWII Movie 'Greyhound' Debuts on Apple TV+

Friday July 10, 2020 3:33 am PDT by
Apple TV+ today debuted "Greyhound," the highly anticipated Second World War movie starring Tom Hanks as a naval officer given command of Navy destroyer Greyhound in the Battle of the Atlantic. "Greyhound" features Hanks as George Krause, who must fight his own self doubts and personal demons as he leads a convoy of Allied ships against German U-boats to prove that he belongs in command. ...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Public Beta, iPhone 12 Size Comparison, 14-Inch MacBook Pro Rumors

Saturday July 11, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
After one round of developer beta testing, Apple unleashed iOS and iPadOS 14 to a wider audience this week, opening it up to members of the public beta program. There are lots of changes and new features to check out, but as with any beta, be careful about installing it on your main devices. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other major stories this week included our ...

Hands-On With tvOS 14: Picture in Picture, 4K YouTube, HomeKit and More

Thursday July 9, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple at WWDC introduced a new version of tvOS, the software that's designed to run on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS updates are often more minor in scale than iOS, watchOS, and macOS updates, but tvOS 14 has some useful new features. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple in tvOS 13 introduced a Picture in Picture option for the Apple TV...

Apple CEO Tim Cook's 2019 Compensation Totaled Over $133 Million

Friday July 10, 2020 12:01 pm PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook was the second highest paid CEO in the United States in 2019, according to Bloomberg's list of the highest paid CEOs and executives in 2019. Cook received compensation totaling $133,727,869 by Bloomberg's count. Almost all of Cook's compensation was provided in the form of stock awards and related performance bonuses. As reported by the SEC earlier this year, Cook received ...