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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 months ago
I had no idea there was so much hate for the normal remote.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 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 Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:17 am PDT by
Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur. When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ...