Hands-On With the Button Remote, a Siri Remote Alternative for Apple TV

Apple's default Siri Remote for the Apple TV has never been particularly popular with users due to its small size and fiddly controls, which has prompted third-party companies to make alternative options.


Last year we took a look at the Salt Remote, and now Function101 has come out with an alternate ‌Apple TV‌ remote that we thought we'd check out to see if it's better than what Apple offers.

The Button Remote from Function101 is priced at $30, which isn't too bad if you have a broken ‌Siri‌ Remote or are just fed up with using it (note that ‌Siri‌ Remote is used in countries where ‌Siri‌ is available on ‌Apple TV‌ - in others, it's the same design, but without a ‌Siri‌ button and it's called the ‌Apple TV‌ remote).

function101remote2
Function101's remote is a lot easier to find than the Salt Remote, which was only sold in Switzerland. The Button Remote is available in the U.S. and can be purchased online.

Design wise, the Button Remote is bigger, thicker, and provides more physical buttons than the ‌Siri‌ Remote, which is largely touch based. The larger design means it's less likely to slip in between couch cushions or otherwise disappear.

function101remote3
It can be difficult to navigate with the touchpad on the ‌Siri‌ Remote, a problem that's solved with the Button Remote because it uses directional buttons for navigation instead of Apple's swipes.

Because the Button Remote uses IR to control the ‌Apple TV‌, it needs a direct line of sight to the box. If you have your ‌Apple TV‌ behind a TV or otherwise situated out of sight, the Button Remote won't work, which is one negative.

The physical buttons work well enough. There are directional arrows for navigating, an OK button for selecting items, a menu button for going back to the previous screen (hold it down to go to the Home Screen), volume buttons, and media playback controls.

Skipping forwards or backwards 10 seconds with the Button Remote is a major improvement over the ‌Siri‌ Remote that requires pressing at the edge of the touchpad. The Button Remote has specific buttons for fast-forwarding or rewinding content, which is a plus.

function101remote4
Of course, there's one major button missing that may be a dealbreaker based on how you use your ‌Apple TV‌ - there's no ‌Siri‌ button. If you regularly ask ‌Siri‌ to find content on the ‌Apple TV‌ or otherwise take advantage of the personal assistant, you will have no way to do that on the Button Remote.

You could use the ‌Siri‌ Remote alongside the Button Remote, or use the Remote app on an iPhone when you need to access ‌Siri‌, but it will be more of a hassle than just having a ‌Siri‌ button readily available. For those who don't use ‌Siri‌, or in countries where ‌Siri‌ is not available, the lack of a ‌Siri‌ button won't matter.

The Button Remote operates on two AAA batteries like many other remotes on the market, and it does not need to be charged like the ‌Siri‌ Remote.

Though it doesn't replicate everything the ‌Siri‌ Remote can do, the Button Remote is worth checking out for those who are looking for an alternative. Let us know what you think of the remote in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

nutmac Avatar
12 months ago
Function101 remote disadvantages:

* No Bluetooth (uses IrDA instead)
* No rechargeable battery (two AAA instead)
* No Apple TV app/Home button
* No Siri button and microphones
* Cheap plastic build

Fumction101 remote advantages:

* Dedicated 10-second rewind/forward, stop, previous/next buttons
* Dedicated power and mute buttons
* Larger and more ergonomic
* Probably more durable
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FaustsHausUK Avatar
12 months ago
This remote, but with Bluetooth connectivity, would be a no-brainer for me. Here’s hoping there’s a second generation.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TVreporter Avatar
12 months ago
Darn... for a fluttering second I thought it was a post of the new Apple TV.

This long wait has been painful.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kuwxman Avatar
12 months ago
The free Apple Remote app is a serious replacement contender too, for those that haven't downloaded the app. I honestly use it more than the Siri Remote. It has cons too like not being able to change the volume, but being able to copy/paste long passwords in or using the app with multiple AppleTVs are big pros IMO. Otherwise, it can do the same thing the physical remote can.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vertical smile Avatar
12 months ago

The Button Remote from Function101 is priced at $30, which isn't too bad if you have a broken Siri Remote or are just fed up with using it (note that Siri Remote is used in countries where Siri is available on Apple TV - in others, it's the same design, but without a Siri button and it's called the Apple TV remote).
While $30 isn't much, the Apple TV's Remote Learning Feature has been around since the first gen ATV, and can learn the button presses of any IR remote, such as TV remotes, receiver remotes, DVD player remotes, it even works with an iRobot Roomba remote.

It can learn all the buttons in just a few seconds, and best of all, it is free.

You can use your TV's remote and just have one remote for both TV and ATV.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DTphonehome Avatar
12 months ago
Apple had better redesign the remote on the next gen. Worst Apple design since the hockey puck mouse.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...
iPad Pro Feature Magenta

Mac Otakara: iPad Air 5 to Feature iPad Pro-Like Design, No Design Changes Coming to iPad Mini 6 or iPad 9

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:06 am PDT by
The next-generation iPad Air will feature a design that's similar to the third-generation iPad Pro, according to Japanese site Mac Otakara. Citing a Chinese supplier, the site says that the fifth-generation iPad Air will continue to feature a 10.9-inch display and a Touch ID button on the side, but it will gain a dual-lens camera system with Wide and Ultra Wide cameras. A LiDAR Scanner is ...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...