Apple’s new remote is great, but only if apps support it properly


Users are complaining that the Apple TV apps Disney Plus and HBO Max don’t support the excellent new Siri Remote well. Disney Plus has yet to be updated to take advantage of the remote’s handy scroll wheel scrubber function, which works on rival Netflix and Apple TV Plus apps. The HBO Max app has more problems, screen times reports, and does not support various functions and voice commands of the remote control.

When we tried the HBO Max app ourselves, we found that it doesn’t seem to support the new remote’s D-pad. Instead, we could only use the remote’s touchpad circle, which is technically a part of the remote that you should be able to disable. Scrubbing with the touchpad works, just very poorly. The root of these issues appears to be a recent app update, which replaced the default tvOS display UI with HBO’s own (and apparently much less capable) version.

It just goes to show that a platform holder can build a powerful combination of hardware and software to support third-party apps and services, but it means nothing unless those same apps and services actually make the effort to add support. We’ve reached out to both Disney Plus and HBO Max to see if they’re aware of the issues and to find out when users can expect a fix.