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

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


Users say Disney Plus and HBO Max are ignoring its useful features

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Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Users are complaining that the Disney Plus and HBO Max Apple TV apps aren’t properly supporting the excellent new Siri Remote. Disney Plus has yet to be updated to make use of the remote’s helpful scroll wheel scrubbing feature, which works on rival Netflix and Apple TV Plus apps. The HBO Max app has more issues, Screen Times reports, and lacks support for several of the remote’s features and voice commands. 

When we tried the HBO Max app for ourselves, we found 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 an element of the remote you’re supposed to be able to disable. Scrubbing using the touchpad works, just very badly. The cause of these problems appears to be a recent app update, which replaced the standard tvOS playback UI with HBO’s own (and apparently far less capable) version.

It just goes to show that a platform holder can build a powerful combination of hardware and software in support of third-party apps and services, but it doesn’t mean anything unless those same apps and services actually bother 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.