The Apple TV 4K's new Siri remote has a flaw that you might not even realize. I should know, I've just written about my own pet peeve regarding the remote — its lack of a dedicated home button, which you can sort of fix by remapping the TV button.
But a new Apple TV Siri remote case has me thinking about another flaw in the remote, and one I hope Apple fixes sooner (rather than later). Because, while this new remote is a pretty good upgrade over its previous clicker, it lacks a feature that Apple's already mastered elsewhere, and one that Roku's offered on the much cheaper Roku Ultra ($99 to the Apple TV 4K's $179).
So what's so interesting about this Apple TV remote case? Well, it's not about protecting your remote. The Apple TV remote is a mighty solid and strong piece of machined metal. The Elago R5 Apple remote case, at $15 on Amazon, is meant to solve the one problem that has eternally plagued remotes: when they get lost.
The Elago R5 may be the Apple TV accessory you need
Beyond my nit-picking over the buttons on the Apple TV Siri remote, the more universal issue with this sliver of metal is how it's very easily lost. This has led to a cottage industry of Apple TV remote cases with slots for AirTags, those possibly-too-good device locator pucks?
I never bought an AirTag before, mostly because I haven't ventured outside much during the past two-plus years, and that may be why I hadn't heard about these cases until my colleague Kate Kozuch brought them to my attention. So, I reached out to Elago to see if I could get a sample of the R5, as that was the case recommended to me.
And so when I received the case and tested it around the house (I often have left the remote in a different room, at my desk as I wrote this article), I was pleasantly pleased. Not only do the remote and AirTag slide in pretty easily (the former takes a little more time, as this case is a snug rubberized skin), but it does its job twice over.
Not only is the FindMy app very good at tracking down the AirTag (and, hence the remote), the remote case also makes the Apple TV remote notably thicker. Yes, the Apple TV remote on its own may be only 0.3 inches thick, but the Elago R5 bumps it up to 0.8 inches at its thickest point. This means that the Apple TV remote is much harder to actually lose, and less likely to slide between the cracks of my sofa. Plus, its tail-like wrist strap makes it easier to see.
That said, when I started using the remote to watch TV, I noticed one issue with the Elago R5.
The two reasons to skip this Apple TV remote case
At $15 on Amazon, the Elago R5 Apple remote case, is almost too cheap to say no to — especially if you already own an AirTag ($29 on Amazon). That said, I don't like how the rubber of the case comes very close to the directional-button/touchpad circle at the top of the remote. I'm slowly getting used to it. but it's slightly annoying.
The other reason why I feel like you might not want this case? Well, it goes back to the aforementioned thickness. While this looks like the best Apple TV remote case out there, it does make the thing demonstrably chunkier. No judgement, I'm still working off my pandemic pounds too. But that might not be a trade-off you want.
Apple needs to add FindMy tracking to the remote
Apple could make an Apple TV remote with a built-in AirTag, and since you recharge the remote, the AirTag's 1-year lifespan would likely be a non-issue. But what about the people who already own the remote?
You know how the Apple TV remote has that Lightning port for charging it? What if Apple just made a new kind of AirTag that just snapped onto that port? It would need that signature Cupertino design touch to fit right and not fall off, but I think the Apple TV team is ready for a new challenge.