Latest Apple TV beta adds search via the remote’s Siri butto…

The Siri button as seen on the Apple TV remote.
Phil Nickinson/

The Apple TV 4K is still the best streaming device you can buy, but there’s one button on the remote I purposely never press. But that’s about to change eventually.

In the latest developer beta for the tvOS platform, Apple has added a little functionality to the Siri button on the side of the Siri Voice Remote. (That’s the little button on the right with a microphone on it.) In production software – that is, what most people are running these days – clicking the button activates Siri, basically the same way it would on your phone. Was . Say “Ted Lasso” and it will take you straight in ted lasso Show on Apple TV+ in the Apple TV app on your Apple TV 4K. Say “Opeth” and it will start playing Opeth on Apple Music.

(This term, by the way, comes from my repeated reminders to Apple to use the same name for the premium streaming service, and the same name for the app in which that service exists, and the same name for the hardware.) Both of these things, you’ll find, are particularly silly.)

A new search feature on Apple TV 4K.
Pressing the Siri button on the remote now opens a search box in some apps. Phil Nickinson/

But in the latest developer beta – which is by no means final software and is subject to change – pressing the button once opens a search box on your television screen, and activates the microphone. You’re encouraged to speak your query, which will then see results on supported apps, and then you choose where to go from there.

At the moment, it’s no surprise that things are largely contained within Apple’s apps. It all works from the home screen and appears to search across multiple apps – “Search movies, shows and more,” it says. It works within the Apple TV app and invites you to “Find a TV.” Pressing it in the Apple Music app invites you to “Search Music.” Pressing it into YouTube TV or Hulu does nothing. This is no surprise, considering that this feature is part of the developer beta and not in the release software. (It also doesn’t work in Photos, Podcasts, or Arcade yet.)

By the way, long pressing the microphone button still activates Siri in all apps as before.

Again, this is all subject to change. (And I’m wondering if Apple will change the microphone button on the remote to a search button.) But for now? This is a fun little addition to go along with the beta changes to the Apple TV app.

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