The evolution of remote controls, particularly LG’s Magic Remote, marks a notable advancement in TV control technology. Combining an infrared transmitter and Bluetooth, it offers versatile control options. A vital feature of the remote is its “horoscope” technology, which uses spatial tracking to control the on-screen pointer. Once paired with the TV, it uses mainly Bluetooth to send commands, reducing the need to point the remote directly at the TV, although the infrared signal is still used to turn on the TV. In 2021, the Magic Remote was redesigned, and the purpose of the buttons changed slightly. In 2021-2023, the buttons on the Magic Remote perform multiple functions depending on when they are pressed, increasing efficiency while maintaining usability.

LG TV remote buttons explained

These remote controls, namely models AN-MR21, AN-MR22, and AN-MR23, have a structured layout designed for intuitive control of the TV:

  1. Backlit power button: This button is located at the top and features a red backlight. When pressed, the backlight confirms the remote’s operating status.
  2. Center Module: Located in the center of the remote, this module plays a critical role in navigation. It includes a control circle with direction keys (up, down, left, right) and a center wheel. The wheel facilitates quick pointer movement or vertical scrolling of the screen, while the press function confirms the selection.
  3. Number buttons (0-9): These buttons allow channel navigation and can be programmed to access specific commands for quick access.
  4. Quick access to streaming services: These buttons provide direct access. The list of streaming services varies depending on the region in which the TV is sold.
  5. Voice Assistant Buttons: These are dedicated buttons for activating voice assistants, making interacting with the TV’s innovative features easier.

The image below shows the location and functionality of each button on the AN-MR21, AN-MR22, AN-MR23 and AN-MR24 remote controls.

Buttons on LG Magic remote AN-MR21, AN-MR22, AN-MR23

A complete guide to the functionality of the Magic AN-MR21, AN-MR22 AN-MR23 and AN-MR24 remote control buttons.

  1. Power Button: Used to turn the TV on and off, it has a built-in LED that flashes when any button is pressed, signaling remote control operation and command transmission.
  2. Numeric buttons (0-9): For entering numbers. A long press on these buttons can bring up a programmed signal source or application (programmable via Quick Access). When watching TV, they are used to select a channel. Double-tapping “9” accesses Quick Help.
  3. -/List Button: When pressed briefly, a dash is entered (e.g. for channel 1-5). A 1-2 second press accesses stored channels or programs, and a longer press opens the TV program guide.
  4. 0/Fast Access: A long press on “0” allows you to program buttons 1-8 for quick access to applications or sources. Button 9 is programmed for quick access to the Assistant.
  5. Three-position button (…): A short press opens additional remote control functions, such as controlling a set-top box or soundbar via HDMI-CEC. A 2-second press activates the video/audio description function (country dependent). A 5-second press activates the SAP (Secondary Audio Program) function, if supported, you can switch to a different broadcast language or audio track.
  6. Volume (+/-): Adjusts the volume of the TV.
  7. Channel Up/Down (∧∨): Switching television channels.
  8. Mute: Turns off the sound. A long press accesses the accessibility settings, and repeated presses (4-5 times) display TV information and some settings.
  9. Microphone: Activates the remote’s built-in microphone for voice recognition and use with voice assistants or when searching the Internet.
  10. Home: Opens the main menu, long press launches the last open application (quick launch of the last active application).
  11. Input: Selects the source of the input signal source (HDMI, antenna, USB) long press opens the main panel.
  12. Wheel (press OK): Used to quickly move up and down the screen. Pressing this button activates a selection, works similar to Enter on a computer.
  13. Control Circle (Up/Down/Left/Right): Press the up, down, left, or right buttons to scroll through the menus. If you press the buttons while the pointer is operating, the pointer will disappear from the screen and the Magic Remote will operate like a regular remote control. Shake the Magic Remote left and right to make the pointer reappear on the screen.
  14. Back: Goes back to the previous screen. A long press on the Back button. Clears the screen indicators and returns to the last input view.
  15. Settings: Accesses quick settings. Long press opens the All Settings menu.
  16. Colored buttons on the remote control: Accesses special functions in some menus. Long press on the red button – Depending on the country, it can be set to the following functions. Starts the recording function, starts the video streaming service and opens the user manual.
  17. 4 buttons: for quick access to streaming services
  18. Button with: 4 colored circles – connects to Google Assistant,
  19. Button with a blue circle: connection to Alexa.

Сolor buttons on Magic remote

The presence of four colored buttons on LG remote controls is a feature that often puzzles users because of their seemingly ambiguous functionality. These buttons, although incorporated into the design of the remote, need to be clearly defined as to their purpose, leading to some uncertainty as to their use.

Initially, these colored buttons were used to navigate Teletext, an information retrieval service that existed before the Internet. When the technology was widespread, they provided a quick and efficient transition between pages in Teletext. However, with the advent of the Internet and the subsequent decline of Teletext, their primary function became obsolete.

Despite this, the buttons have remained on remote controls, partly due to the existence of older TV models that still support Teletext. In more modern applications, TV manufacturers sometimes use these buttons to navigate submenus in the TV’s settings, especially in cases where there are multiple selections.

While these buttons remain a familiar element of many remote controls, their practical use in today’s environment is minimal. Many users note that they rarely, if ever, use these buttons due to the lack of clear, consistent assignment to the various functions and applications of the TV. Below, you can see an example of how these buttons are used in one of the LG TV menus.

Programming Shortcuts on the LG Magic Remote

The LG Magic Remote offers a feature that significantly enhances the user’s interaction with the TV: the ability to program buttons for quick access to applications or signal sources. This customization feature is handy for those frequently using specific applications or inputs, eliminating the need to navigate numerous menus.

Step-by-step guide to assigning buttons

Accessing the Edit shortcut menu: Press the ‘0’ button on the LG Magic Remote. This action will open the Edit Quick Access menu, which displays the eight programmable buttons (1 through 8).

Selecting a button to program: Use the wheel or on-screen pointer to select the button you wish to program (e.g., button 1). Press the wheel or the ‘OK’ button to confirm your selection. The selected button will enter ‘command assignment standby mode.’

Assigning a service to a button: Navigate to the service you want to assign for quick access, for example, YouTube. With the desired service highlighted, press the wheel to assign the shortcut command to the selected button.

Activating a programmed service: Press and hold the corresponding button (e.g., hold button 1 for YouTube) to use a programmed function. A long press activates the programmed application or switches to the assigned signal source.

Optimal use of programmable buttons: Although you can program these buttons for various functions, assigning them to frequently used applications is usually more efficient than to signal sources. This is because the remote control has a dedicated signal source button that provides quick access to inputs.

Magic remote Button Functions MR20 2020

The MR20 remote, designed for LG’s 2020 TV models, incorporates specific features that distinguish it from the subsequent Magic Remote models (MR21-MR24). 

Distinct Features of the MR20 Remote

  • STB PWR Button: This button provides a convenient way to quickly power on or off an external device connected through HDMI. The HDMI CEC feature must be enabled on the TV for this function to operate. It facilitates the control of external devices using the TV remote while it remains in its usual operational mode.
  • Guide Button: Tailored for users who watch TV through an antenna input, this button offers immediate access to program information. It’s a valuable feature for those who rely on antenna-based broadcasting.
  • Movies Button: This button simplifies access to the TV’s installed applications. It provides a direct route to the app list, bypassing the need for multiple navigational steps.
  • Play Pause Button: Essential for streaming service enthusiasts; this button allows for straightforward pausing and resuming of streaming content. It enhances the viewer’s control over their viewing experience.

Commonalities with Later Magic Remote Models

In addition to these specific additions, the MR20 shares the same button functionality as the MR21-MR23 remote controls. This consistency ensures a familiar interface for users who may transition between different LG TV models and their respective remotes.

Magic remote Button Functions MR650, MR650A, MR18, MR19

LG’s Magic Remotes LG remotes from 2016 to 2020, including models such as the MR650 and MR650A, have remained unchanged regarding the features offered. However, the critical difference between these models is the availability of different versions of Bluetooth, which significantly affects their compatibility with different TV models.

  • 2016-2017 models (MR650, MR650A): These remotes have been specifically designed to be compatible with LG TV models of the respective years. The Bluetooth technology in these remotes limits their ability to control TVs from different years.
  • Later models (MR18-MR20): LG introduced backward compatibility into its Magic Remotes, starting with the MR18 model and up to the MR20. This meant that a remote like the MR20 could control LG TVs from past models, particularly the 2017-2020.
  • Changes after 2020: LG updated its WebOS in 2021, which led to a change in compatibility. New remotes released after 2021 were incompatible with older LG TV models released before 2021.
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