On the apple TV remote, I have realized that the two buttons have a different physical design. The menu button goes invward (convex) and the play/pause one is flatter/goes more outward.

I tried to figure out why with my common sense, but failed. Does someone know? enter image description here

2 Answers 2


So in the dark, you'll know which is which without looking at it.

  • But this is like the "for blind people" argument. Why not simply use left and right for this? I don't feel like the shape adds a lot there.
    – nichochar
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 23:40
  • I turn off my light when i watch a movie or TV show, so I can't see in that sense. So all i need to do is feel the button to know their functionality. Similar to why the F and J key have those dumps so touch typist can feel the position without looking. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 23:41

Like mentioned, it's primarily to differentiate them without a visual. Another reason, and probably less so is that since the menu button is concave you're less likely to accidentally trigger it. So if you're playing a video and you accidentally trigger play/pause it's not so bad whereas triggering menu will take you out of the video completely.

Car remotes often follow a similar pattern. The unlock button is concave and the lock button is convex.

  • Now this makes sense. I think the other answer is right also, but this is the definitive factor. Thanks
    – nichochar
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 2:14

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