Apple Remote

Apple Remote

Infobox Computer
name = Apple Remote
developer = Apple Inc.
type = A remote used to control the Apple TV, iPods and iPhones (with dock), and Macs with infrared ports
photo =
caption =
first_release_date = October, 2005
discontinuation_date =
processor =
baseprice =
website = [ Apple — iMac — Front Row]

The Apple Remote is a remote control made for use with Apple products with infrared capabilities released after October 2005. The device was announced by Steve Jobs on October 12, 2005. The remote is largely based on the interface of the iPod shuffle and has only six buttons. The six buttons on the remote are for Menu, Play/Pause, Volume Up, Volume Down, Previous/Rewind, and Next/Fast-forward. The remote was originally designed to interact with Front Row in the iMac ("Rev. C" or newer) and is also compatible with the MacBook. The Mac mini with Apple Remote support was announced on February 26, 2006. [ see blog date Tuesday, February 28, 2006] The Apple TV also ships with and utilizes the Apple Remote. There is no Apple Remote support on the Mac Pro.

The remote was designed to attach magnetically to the side of the late G5 and early Intel iMacs. These models integrated several hidden magnets in the bottom right corner which attract the remote's battery. This is also possible with the frame of MacBook screens. As of February 2008, the MacBook and MacBook Pro no longer include an Apple Remote in the package, though it remains compatible and available as an option.

The Front Row application allows users to browse and play music, view videos (DVDs and downloaded files) and browse photos. The Apple Remote is also compatible with the iPod Hi-Fi [ Official Apple Documentation] and the Universal Dock. [ Official Apple Documentation] The functions for the iPod Universal Dock allow for music and media control, though the remote is not able to control the menus within the iPod. The battery is accessed by pushing a small, blunt object, such as a paper clip or a 3.5 mm headphone plug, into a tiny indent at the bottom right edge of the remote, revealing the compartment which houses the CR2032 lithium 3.0 V button cell. [ Official Apple Documentation]



A device can be configured to respond only to a certain remote. This can be achieved by holding the Apple Remote close enough to the device with which it is to be paired, and then pressing and holding the "Menu" and "Next" buttons for five seconds. Pairing can be removed by deactivating it under the Mac OS X "Security" System Preference pane. Only users with administrative privileges are allowed to pair their remote; in a non-administrator account, pressing the buttons will have no effect and nothing will be displayed. [ Official Apple Documentation] Pairing can be very useful because some users who have both an iMac and Apple TV nearby experience issues with remotes working with both devices.


Users can put iMacs, MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, MacBooks, Intel Mac minis, Apple TVs, or docked iPods into sleep mode by holding down the Play/Pause button on the Apple Remote. Devices can also be awakened by pressing any button on the remote. Various functions of the Apple remote]

Boot options

Holding down the Menu button on the remote while starting up an Intel Macintosh enters the Startup Manager [ [ Startup Manager: How to select a startup volume ] ] (same as holding the Option key at startup). The remote can then be used to cycle through all bootable partitions and can then confirm them by pressing the Play/Pause button. This can be especially useful for Boot Camp users who might frequently use this feature to boot into Windows partitions on the Intel Macs. The remote can also eject CDs or DVDs in this menu by selecting the disc and then pressing the + (Volume Up) button on the remote.

Application compatibility

The remote can be used to control presentations in Apple Keynote (on both Intel Macs & PPC Macs), Impress presentations( see [ Apple Remote and Impress] ), or presentations in Microsoft Powerpoint 2008, picture slide shows in iPhoto and Aperture , QuickTime, DVD Player, and audio in iTunes. iRed Lite can be used for controlling several applications using the Apple Remote.

VLC compatibility

In response to the new Intel processors, a small piece of software called the Apple Remote Helper has surfaced to allow remote use in the popular VLC media player. Play, pause, volume, and skip buttons all work normally. It should be noted, however, that the volume buttons change VLC's volume, and not the system volume. Starting with release 0.8.6-test1 VLC itself supports the Apple Remote.

Compatibility with other applications

Recently a number of tools have been released allowing custom configuration of the Apple Remote buttons. Programs such as [ Remote Buddy] , [ Sofa Control] , iRed Lite and [ mira] allow control over any application by providing users with the ability to assign simulated keystrokes and applescripts to each individual button. [ iAlertU] uses the remote to activate security features allowing alarms/isight photos when people come near or move your MacBook.

Compatibility with older Macs

Using the third-party remote software mira (from Twisted Melon) or Remote Buddy (from IOSPIRIT GmbH) users of older Macs can use the Apple Remote with a USB-based IR receiver. Most new Mac models come equipped with a built-in infrared receiver, but previous generation products lack any such IR device. Even the Mac Pro desktops released in the summer of 2006 lack built-in IR. Using Remote Buddy or mira, it is possible to connect an external USB receiver such as the Windows Media Center Edition eHome receiver, and use the Apple Remote on older machines with full support for sleep, pairing, low battery detection, and Front Row. In addition, Remote Buddy is able to emulate events of an Apple Remote on these systems, enabling users to use software written for the Apple Remote in exactly the same way as with newer Macs.

iPod compatibility

The remote only works with the iPods with dock connectors and only when the iPods are docked. The remote cannot control an un-docked iPod. The remote's menu functionality does not work on the iPod, docked or not.

Compatibility with other devices

The Apple Remote can also be used to control the (discontinued) iPod HiFi.

MacBook and iMac resting place

The Apple Remote can be rested on the magnetic frame on the MacBook's screen when not in use. The three places on the MacBook that will hold the remote are the top left and the top right of the frame, as well as the middle left of the frame.

The remote can also be rested on a magnetic pad located beneath the SuperDrive of an early 2006 - mid 2007 iMac when not in use. In addition, the Apple Remote can be magnetically stuck onto an iMac's sideframes. This feature does not work on the newer aluminum iMac, only on the previous white iMacs.

Boot Camp compatibility

As of Boot Camp 1.2, the remote has been given some compatibility when a user is running Windows. If the user has iTunes installed on the Windows partition, pressing the Menu button on the remote will load the program. As well as this, the remote has the ability to control both Windows Media Player and iTunes, as well as system Volume Control. Additionally, the remote also has the ability to control the audio program, foobar2000, and the freeware media program Media Player Classic. Programs must have focus for the remote to control them. Skipping tracks and pausing/playing functionality are available under the programs.

IR interference

Because many electrical appliances use infrared remote (IR) controls, concurrent use of the Apple Remote with other IR remotes may scramble communications and generate interference, preventing stable use. Remotes should be used individually to circumvent the problem. [ [ Apple TV: IR interference can prevent your remote from working ] ]

See also

* Apple TV
* Front Row
* iMac
* iPod
* iPod Hi-Fi
* MacBook Air
* MacBook Pro
* Mac mini
* Plex
* Remote (Apple software)
* Remote control


External links

* [ Apple — iMac — Front Row]
* [ Apple — Mac mini — Front Row]
* [ Apple — How to replace the Apple Remote battery]
* [ IOSPIRIT — Remote Buddy]
* [ Amit Singh's Apple Infrared Remote Daemon]
* [ Twisted Melon - mira]
* [ Case Apps - Sofa Control]
* [ iRedLite - free and customizable]
* [ Controling your apps in Windows on Macbook using Apple Remote Control]

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