The Apple remote also known as the Apple IR remote control is a remote control by Apple for controlling Apple products that have the capability of using infrared technology.
The remote was initially introduced back in October of 2005 by Apple founder Steve Jobs. The Apple remote has only six buttons and is closely designed very similar to Apple’s first generation Ipod Shuffle.
The Apple remote’s buttons consist of a play/pause button, volume up and down button, menu button, previous/rewind button, and a skip/fast forward button.
The controller’s initial intent was to be used with the Front Row on the IMac G5 as well as Apple’s Mac Book models.
In 2006 the Apple remote was now compatible with the Mac Mini and these days the Apple TV comes standard with the controller. In February of 2008 the controller was no longer included in the Mac Book and Mac Book Pro packages but the remote is still compatible with those devices.
New Design of the Apple Remote
By 2009 Apple decided to stream line the remote and change it from a white plastic to a thinner but longer aluminum designed unit which was included with IMacs and magic mouse.
Beside a longer and thinner remote constructed of aluminum there were a few visual features that were also redesigned.
These features include the play/pause button being aligned to the right of the menu button which both the menu and play/pause buttons reside underneath the skip, reverse, and volume thumb wheel.
The traditional symbols representing the volume, the skip, and the reverse buttons were also replaced with simple little dots.
The replacements with the dots were presumed to make navigating through the menus more obvious while trying to go left and right as well as up and down within the menus. The price also dropped down to $19.99 for the newly designed Apple remote.
Using the Remote
Users can use the remote to browse downloaded files which include photos along with playing music and videos within the front row application. Other Apple products that the remote works well with are the Universal docking station and the Ipod Hi-fi.
When using the Ipod universal docking station the remote is used for controlling music and media, however the Apple remote is not capable of controlling the menus within the Ipod. So basically, it’s used just to skip/reverse, controlling the volume and pausing media.
The Battery Features
A CR2032 lithium 3.0 V button cell battery is used to power the Apple remote which can be accessed by using a small object such as a pen or paper clip and prying the cover off the housing which includes a groove located at the bottom right edge of the remote.
On the second generation remotes the battery can be accessed by using a small flat object such as a flat head screw driver or finger nail file.
Remote Pairing Features
With Apple’s remote you can configure your devices to only respond to certain remotes by pairing your devices with your remote controller. This can be accomplished by hold the controller close to a device in which you would like to use the remote with.
Once you have the remote in range of pairing simply press and hold the “menu” and “next” button at the same time for five seconds. If you ever want to remove the pairing of a device with your remote just hold the “menu” and “previous” buttons at the same time for five seconds.
Beware that in order to pair your device you must have administrative privileges otherwise performing the tasks mentioned above will have no effect. So if nothing happens be sure to check that you do indeed have administrative privileges.
Other Useful Functions of the Remote
The Apple controller can used to turn off or put into sleep mode certain devices such as the Ipod placed on a docking station, the Apple TV, IMacs and other Apple products. If you’re using the controller with your Intel Macintosh the remote can be used to cycle through all the bootable partitions.
You can use the remote this way by holding down the menu button on the Apple remote while starting up Intel Macintosh start up manager.
If you visit the Itunes app store you will be able to download a really cool free app that works with your Apple remote and Itunes. Basically what this app does is allow you to control your Itunes player with your remote Mac based as well as Windows based computes and also the Apple TV.
If you’re like me and like to use the VLC Media Player then you’re in luck if your have an Apple remote. A nice piece of software has been created in order for you to control your VLC Media Player with your remote. This software is respectfully named “Apple Remote Helper.”
In later versions of the VLC player there is no need for additional software as the newer VLC players already have this function built right into the software.
Compatibility Issues with the Apple Remote
Older versions of Mac computers will need additional software as well as hardware in order to work properly with these systems. Software such as Remote Buddy and an USB IR receiver will be needed if you want to use your Apple remote with older Mac computers.
When using the device with an Ipod the Ipod must be docked in a device with an IR sensor. Remember the controller will only control the volume, next, previous, and pause/stop features.
Since this remote is based on infrared technology along with many other remote control devices it is recommended that you do not use multiple IR devices at the same time to reduce the chance of the signals getting scrambled and the Apple remote not functioning properly.