Getting the most out of your Apple Remote

I’m a little surprised that none of my clients have ever asked me about the Apple Remote that came with their computer. Most people seem to brush it off as something they will never need or even want to use. But once you learn what the Apple Remote is capable of, you may get hooked.

Apple_Remote.jpgEveryone knows that you can use the remote with Keynote (for presentations) and with Front Row (to browse your iPhotos, iTunes, and movies). But here are some not-so-well-known capabilities for the Apple Remote:

• Sleep / Wake your computer

• Use as a remote control for any application (i.e. DVD player)

• Change display resolutions

• Control a virtual on-screen keyboard and mouse

• Boot to Startup Manager & choose startup volume

Sleep / Wake your computer

This is a simple one: To sleep, hold down the play/pause (middle) button / To wake, press any button.

Boot to Startup Manager & choose startup volume

Hold Menu button while starting the computer. After Startup Manager loads, use the back/forward buttons to select the startup volume and Play/Pause to start-up the computer.

These next tips all require the help of an extraordinary program called Remote Buddy. There will certainly be more posts in the future about Remote Buddy, but today I’ll just cover the following Apple Remote capabilities:

Use as a remote control for any application (including VLC, Safari, and DVD player).

Here’s my own DVD player “behaviors,” most of these setting were pre-loaded with Remote Buddy. Of course, you can change any button’s mapping to control any function of the desired application.

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Change display resolutions

If, like me, you have two displays connected to your computer (I have a plasma tv and hanns-g lcd display), this feature will be very useful. From my Apple Remote, I can change the display resolution depending on which screen I want to watch from. I use 1250 x 686 (a custom resolution I made with SwitchResX) for the plasma tv, 1024 x 768 for high res on the hanns-g lcd, and 800 x 600 for when I’m far away from the hanns-g and want to see it more clearly (bigger resolution).

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Change your audio output device

Another invaluable feature if you’re using your computer as an entertainment center, changing your audio output device. Sometime I want audio to come out of my mac mini, sometimes I want audio to come out of my FireWave (firewire surround sound). Although this feature isn’t built into Remote Buddy, applescript support it. Using this applescript, which I found here on macosxhints.com, I’m able to choose the output device of my choice.

Control a virtual on-screen keyboard and mouse

If you’re too lazy to reach for your mouse or keyboard (or drag your mouse to the edge of your display), Remote Buddy includes a virtual mouse and keyboard which you navigate from your remote.

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