|Release date||October 12, 2005 (Original)|
October 20, 2009 (Current, second generation)
The Apple Remote is a remote control introduced in October 2005 by Apple Inc. for use with a number of its products with infrared capability. It was originally designed to control the Front Row media center program on the iMac G5 and is compatible with many subsequent Macintosh computers. The first three generations of Apple TV used the Apple Remote as their primary control mechanism. It has now been replaced with the Siri Remote in the fourth generation. Prior to the Apple Remote, Apple produced several nameless IR remotes for products such as the Macintosh TV, TV tuner expansion boards, and the PowerCD drive.
The original Apple Remote was designed with six buttons and made of white plastic. Its shape and layout resembled the first-generation iPod Shuffle. A circular Play/Pause/Select button sat in the center of a larger four-button circle (clockwise): Volume Up, Next/Fast-forward, Volume Down, and Previous/Rewind. A separate Menu button was positioned below. The price was set at US$29.00.
In October 2009, the remote was redesigned as a thinner and longer aluminum version. The new remote was released along with the 27- inch aluminum iMacs and multi-touch Magic Mouse. The Play/Pause button was moved out of the center of the directional buttons and put beside the Menu button (under the directional buttons). The symbols for the Volume Up/Down and Next/Fast-forward buttons were replaced with small dots, to make it clear that the buttons were also used to move up, down, left, and right within menus. Along with the new design, the price was dropped to US$19.99. In earlier aluminum remotes, the navigation ring was flush with the curvature of the remote's aluminum body. In the later revision, the ring is slightly raised to make it easier to locate the ring by touch.
Replacement of the CR2032 battery in the original remote is done with a small pointed object such as a paper clip at the bottom right edge of the device, where the battery slides out on a tray. The newer version has the battery located behind a compartment in the middle of the device which is accessed by turning a coin in the compartment door's indent.
The Apple Remote's original function was to enable navigation in Front Row, which allows users to browse and play music, view videos (DVDs and downloaded files) and browse photos. Although Front Row was removed from OS X 10.7 and later, some Apple software still works with the remote. It can still be used to control presentations in Apple Keynote, slide shows in iPhoto and Aperture, DVD films via DVD Player, and to play video, and audio in iTunes and QuickTime. Other software that is still compatible includes Elgato's EyeTV 3.5, and VLC media player. The remote can also be used to run presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint 2008 or in OpenOffice.org Impress.
Other functions controlled by the remote can include putting a device into sleep mode, selecting a partition to boot from on startup, and ejecting optical discs. A device can be configured to respond only to a particular remote.
An iPod placed in a dock featuring an IR sensor can be used with the remote for music and media control. The iPod's menus cannot be operated with the remote. The Apple Remote can also be used to control the iPod Hi-Fi or third-party devices tailored to it.
Starting with Boot Camp 1.2, the remote has some functionality when a user is running Windows. If iTunes is installed on the Windows partition, pressing the Menu button on the remote will start the program. The remote's media controls also support Windows Media Player, as well as system volume control. Other third-party programs may also utilize the remote's capabilities; media applications such as foobar2000 and Media Player Classic allow users to control their functions via the remote. Applications must be in focus for the remote to control them. Boot Camp 5, released on March 14, 2013, also includes drivers for the remote control.
The Siri Remote was launched with the 4th Generation Apple TV in 2015. It uses both IR and Bluetooth to communicate with the Apple TV. The remote has a trackpad, dual microphones, 5 buttons for Menu, Home, Siri and Play/Pause, and a Volume up/down rocker button. Additionally it has an accelerometer (IMU) and a gyroscope which allows the remote to be used as a gaming controller for tvOS apps and games. The remote (unlike previous generations) uses a built-in rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery that is charged through a lightning port at the bottom of the remote. In regions where Siri is not supported, the Siri Remote is known as the Apple TV Remote.
On September 12, 2017, together with the Apple TV 4K, Apple announced an updated Siri Remote, with a raised white border around the menu button and additional motion input for apps.
|MacBook||Original – Mid 2009 (Except White Unibody)|
|MacBook Air||Original – Mid 2009|
|MacBook Pro||Original – Mid 2012 (Except Retina)|
|iMac||G5 – September 2012|
|Mac mini||Early 2006 – Late 2014|
Earlier models of the iMac with polycarbonate enclosures featured a magnetic rest for the remote, which was later removed.
Use with new MacBook Airs, Retina MacBook Pros and older Macs
Using the Apple Remote with newer MacBook Air, Retina MacBook, or other Mac models without a built-in IR receiver requires a USB-based infrared receiver and additional software from a third party.
Using Remote Buddy (from IOSPIRIT GmbH) or mira (from Twisted Melon), it is possible to connect an external USB receiver such as the Windows Media Center Edition eHome receiver, and use the Apple Remote on these machines with full support for sleep, pairing, low-battery detection and controlling a variety of Apple and third-party software. 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 Macs that have a built-in infrared receiver.
For the Apple computers without built-in infrared receiver, there is a miniature USB receiver (USBA or USBC versions), the SmartGUS, which allows to give back to iMac, MacBook and Mac Pro, the infrared functionality. In this case, all compatible software (iTunes, Keynote, PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress, QuickTime Player, iPhoto, VLC, Kodi, Remote Buddy, Mira ...) can use the features of the Apple Remote, the same as with the legacy built-in infrared receiver.
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.
The Apple Remote uses a modified NEC IR protocol which consists of a differential PPM encoding on a 1:3 duty cycle 38 kHz 950 nm infrared carrier. There are 32 bits of encoded data between the AGC leader and the stop bit:
|Protocol||on (µs)||off (µs)||total (µs)|
While the Apple Remote uses the NEC IR protocol for the timing, the 32-bit data package is in a different format. It consists of two 16 bit LSB words.
|11||Vendor||This is always 0x43f and can be used to identify an Apple Remote|
|5||Command Page||0x0 for the pairing and other commands, 0xe for the different buttons|
|8||Device ID||A unique device ID, used to allow pairing of a remote to a specific device. It can be changed with the pairing command|
|7||Command||Actual command for the Command Page|
|1||Odd parity||All 32 bits added together have to equal 1|
This is the internal page table (command page 0x00):
|0x01||Pairing||Menu + Select for 5s (pair & increment the Device ID) or Menu + Next for 5s (just pair)|
|0x02||Factory Defaults||Menu + Previous for 5s|
|0x03||Low Battery||Old (white) Apple Remote|
|0x07||Low Battery||New Apple Remote|
This is the command page table (command page 0x0e):
|0x02||Play/Pause, Select||Play/Pause, Select (On the white model this is the combined Play/Pause and Select button; on the aluminum model, this code is sent by both the Play/Pause and Select buttons together with a prefix.)|
|0x07||Play+Up||Play/Pause + Up pressed together|
|0x08||Play+Down||Play/Pause + Down pressed together|
|0x09||Play+Next||Play/Pause + Next pressed together|
|0x0a||Play+Previous||Play/Pause + Previous pressed together|
|0x0b||Menu+Up||Menu + Up pressed together|
|0x0c||Menu+Down||Menu + Down pressed together|
|0x0d||Menu+Play/Pause||Menu + Play/Pause pressed together|
|0x0e||Menu+Next||Menu + Next pressed together|
|0x0f||Menu+Previous||Menu + Previous pressed together|
|0x2e||Select||Select button prefix, on aluminum model only|
|0x2f||Play/Pause||Play/Pause prefix, on aluminum model only|
To maintain backward compatibility with older devices such as the iPod Hi-Fi, the aluminum Apple Remote does not replace the existing IR code for Play/Pause/Select. Instead, to allow newer devices to distinguish between the separate Select and Play/Pause buttons, it sends two IR codes for each press of those: a prefix code (0x2e and 0x2f, respectively), followed by the original Play/Pause code (0x02). Older devices ignore the prefix code and thus interpret either button as Play/Pause, while newer devices interpret both codes and use them to determine which button is being pressed.
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