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MAC TREAT #198: How to Pair an Apple Remote

An amazing feat by Apple is how all of their products just plain work – and work together. Maybe a little too well perhaps.

One time when I was using my MacBook Pro a buddy of mine was shuffling through the Apple TV and my volume starts going up and down all on its own! Obviously my first thought went to virus and then I remembered I was using a Mac. Calmly and cooly I told my self there’s no such thing as ghosts and turned to my friend to show him what was happening. He and I both shared a laugh as I realized it was him not only controlling the Apple TV but my Mac as well. Knowing now what the issue was I went back to using my computer but now I was facing his ugly mug to prevent the Apple Remote from controlling my machine.

Apple Remotes run off a simple infrared (IR) technology that luckily can be paired and more importantly un-paired with your other Apple products.

Follow these steps to pair a remote with your Mac:

  • Log in on your Mac as an Admin user.
  • Get very close to your Mac (about 3 or 4 inches away).
  • Point the remote at the infrared sensor on the front of your Mac.
  • Press and hold the Menu and Next/Fast-forward buttons simultaneously on the remote for 5 seconds.
  • Your Apple Remote is now paired with your computer. You should see a chain-link style lock appear in the center of your screen for a moment.

Follow these steps to un-pair a remote with your Mac:

  • Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu in the upper-left menu bar.
  • Choose Security from the View menu.
  • Click the lock and enter your Administrator password if necessary.
  • Click Un-pair in the Security pane.

The strange thing about my story is that I never paired the Apple Remote to my Mac in the first place and the Apple TV was purchased months after the MacBook Pro was. To fix my issue I simply turned off IR on my Mac.

Follow these steps to turn off (or on) IR reception with your Mac:

  • Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu in the upper-left menu bar.
  • Choose Security from the View menu.
  • Click the lock and enter your Administrator password if necessary.
  • In OS X Lion v10.7 or later, click the “Advanced” button in the lower-right corner.
  • Enable the “Disable remote control infrared receiver” checkbox.
  • In OS X Lion v10.7 or later, click the OK button.

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