Limiting your Apple Remote

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Every so often my coworkers, in the course of other business correspondence, slip in an Apple-related question of their own. For example, Coworker A tagged on this little gem to a recent communique:

We used to have an issue where we’d be using the Apple Remote to run Apple TV and then, all of a sudden, iTunes on my wife’s MacBook would start playing. Any sort of fix?

I can recommend a couple of fixes. The first is to simply not use the Apple Remote with your Apple TV. I happen to know that you have at least one iOS device in your possession and because you do, you can put Apple’s free Remote app to good use. As long as your iOS device and Apple TV are on the same network, that iOS device is all you need to control Apple’s set top box. Plus, it has the added advantage that it will interact only with the Apple TV—your other Apple devices will remain blissfully ignorant of its presence.

If you have an iOS device, the Remote app is a great way to control your Apple TV

With this app you can choose content directly from your iTunes library without all the pointing and clicking you have to do with Apple’s hardware remote. And if you prefer to use the Apple TV’s interface as it was intended, the Remote app has a touch mode where you can swipe to move around the interface and tap when you want to activate a highlighted item—launch one of the apps on the home screen or play a selected bit of media.

My favorite thing about the app is that it allows you to use the iOS device’s keyboard for text entry. I know you’re a busy guy (and, occasionally, impatient) and I can’t imagine that you have a lot of tolerance for hunting and pecking around the Apple TV’s virtual keypad, clicking in letter by interminable letter.

If, however, you’re of the opinion that, “By gum, I have this thing and I’ll be ding-danged if I won’t use it” then allow me to show you the Mountain Lion method for disabling that remote for your wife’s laptop.

Disable all remotes to keep your Mac from responding over IR

Launch System Preferences and click on the Security & Privacy preference. Click the Lock icon at the bottom of the screen and enter an administrator’s user name and password and click Unlock. Click the Advanced button at the bottom of the window. In the sheet that appears, enable the Disable Remote Control Infrared Receiver option and click OK. The laptop will no longer respond to any IR remote.

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