Add a remote to your old Mac

Apple RemoteYou’ve seen that stylish little white Apple Remote, but your Mac doesn’t have an infrared (“IR”) sensor. What are your options?

Twisted Melon has come out with a product called Manta TR1 — an USB IR receiver which works with Apple Remotes (and other remotes if you so desire). Source: via EverythingUSB. The Manta TR1 is a simple black box with red plastic over the IR sensor. At $15.95, it seems like a pretty good deal.  It does not come with a remote, so you’ll have to get one of those separately.

I have outfitted my G4 Mac mini with a Keyspan Digital Media Remote.  It is one of the older models from Keyspan and you can still find them on for about $25. The Keyspan Digital Media Remote comes with an USB IR receiver and a remote. The Keyspan remote works well, is very thin and can be placed in the IR receiver when you are not using it.  Keyspan has replaced the Digital Media Remote with a more expensive Express Remote priced at $59.

If for some reason you hate IR remotes and want to go the RF route, Keyspan has a solution; however it works with Front Row Macs only. According to, it will work with Macs running Front Row using Enabler. I’m a big fan of RF since you don’t need to actually point to your machine. The Keyspan RF Remote costs $28.99 on

There is more convoluted method to getting RF control of your Mac (or other devices for that matter). You will need a universal remote not made by Harmony, Home Theater Master, or Kameleon; an IR receiver on your Mac and an Internal RF Adapter.  I’ve heard about the Wireless RF Remote Control Extender on the Daily Giz Wiz Podcast. You place an IR-to-RF transmitter by your electronics. You then place a transmitter in place of an AAA or AA battery in your remote. This should allow you to control your machine from 100 feet away. You can find this device over at for $59.

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