The small and simple Apple Remote is great for navigating Front Row menus on a Mac and browsing the contents of an Apple TV, but anyone with more than one of these floating around might want to pair each remote with a device.
Here’s a real life situation that is surprisingly common… A friend comes over with their fancy new Mac and starts messing around with Front Row using the tiny white Apple Remote. Suddenly your own Mac, which is sitting in the same room, starts taking orders from the remote. That’s certainly not what you want and, luckily, there’s an easy way to avoid this kind of interference. In just a couple steps you can “pair” an Apple Remote with one Mac computer or an Apple TV, thereby preventing accidental signals from being sent to other infrared-equipped devices. Not only that, but the paired Mac or Apple TV won’t accept commands from any remote other than its own.
Pairing and unpairing with a Mac
To pair an Apple Remote with your Mac, simply place it a few inches away from the computer’s infrared sensor and hold down the Menu and Next/Fast-forward buttons on the remote for 5-10 seconds. A confirmation will appear on-screen and that’s all there is to it.
Unpairing a remote from a Mac is just as effortless. Open System Preferences, click on the Security pane, and click the Unpair button under the General tab. You can also choose to disable input from all remotes by checking the “Disable remote control infrared receiver” option on the same window.
Pairing and unpairing with an Apple TV
Once again showing Apple’s consistency across all of its product lines, pairing an Apple Remote with an Apple TV is just the same as with a Mac. Hold Menu and Next/Fast-forward for a few seconds and you’re done once you see the confirmation on-screen.
The process for unpairing is different than on a Mac, however. If you have access to your paired remote, you can go to Settings > General > Remotes and then choose “Unpair Apple Remote.” If you lost your paired remote, though, that’s obviously not an option. Instead, you’ll need access to another Apple Remote to get the job done. Hold the Menu and Previous/Rewind buttons for 5-10 seconds and the missing remote will be removed from the Apple TV’s memory, thus enabling you to pair the new remote if you choose.