iPad’s Remote rocks

Spoiler alert! If you have an Apple TV, Remote is about the best app you can have on your iPad. Five stars.


First of all, I love my Apple TV. It cost us $100, and we can stream Netfix and any of the DVDs I convert to Apple TV files. We keep them on a Time Machine drive so that I don’t have to shuffle through my entire collection of discs. I still have to manually load my Blu-ray discs, but now I only buy Blu Rays when the quality is exceptional and they also ship with an m4v file to play in Hi Def through Apple TV.

I could buy the iTunes version, but it’s not that much cheaper, and they don’t ship with deleted scenes. That being said, Apple TV plus Netflix for $8 a month is the best entertainment buy I know.

As much as I love my Apple TV, I lose Apple TV remotes every other week. They’re tiny little things and easy to misplace. I would have added the commands to my universal remote, but universal remotes don’t like Apple TV.

The first time I lost one I ordered two more, in case I lost one of those. They’re far less expensive than ordering a real remote. About two weeks later I lost both of those. I ordered two more.

I have no idea where they went. I suspect Jenny carried one of them off because she likes to play with toys. Another one may have fallen to the floor, which means Chutney the Neanderthal dog may have carted it off thinking it was a bone.1

Chutney is now engaged in a turf war with our new dog Pearl, the incontinent dog. We rescued Pearl, and then discovered the real reason she was abandoned was because she had one kidney and a malfunctioning bladder. Her medication and doggie diaper almost control the problem but they also make her hyper, which means that when she isn’t bouncing around the yard and off the walls she’s trying to steal bones from Chutney. So she could just as easily have carted the remotes off too.

So now I’m down five remotes, but only because one turned up in the laundry (fortunately just before Carol dumped it into the machine).

The other problem with my Apple remote was that it controlled iTunes on my Mac at the same time it controlled our Apple TV. If I didn’t remember to

  • Set Mac iTunes to Books or the iTunes store, and
  • Hide Mac iTunes, (or else)
  • Shut down my Mac

Then as soon as I changed a program on Apple TV, a different program would start playing on my Mac. You would think I could turn down the volume, but when I scan up and down the titles on Apple TV I turn up the volume on my Mac.

In the past I’ve tried iPad remote controllers to no success, but this is Apple’s remote controller. So I downloaded it and figured out the interface in about a minute with no instructions. It was that easy. The first thing I noticed I could control Apple TV or iTunes, but not both at the same time, I was ecstatic.

You can control iTunes or Apple TV separately, which you can’t do with your remote. You can even manage your iTunes library without having to put down your iPad or switch on your monitor.

You need to have your computer running to access your iTunes library, but all other Apple TV options are available whether your computer is ready or not. Once you make contact with your Apple TV, a touch pad interface appears. The touch pad operates almost identically to your Apple TV remote. Swipe to navigate up and down or right and left. A menu bar at the bottom serves as the button. You can find full playback controls at the top.

The interface simulates a touch pad version of the physical remote. Swiping replaces the arrow buttons. You can figure your way around it in less than a minute.

I really like the Netflix and other web search features. With the physical remote you have to move through an alphabetic grid and select one letter or number at a time, which can be a pain in the ass. It’s an even bigger pain when you have to reenter passwords and emails should the box reset. The iPad remote gives you full access to the iPad or blue tooth keyboards.

The iPad remote is much better than the physical device because you have full access to the iPad and external keyboards. It saves a lot of time over scrolling through a grid of letters and numbers.

Since it only takes a couple of seconds to call up the remote in the iPad’s multitasking bar and then switch back to the app you’re using, the iPad remote is far more convenient than trying to remember where you last set down the remote (especially if your family members or cats move it).

Best of all, an iPad is harder to lose than one of the tiny Apple remotes. Even when I do forget where I put it, I can use Find My iPhone to track it down. The tiny (however sleek and attractive) Apple remote gets lost under a misplaced magazine.

Jenny Manytoes rates Remote

Jenny Manytoes prefers the smaller, physical remote because it makes a shiny toy. I, however, make biscuits all over iPad Remote. Since it’s free, it’s a guaranteed best buy.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

1Sadly, the real Chutney passed on just after Christmas. That Chutney was exactly like the fictional Chutney and every bit as aggravating. She passed peacefully with a mouth full of treats. She couldn’t walk anymore and, at seventy five pounds, neither Carol nor I could carry her. Sadly, her body gave out before her spirit did.
I realized, however, that the fictional Chutney is too good a dog to retire (as will be Jenny when her time comes, hopefully not for years). So she will be coming back to honor the memory of a fantastic, however aggravating, dog. back

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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 5 Stars + Best Buy, Apple Apps, Entertainment, Free, Utilities and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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