A Farewell to Clickers – Using Keynote Remote to Control Presentation Slides from iOS Devices

Flip pens with laser pointers are no longer needed either.

Title photo




Charles Ai

Updated 2018-10-09

From time to time, during a presentation, the presenter has to leave his/her standing position and lean awkwardly toward their laptops searching for SPACE, ENTER, or ARROW keys whenever they would flip the slides. A common life-saver is a clicker or flip pen, on which the PREVIOUS and NEXT button can save us a lot of time and make the audience less distracted. On some products, a laser pointer is added and thus further help maintain the audience attention and prevent the presenter from being dazzled by the projector's glaring beam while they are struggling toward the upper right corner. But the odds are (1) these remote controllers always require a receiver  that occupies a USB-A port on your computer, (2) they either need batteries or to be charged regularly, (3) you have to look back to your laptop or the projecting screen to check the current slide/step of the presentation, and (4) the laser red dot is often not apparent enough, and boy it just looks so old-fashioned...

Are there better ways to set up quick, clean, interactive, and visual connection between our laptops and the portable controllers?

For iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and macOS (Mac) users, the answer is an absolute YES, because we can tackle all the above issues without any additional cost by using the Keynote Remote function embedded in our iOS devices and Macs. Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch would become a handy remote controller for your slides, and provide you with a sneak peek of anything you want to browse (current, previous, next slides, and "presenter notes") DURING your presentation. For laser pointer lovers and those who feel like annotating on slides, you can do all you want on the palm of your hand!

Here's how –

First, let's connect your iOS device and the Mac connected with the projector.

1. Say R.I.P. to your clickers (Don't forget to withdraw the batteries).

2. Download/Update the Keynote app on your devices (link to iOS App Store, link to macOS App Store) and make sure the app on your devices is on the latest version.

3. Turn on both Wifi and Bluetooth on your Mac and your iOS device. If there is a stable Wi-fi connection, connect both devices to the SAME Wi-Fi network. Whereas if the network is not available, just keep both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on, the devices can find each other themselves.

4. Use Keynote to open your PowerPoint file (fully compatible, might need to add some fonts and adjust some animations sometimes), or use Keynote to start a new project.

5. In Keynote on your Mac, from the menu bar, choose Keynote > Preferences, click Remotes, then select the "Enable" checkbox.

6. On your iOS device, open the Keynote app, then tap in the toolbar. If you don't see , tap Presentations or , then tap .

7. If this is your first time linking to this Keynote Remote, tap Continue, then tap Add a Device. If this is not your first time linking to this Keynote Remote, tap Devices, then tap Add a Device.

8. On your Mac, next to the name of your iOS device, click Link.

9. Make sure that the four-digit passcode that appears matches on both your Mac and iOS device, then click Confirm.

Once the connection has been successfully established. Let's activate Keynote Remote as follows:

1. Turn on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth or keep them open on your iOS device and Mac.
2. Open your Keynote presentation on the Mac.
3. On the Keynote Remote device, say your iPhone, open the Keynote app, then tap . If you don't see , tap Presentations or , then tap .
4. Tap the large round green Play button, then choose what you want to do:

Last but not the least, the duo of iPad and Apple Pencil would elevate your efficiency and precision to a much higher level while you are using them to remotely control your presentation.

Using iPad and Apple Pencil to annotate and highlight slide elements.

Thank you very much for your reading! Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message of feedback from here. You can also find the links of my social network at the bottom of the page.


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