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Why would I use iPhone as a remote controler?
Why would I use iPhone as a remote controler?

Why would I use iPhone as a remote controler?

Writen in 2009

Resulting from the belief that the most important “thing” in every presentation is the presenter, visual aids and remote controls only help her or him to be more effective. Therefore they should be unnoticeable as much as possible.


As for the remote control of computer presentations, the most appropriate is small and simple. So far I have used those (click on picture to enlarge):

That one on the left works on IR (Infrared waves), the right one on RF (radio waves). Both have only 4 keys, which can be easily found with my thumb. The participants don’t even notice I press them. They notice only change on the screen. Red laser light is sometimes hard to see (when presenting to the large audience), but it works immediately and needs only one finger to press.

IPhone is larger, heavier and more cumbersome. Why do you think Philip Schiller didn’t use Keynote Remote during his Macworld 2009 Keynote Address? Even while he was introducing Keynote Remote!


When I hold the iPhone upright, I can change slides with thumb or (when I use Stage Hand) by pressing on arrow. But in this case it is better to look at the iPhone, and use the other hand as well. The screen surface is very sensitive and sometimes it is possible to touch it on the wrong place. (Picture on the left displays the Presenter Display you can see using Keynote-Remote.)

(click on pictures to enlarge).


Holding iPhone in landscape position takes both hands to change slides.

Picture on the left displays the Presenter Display you can see using Stage Hand).


Battery will last approximately 5 hours. For professional purpose it should last at least 7.


Why would I use iPhone, then?

In my opinion iPhone is very handy in two cases:iphoneremote1.png

Presentation with the laptop to one up to three people at the table. Until now I had to sit near the laptop screen. That made the screen less visible for others. Now I can turn the notebook to them and use iPhones Presenter Display.

Click on pictures to enlarge.


iphoneremote2.pngPresentation at the congresses and conferences to the large number of participants. In such cases, it is reasonable to change the position on stage. In some situations a lecturer cannot see on the computer screen, but he or she can see the Presenter Display on iPhone.



IPhone is also better than the IR (infrared) remote operator, which must have a free visual path to the IR receiver on the computer. The RF’s don’t have this problem.

Of course I will use iPhone if I’ll forget my Kensington remote (or in case of accident, as a back-up), but there are some occasions when iPhone is superior to other possibilities. For example:

  • when I need Presenter Notes (it’s much better then using cards I could drop and can be scattered and mixed up):


  • when I want to browse through slides, while the main screen is black (option provided by the Stage Hand – I hope this feature will be included in next version of Keynote for Mac).


Related article: /Keynote-Remote-vs.-Stage-Hand/