SiriMote – Control your Mac with your Apple TV Siri Remote

SiriMote App Icon

Introducing: SiriMote

Apart from pairing the Remote with your Mac to test Apple TV apps running in Xcode’s Simulator, the Remote is not of much use on the Mac.
That’s where SiriMote comes into play: It enables you to use the Apple TV Siri Remote with all sorts of applications.

Using SiriMote

SiriMote requires you to pair your Apple TV Siri Remote with your Mac.
Once finished with pairing (detailed instructions are shown in the app), you’re ready to go.

Aside from controlling your Mac’s system volume with the Remote, you can now use it to control:

iTunes Icon (Apple Inc.)

iTunes

Play/Pause, Fast Forward, Rewind, Next Track, Previous Track

Keynote Icon (Apple Inc.)

Keynote

Next Slide, Previous Slide

QuickTime Player X Icon (Apple Inc.)

QuickTime

Play/Pause, Fast Forward, Rewind

VLC Icon (Videolan)

VLC

Play/Pause, Fast Forward, Rewind, Next Track, Previous Track

… as well as many other applications. How? Keep reading 😉

Pricing and Availability

SiriMote is a free download from my website. OS X El Capitan 10.11 and a Mac with Bluetooth 4.0 is required.

I decided to make it a free app as I’m uncertain as to how long the app will be needed.
I suspect at some point, Apple might actually implement this functionality right into the OS.
If you like the app, though, I’d love for you to take a look at my other applications – thank you 🙂

How it Works

SiriMote Main Window

SiriMote translates remote buttons into media key presses of your Mac’s keyboard. For example, when you press Volume Up on the Siri Remote, the app will translate that into the Volume Up key on your keyboard and send it to the system.
Likewise, it translates the Play/Pause button on the Remote to the Play/Pause media key on your Mac’s keyboard and sends that to the system.

That enables your Remote to interact with any application that hooks into the media key event system.

The Mac App Store and the OS X Sandbox

SiriMote is not available from the Mac App Store, as it uses an API that does not work in the OS X sandbox to send media key events (CGEventPost).
As the Mac App Store requires the app to run in the sandbox environment, I couldn’t submit it. Either way, you will stay up-to-date as it uses Sparkle to deliver app-updates easily and quickly.

Links

SiriMote Website: http://eternalstorms.at/sirimote
SiriMote Direct Download: http://bit.ly/sirimotezip
SiriMote on ProductHunt: https://www.producthunt.com/tech/sirimote

Pair the Apple TV Developer Kit Siri Remote with Xcode’s Simulator (Updated October 6th, 2015)

In the latest Xcode beta (currently, 7.1 beta 2), I noticed this in its Release Notes (login required) :

(…)Developers running on Yosemite will not be able to pair the Apple TV Remote with the tvOS Simulator Runtime. (…)

That implies that it’s somehow possible to pair the Apple TV Remote with a Mac running OS X 10.11 El Capitan – but how? There’s no explanation anywhere to be found.

Un-pair the Apple TV Remote

If you’ve already paired your Apple TV Remote with your Apple TV Developer Kit, you won’t be able to pair it with your Mac – you’ll have to un-pair it first.

Remote and interaction remote 2xOriginal Image Credit: Apple Inc., markup mine.

A response to this forum threadon the Apple Developer Forums lead me to how to do it: Hold down the Menu and Volume-Up keys on your Apple TV Remote for about 5 seconds, perhaps a little longer, and the Remote’s pairing will be reset.

Pair it with your Mac

Launch System Preferences and click on Bluetooth. In there, you’ll see something like this:

Screenshot of System Preferences 05 10 2015 17 37 23The Apple TV Remote in System Preferences / Bluetooth.

Click on Pair to pair the Apple TV Remote with your Mac. There should be a spinning wheel for a couple of seconds after which it should be paired.

Ready to Rock

Now the Xcode tvOS Simulator automatically recognizes the paired Apple TV Remote and should respond to anything you do on it. Enjoy 🙂

Update (October 6th, 2015) – Media Control?

Oliver Drobnik (@Cocoanetics on twitter) was interested in what kind of Bluetooth profiles the Apple Developer Kit Remote supports – for example, the Media Control profile to be able to adjust volume, play/pause, etc) – or if it can only be used in Xcode’s Simulator.
He suggested I use the free Bluetooth Scanner App LightBlue to see what profiles it supports.
According to the app and this Apple website that lists the service names, the profiles supported are Battery Service, Bond Management, Device Info and a custom Apple service – so no media control for now.
But thanks to Oliver, now we know.