Recommendation for a good presentation remote

I’m looking for a remote to use with my MBP for presentations (Keynote, Preview, PP). I don’t want anything fancy: buttons for fwd/rev and a laser pointer are plenty. I’d prefer something that doesn’t require drivers or any special software as I’d like to be able to let others use it with their computers too if need arises.

BT would be nice since it’s already built into my MBP, but a USB RF dongle would be ok too. Rechargeable through USB would be great, batteries are ok too.

The Apple store is selling this Logitech remote for $130. I like that it has so few buttons, but I dislike reading about having to download software. And of course $130 seems rather steep for just a remote.

Any good recommendations you guys might have?

For Keynote, check out the Keynote Remote function of IOS Keynote that lets you use your iPhone as a remote for a presentation. See Note that in the remote function, you can also work with a virtual pointer or even pen to interact with the current slide.

Thanks, Alan. I was aware of that solution. I just have to admit I’m not a big fan at all. I don’t want to use a large phone with a touchscreen for this task. I’m looking for something small and light that I can one-handedly use without looking at it. IMHO an iPhone is just impractical for that.

I have this and it works well, but at the end of last semester it stopped working, perhaps related to a system upgrade I did. Tomorrow I plan to see if a Logitech software update fixes it. I’ll let you know what I turn up.

The Logitech Spotlight is expensive because unlike most presentation remotes, you can move the cursor just by waving it around in the air (though you can get it for much less from other stores). Most remotes don’t control the cursor at all, to the computer it appears to be a keyboard but one with only a few buttons.

I haven’t tried one but when I looked at information about it, my hunch is the software isn’t required for it to act as a Bluetooth mouse or for simple left/right arrow buttons. The software is definitely needed to give the cursor the spotlight, magnify, or laser pointer effects as well as customizing the button functions. A reason to use such software instead of a literal laser is if a recording or livestream of your computer screen is being made, a real laser will only be seen by people in the same room.

Thanks, Curtis. Makes sense.

That seems fairly fancy for what I need. So any recommendations for something that’s really simple yet works well? There’s tons of remotes on Amazon, but I have no idea which ones really work well on a Mac and w/o special software.

I reinstalled the Logitech software and it works great again. I’m not sure why it stopped working in the first place, but the reinstall fixxed all.

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I’m near people who use presentation remotes but don’t use one myself so I don’t have a specific recommendation. If this is your first remote, maybe don’t think too much about it and buy a cheap (less than $35 USD) “starter remote” that has 4+ stars on Amazon based on a decent quantity of reviews. Through use you can learn what failings/limitations are a problem for you and which aren’t.

All remotes basically map particular keyboards keys to a few buttons, the left and right arrows being the most essential, they work with basically every application including things like Finder’s CoverFlow. Generally remotes have a “start” button but it may not work in all applications (in may even only work in PowerPoint, not Keynote or Preview). To me, a remote doesn’t need to start because I have to be at the computer to open the file anyway. If you know you’ll regularly have presentations that include video, a remote that can control volume (at the OS level) could be useful but it may be tricky to find one that will also play/pause embedded videos (BTW, the Apple media keys can control YouTube in Safari); at the same time, if videos are linked to instead of embedded, you’ll probably have to go to the computer to click the link if you’re not using a remote with cursor control like the Logitech Spotlight or Gyration Air Mouse. “Image mute” (maps the ‘b’ key, works in PowerPoint & Keynote, not Preview) can be useful when you want to pause and not have screen be a distraction).

Bluetooth is convenient with the Mac but the cheapest remotes seem to require a USB receiver. Bluetooth is also less convenient and a USB receiver when sharing the remote with others, especially others with Windows. I don’t see any remotes that use USB-C so if you have an MBP from the past couple of years, you’ll need an adapter. This is also true of using USB to recharge, the remote’s port is probably micro USB and the bundled cable will be USB type A on the other end. Replaceable batteries should last a long time so long as a remote doesn’t have a problem with accidentally being turned on in a bag (especially turning on a laser); a different Logitech remote lists over 1,000 hours of presenting time and 20 hours of (red) laser time.

Green lasers are brighter and easier to see, especially over longer distances, but use more power and are more expensive than remotes with red ones.

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Thanks, Curtis. That sounds like a very reasonable approach. I don’t use video/audio in presentations, I just need to fwd/rev through mostly PDFs, sometimes also a Keynote or PP. I’ll try out something that gets lots of good reviews and if I don’t like it I’ll send it back.

We use the Logitech R400 and it just works and works. It uses a dongle that requires keeping track of which is not optimal. I’ve looked at and tried others with less success than these. The biggest problem we have with these is that people don’t realize there’s an on/off switch and although we never turn them off, sometimes users do and then can’t figure out why it’s not working. Works well on PDFs, keynote and PowerPoint preeentstions. Batteries last forever.


Years ago, I had a Kensington Presentation Remote where you stored the dongle in the remote when you weren’t using it.

The Logitech R400’s USB receiver is also stored within the body of the remote but when you have multiple people using one with multiple computers, it’s still possible to lose track of it. Looking at photos, its receiver is relatively large, which is a good thing in this sense. The keyboard and mice models we have use a tiny receiver that would be much easier to forget and leave plugged in (ours are always used with the same computer so that’s not an issue). The larger size of the R400’s receiver probably helps with reception over longer distances.