Apple’s own Keynote Remote app still not fixed for iOS 5 (but here’s how to do it)

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iOS 5 came out last month. Even the stragglers among developers have gotten around to fixing any bugs that were introduced to in the new OS since then, and most things are like they should in the iOS world. One developer, however, still hasn’t bothered to fix all its apps. That developer is Apple. The Keynote Remote app is a iPhone app that while working on the iPad is actually best used on an actual iPhone – to control the iPad. Or a Macbook, for that matter. It allows you to connect to an iPad over WiFi or Bluetooth and act as a remote control for the iPad’s Keynote app. Considering that the full Keynote app on the iPad supports external displays fully (compared to just mirroring the display) this combination turns an iPad and an iPhone/iPod touch/another iPad into a rather powerful presentation tool where you do things like show a slide on an external screen, show upcoming slides on the iPad screen and at the same time walk around controlling the slides and reading any embedded presentation notes on the iPhone. Triple displays, basically.

It’s a great app, but it all went out the window in iOS 5. WiFi connectivity still works, but trying to connect over Bluetooth simply doesn’t do anything as the devices can’t see one another. This is a pretty serious bug and it amazes me that Apple hasn’t bothered to fix this – heck, it should have been fixed before iOS 5 even came out. If you read the comments in iTunes you will learn that there is a workaround though; use any app that created a Bluetooth connection between devices (I downloaded Bluetooth Photo Share since it is free), make the two devices connect, open the multitasking menu and switch to keynote(/remote). You need to have Keynote running on the iPad and Keynote Remote on the controlling device so you can switch quickly. If you do it right, they should now see each other. You will have to do this trick for every reconnect unless it’s very immediately after disconnecting.

A simple and free fix, but not exactly an obvious one, and it adds another step to connecting. Keynote and Keynote Remote is exactly the kind of app that someone might use on an iPad issued by their workplace – like a teacher, office worker etc – and having those types of apps break like this without getting fixed is absolutely inexcusable by Apple.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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