Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth

[Update 2012-03-08] As discussed in the comments below, Apple broke the Bluetooth connectivity between Keynote and Keynote Remote in iOS 5.0 and 5.0.1. The good news is that they fixed it again in iOS 5.1 [/Update]

When you're wrong, you should admit it: When looking at Keynote Remote, I claimed that the connection between the controlling device and the device being controlled was only possible via WLAN. Turns out I was wrong: It also works with a Bluetooth connection.

Kudos to "Tulse", a user of Apple's discussion forums who posted detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set up a Bluetooth connection between an iPhone (or iPod Touch) and Keynote on the iPad. I'll reproduce them here:

  1. Turn off WiFi on both devices.
  2. Turn on Bluetooth on both devices.
  3. On the iPhone / iPod Touch, start Keynote Remote. Ignore the fact that it tells you that it requires a WiFi connection ...
  4. Set up a new connection: Tap on Settings and choose New Keynote Link. The four-digit code appears.
  5. On the iPad, start Keynote. Tap the wrench icon, select Settings, then Remote.
  6. If you already have a connection with your iPhone / iPod Touch (via WLAN), disconnect it.
  7. Wait a few seconds for the remote device to (re-)appear. Tap the "Link" button and enter the four-digit code.
  8. That's all. You can now control the presentation from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

(Actually, if you already have established a connection between the two devices over WLAN, you should be able to use it without any further setup once you've disabled WiFi and enabled Bluetooth.)

The trick in all this is that you need to disable the WiFi connection. From the description of Keynote Remote on the AppStore:

And if Wi-Fi becomes unavailable, Keynote Remote looks for a Bluetooth connection on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

What's confusing, as mentioned above, is that when you start Keynote Remote with WiFi off, it even tells you that it needs a WLAN connection - no mention of Bluetooth. On the other hand, the Remote setting in Keynote does mention both WiFi and Bluetooth. What's also confusing is that the pairing is done in Keynote, unlike normal Bluetooth pairing (e.g. with a keyboard), which is done in the iOS Settings app.

What does this all mean? The good news is that you can in fact remote control Keynote even without a WiFi connection. The bad news is that it still requires another iOS device which, as I mentioned elsewhere, can be a bit bulky.

P.S. If you'd rather use a more conventional remote, the Satechi Smart Pointer may be worth a look.

Creative Commons Licence "Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth" by Dirk Haun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Here's what others have to say about 'Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth':

Keynote for iOS: Bluetooth connectivity fixed in iOS 5.1 - The Mobile Presenter
[...] Thursday, March 08 2012 @ 21:30 CET by Dirk One of the most popular articles on this site is Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth , which contains a step-be-step description on how to establish a Bluetooth connection between [...] [read more]
Tracked on Thursday, March 08 2012 @ 21:32 CET

Basics: How does a remote work? - The Mobile Presenter
[...] can see that it is a proprietary solution from the fact that in order to pair the iOS devices, the pairing has to be done in the Keynote app (instead of the iOS system settings app). I'm not sure why Apple decided to use a proprietary [...] [read more]
Tracked on Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 11:03 CEST

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: James Moyer on Wednesday, June 15 2011 @ 06:05 CEST

Thank you for this post. I was trying to figure this out as I have the iPad and the iPhone for my listing presentations.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Pieter Aart on Wednesday, June 15 2011 @ 18:39 CEST

Thank you soo much. This saves me from carrying an extra airport express around.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Chet on Wednesday, June 22 2011 @ 15:42 CEST

This is awesome and by far the clearest instructions on how to accomplish this. Others are faffing about with Personal Hotspots etc when it's simply a case of pairing the devices from within Keynote and Keynote Remote.

Thanks!!

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2011 @ 19:00 CEST

One caveat, I think it may require at least an iphone 3GS for this to work. My 3G can't seem to connect to the ipad 2 (difference in bluetooth versions?) If anyone has had success with this, would love to hear about it.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: John on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 08:00 CEST

Yeah, that may be true. My 2nd generation iPod Touch can't control Keynote on my 2010 MB Air via bluetooth neither. The window of four digits authorisation has never appeared on Keynote. But anyway, thanks for sharing the tip. ;-)

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Luis on Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 09:18 CEST

Neither is working with my iPod touch 2g for keynote for iPad perhaps there's a problem of compatibility with iOS.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 28 2012 @ 20:20 CEST

I don't know if anyone's still interested, but the above mentioned procedure worked fine with my ipod touch 2nd generation and my ipad2:
First, I established in my local w-lan at home a bluetooth connection between those two. Now, every time I want to use keynote-remote on my ipod during a presentation, I disable w-lan on both devices, enable bluetooth on both devices, start keynote-remote on my ipod, ignore the w-lan demand, start keynote on my ipad, tap the wrench icon, select settings, then remote and click on the already established connection, not having to use any digital codes at all. This works fine.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 15:24 CEST

Can anyone post the link to this app on Apple story. When I tried to find it there I saw two mobile presenter. I dont know wich one should I use to work on mu IPad/iPhone connection.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Dirk on Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 15:42 CEST

The name of the app is Keynote Remote. It's from Apple and it's only available for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Nealf on Tuesday, September 06 2011 @ 02:16 CEST

I have been unsuccessful in pairing my MacBook Air with my iPhone 4. I followed all the directions given. Any suggestions?

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: tlobs on Wednesday, October 05 2011 @ 17:57 CEST

Brilliant. Nice and clear.

Just what I need for my presentation in a none wi-fi environment this weekend.

Thank you :-)

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: David Williamson on Monday, November 14 2011 @ 16:26 CET

Doesn't work for me. Have a 1G iPad and a 4G iPod touch, both running iOS 5. I could previously get Keynote Remote working over WiFi on my home network, but at work they don't want to talk to each other. I hadn't thought about turning off the WiFi to force using Bluetooth, but that doesn't seem to work either. Any suggestions welcome.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Dirk on Monday, November 14 2011 @ 22:38 CET

Yeah, Apple broke this functionality in iOS 5, unfortunately. Haven't had a chance to test if iOS 5.01 fixed it again.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 21:11 CET

Is it true? Apple broke the keynote bluetooth link between ipad and iphone in the ios 5? Thanks.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 19 2011 @ 11:43 CET

I can confirm that running iOS5 on the presenter side, Bluetooth connection doesn't work. I got an iPhone 4 with 4.3.3 running the remote and an iPad2 5.01 with latest Keynote. WiFi works great, but no reaction at all in BT mode. Only solution so far is to enable a personal WiFi-Hotspot on the phone, pairing the iPad and then launching the remote.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 22:16 CET

Has anyone experiance issues with the Bluetooth connection after iOS 5 update on iPad 2? It was working just fine before the update?

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 14 2011 @ 22:15 CET

No Bluetooth connection between iPod touch and iPad 2 possible. Both run on latest iOS 5.01. Odd thing I both devices see all other Bluetooth devices in the surroundings (cell phones, keyboards, etc.), but not each other. Very frustrating! Keynote Remote works fine with both using WiFi.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 06 2012 @ 05:03 CET

I have iphone 4s and ipad 2 does not work at all. I follow all the steps... Nothing happened. No connection.. :(

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 16 2012 @ 19:21 CET

Hi I really like the work you've done creating this step by step process.
In fact my co-works said using your iphone as a remote for you ipad (connecting using bluetooth) while your Ipad was connected to a projector wasn't possible. Using your process I not only looked good but by boss LOVED it. He uses for presentations all over the USA/Canada (Soon world).
last friday he couldn't get it working. I followed the process several times... It won't connect.

Here is what I tried/found:
-The Ipad will not recognize the iphone as a remote.
-Both devices bluetooth are working.
-Using Wifi they connect fine.
-When wifi is connected then shut off the devices become disconnected and won't recognize each other.
-I reinstalled the Keynote remote on Iphone still not working.

-I tried to find

Any help would be awesome. Thank you for your Time.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Dirk on Monday, January 16 2012 @ 21:21 CET

As mentioned above (and maybe I should put it in bold above the article): Apple broke the Bluetooth connection in iOS 5. It should still work via WiFi.

Let's hope they fix it again in a later iOS release. Sending them some feedback can't hurt either ...

Workaround for iOS5: Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 16 2012 @ 22:47 CET

So, as said elsewhere, since iOS5, Bluetooth is broken. There's a workaround that works, but has a negative aspect.

On your Mac, create a new network (right click on the Wifi icon in the menu). Name it anything simple, like "keynote".
Join that network on your iPhone - sometimes you need to add in manually, just join "keynote".

After that you can use the iPhone remote, even if you have no access to the network.

the caveat is this: You can't use the wifi on either unit (iPhone or Mac) to access the internet as long as you have this link active.

Workaround for iOS5: Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, February 27 2012 @ 21:06 CET

This worked perfectly. You just saved my life. Thanks!!!

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Oscar on Sunday, February 26 2012 @ 21:12 CET

Tried the solsting serveras Times' - no luck. The Bluetooth simply does not work. They might as well put that in the App description, and stop charging a dollar for this hardly-working app...

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: Peter Watts on Monday, April 09 2012 @ 15:57 CEST

Thanks so much for this. Clean, easy-to-follow instructions that worked for me first time around.
Really useful information. Thank you.

May the Google Algorhyhtm send you to the top of the search rankings. You deserve to be there :-)

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: ray doyle on Thursday, September 27 2012 @ 09:54 CEST

brilliant, from a non it tech I managed to do it having bought bluetooth remote bt media that does not control keynote although it promises it works with ipad.

A big thank you

Ray doyle

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: MichaelLoh on Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 15:25 CET

I am using iPhone 5 on iOS 6.0.1 and tied to control keynote 5.2 via bluetooth ...but all attempts came to no avail.
Any suggestions on how I might solve this problem please...??

Thank you.

Remote controlling Keynote for iOS via Bluetooth
Authored by: RealTalkReub on Tuesday, February 26 2013 @ 22:24 CET

Crystal Clear!!! Thanks!