Today's the day: the first Remote Buddy 2.0 public beta is here! 🎉
The journey to this milestone has been a very long one for me - and I couldn't be happier to finally share with the world what I've been working on:
RCKit: All New Drivers
One of the biggest areas of change in version 2.0 is in drivers.
All drivers have been rewritten from scratch (and many new ones been added) as part of a multi-year effort to create a new technology stack: RCKit.
RCKit is highly modular and dynamic by design and contains everything needed to build modern remote control apps.
Remote Buddy 2.0 is the first product to adopt and ship with parts of RCKit. Besides improved drivers and support for new devices, that also means that Remote Buddy is no longer dependent on kernel extensions - and in fact no longer includes any.
Exclusive Flirc Features
Also new in version 2.0 is support for the Flirc USB stick that packs an ARM processor and IR transceiver into a beautiful stainless steel enclosure.
Flirc and IOSPIRIT have teamed up to deliver an integrated software and hardware experience and deliver new features that weren't possible before.
Apple Remote wake-up support
The first new feature to ship is Apple Remote wake-up support.
For a long time, Remote Buddy has allowed using an Apple Remote with newer Macs (that come without IR Receiver) via USB IR receivers. Yet, none of them had dedicated Apple Remote wake-up support like Apple's, requiring users to find other ways to wake up their Mac.
No longer. Starting with version 4.8.2, the Flirc firmware allows Remote Buddy to enable wake-up by any, a single - or multiple Apple Remotes. Which is not just matching, but surpassing the capabilities of Apple's IR Receiver.
If you'd like to try the new wake-up feature, a beta of the new Flirc firmware is available in the Flirc forums.
Support for Logitech Harmony remotes
Harmony IR remotes (300, 525, 800, One)
A special Remote Buddy Universal profile is now available in Logitech's device database.
It has been specifically designed by IOSPIRIT to allow the usage with all IR receivers supported by Remote Buddy - including Apple IR receivers.
Setup instructions can be found here.
Harmony Hub remotes (Smart Control, Companion, Ultimate, Elite)
Remote Buddy 2.0 extends support for Harmony Hub based remotes, offering a wider range of remote controls to pick from.
Version 2.0 also no longer needs your Mac to be paired as PS3. Instead, you can now pair your Mac as … Mac. New setup instructions can be found here.
Existing pairings from version 1.x (as PS3) are migrated automatically and can continue to be used.
Support for new remotes
Remote Buddy 2.0 also supports additional IR and Bluetooth remotes:
Amazon Fire TV remotes
These Amazon Fire TV remotes are supported:
- the original Amazon Fire TV Remote (Bluetooth, included with 1st gen Fire TV Stick)
- the original Amazon Fire TV Voice Remote (Bluetooth, included with 1st gen Fire TV)
- the new Alexa Voice Remote (Bluetooth LE, included with the 2019 / 2nd generation Fire TV stick)
The microphone included in the Voice models is not supported.
Windows MCE remotes
If you bought an eHome / Windows MCE USB IR receiver for use with Remote Buddy, you'll often also have gotten an IR remote alongside it.
Previously, these IR remotes could not be used with Remote Buddy. But with version 2.0, many of them can now be used with external USB IR receivers - with three frequently bundled models from Microsoft, Philips and Trust receiving direct support.
More Bluetooth remotes
Remote Buddy 2.0 also adds support for these Bluetooth remotes:
Is your remote missing?
If you're using a remote that's not currently supported by Remote Buddy, and you'd like to see support for it in the future, please get in touch.
Remote Buddy's new RCKit foundation has Diagnostics deeply baked in. This feature can automatically detect many issues, notify users and - where possible - offers one-click solutions.
Privacy & Security settings
For several years now, Apple has kept improving macOS security and privacy protections by casting an ever-expanding net with permissions. This has led to a fast-growing (sometimes excessive) number of permission prompts for users.
Dealing with these permission prompts can be painful and surprisingly complex for both users and developers.
Due to its rich feature set and its ability to control and use so many different parts of macOS, Remote Buddy is increasingly affected by this. So I did a lot of research and experimentation to find ways to improve the user experience around granting permissions.
Here's the result:
Introducing… Privacy & Security settings! New in Remote Buddy 2.0, they offer:
- a consistent overview of all relevant permissions in a single place
- explanations detailing how each permission is used
- complete guidance through all necessary steps to grant a permission, simplifying the process as much as possible (by f.ex. opening the right section of System Preferences, or relaunching the app if necessary)
- access to other privacy-related options like Analytics and Check for updates
These settings are powered by a new, modular permissions framework (currently still under development). If you develop Mac software and have interest in bringing Privacy & Security settings like these to your own app, please get in touch.
macOS Catalina, 64-bit, old version support
Remote Buddy 2.0 is now a 64-bit app and compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina. The minimum supported macOS version is now macOS 10.12 Sierra.
Remote Buddy 1.x will remain available for download for users of older macOS releases. A final update to Remote Buddy 1.x will ensure that it can be used with Remote Buddy 2.0 license codes.
No further updates to version 1.x are planned beyond that.
Remote Buddy 2.0 will be a free update for all Remote Buddy 1.x licenses purchased in 2018 and 2019.
For licenses purchased before 2018, the new version will be a paid upgrade.
Pricing has not yet been determined and will be announced at a later date.
An upgrade path from Remote Buddy Express (the Mac App Store version) to Remote Buddy 2.0 is planned and currently evaluated.
If you'd like to be notified when new betas and the final release becomes available, please sign up for the IOSPIRIT newsletter:
Remote Buddy 2.0 Public Beta 1
Please keep in mind this is a beta, so it's entirely possible (even likely) you'll encounter bugs - and that the release version will be different in many ways.
If you have an existing Remote Buddy installation, please make a backup of your settings before launching Remote Buddy 2.0 Public Beta for the first time.
Use the Public Beta only at your own risk.
- Music Library access is not yet supported under macOS 10.15
- the new Apple TV and Podcasts app in macOS 10.15 are not yet supported
- migration from Remote Buddy Express is not yet implemented
- the padding around iTunes' Now Playing and EyeTV recording overviews is too small
- accessing Help from within Remote Buddy doesn't work
- dark mode is not supported
- Macs connected to the router via WiFi can experience stuttering when using the trackpad or screen sharing from the iOS or tvOS companion apps. Since this issue does not occur with Macs connected to the same router via Ethernet or running earlier versions of macOS, this issue is highly likely a bug in Catalina's WiFi drivers.
- not an issue: the Hotkey Remote is now turned off by default. To re-enable it, go to Prefs > Hardware > Virtual Receiver and check the box in front of Hotkey Remote.
- Flirc USB (Gen 2) IR transceiver new
- Apple IR receivers
- Keyspan IR receivers (UIA-11, UIA-11F)
- MCE/eHome IR receivers (list of compatible receivers available here)
- Apple Remote
- Keyspan IR remotes
- Logitech Harmony 300 new
- Logitech Harmony 525 new
- Logitech Harmony 880 new
- Logitech Harmony One new
- MCE remotes (three common models included) new
- Amazon Alexa Voice Remote (Bluetooth LE, included with 2019 / 2nd gen Fire TV Stick) new
- Amazon Fire TV Remote (included with 1st gen Fire TV Stick) new
- Amazon Fire TV Remote Voice (included with 1st gen Fire TV) new
- Logitech Harmony Companion new
- Logitech Harmony Elite new
- Logitech Harmony Smart Control
- Logitech Harmony Ultimate new
- Nintendo Wii Remote (not plus!)
- Satechi Media Remote new
- SMK Blu-Link PS3 Remote new
- Sony PS3 BD Remote
- Keyspan RF Remote for Front Row (with ER-RF1 receiver)
- Griffin AirClick USB
- iOS devices running Remote Buddy Mobile (on the same network)
- tvOS devices running Remote Buddy Display (on the same network)
Status of Siri Remote support
Direct support for Apple's Siri Remote is not planned for the initial 2.0 release. Basic support may follow in a later release. A different, Siri Remote focused product is still under development and scheduled to ship in 2020.
Remote Buddy 2.0 requires a Mac running macOS 10.12 Sierra or later. It's compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina.
Setting up Harmony IR remotes
Setting up a Harmony IR remote for use with Remote Buddy is really simple:
In Remote Buddy
- Click on Remote Buddy's menu bar icon and select "Setup new device…".
- Select your Harmony IR remote and click "Add device".
- Click "Proceed" after following the displayed configuration steps (reproduced below):
- Launch "MyHarmony.app" and log into your Harmony account.
- Select your Harmony remote.
- Inside the overview for your remote, select "Devices" on the left.
- Click on "Add device".
- Enter "iospirit" as Manufacturer and "Remote Buddy Universal" as Device Model Number.
- Click on the "Add" button.
- Connect your Harmony remote via USB and click on "Sync".
- If the Enter ("E") button below the remote's numpad doesn't work, go to the Buttons section, select the Iospirit Media Player device and check that the Enter command has been assigned to the button. If not, locate it in the list of commands on the right and drag and drop it onto the button.
- If you can't control Remote Buddy with your remote, check that the device has been selected on the remote. You can find the button to which the Iospirit Media Player device has been assigned by selecting Iospirit Media Player under Devices. The name of the button can then be found above the list of actions for the device. Press that button on your Harmony remote to switch to that device and control Remote Buddy.
Setting up Harmony Hub-based remotes
If you have already set up a Harmony Hub-based remote in Remote Buddy 1.x, your settings will be migrated automatically.
If you want to set up a new Harmony Hub-based remote with Remote Buddy 2.0, follow these steps:
- Open the Harmony app on your smartphone
- Switch to the "Devices" tab and select "Edit"
- Tap "+ Device" at the bottom of the list
- On the "Add device" screen, select "Computer"
- On the "Add computer" screen, select "Mac", then tap the ">" arrow at the top
- Select "Yes" when asked if you'd like to creation an Action with the new device
- Under "Choose devices", select only the new device, then tap the ">" arrow at the top
- You're now asked to manually turn on your computer. Tap the ">" arrow at the top.
- You're now asked to confirm your computer is turned on. At this point:
- On your Mac, click on Remote Buddy's menu bar icon and select "Setup new device…".
- Select your Harmony IR remote and click "Add device".
- In the Harmony app on your smartphone, tap the ">" arrow at the top.
- The Harmony now shows pairing instructions. At this point:
- Wait for "Harmony Keyboard" to show up in the Bluetooth device list on your Mac.
- Click "Connect" next to "Harmony Keyboard" to pair it.
- If successful, the app now confirms that the pairing has been successful. Tap the ">" arrow at the top.
- Select "Test later" if asked whether you want to test the Action now.
Adjusting the button configuration
In order to be able to use all buttons on your remote to control Remote Buddy, the actions to some buttons need to be changed in the Harmony app. To do this, follow these steps:
- In the Harmony app on your smartphone, tap the "hamburger" icon at the top-left.
- Select "Harmony Setup".
- Select "Add or edit devices and actions".
- Select "Actions".
- Select the action you created for your Mac.
- Select "Configure Remote".
- Select "Edit Buttons".
- Go through the table below and tap those buttons for which the "Change needed" column contains "Yes", then make sure the Short and Long actions for these buttons match what is listed in the table.
- When done, back out of the menu to sync the changes.
|Button||Action for Short / Long press||Change needed|
|Rewind||Rewind / Rewind||-|
|Play||Play / Play||-|
|Fast Forward||Fast Forward / Fast Forward||-|
|Record||R / R||Yes|
|Pause||P / P||Yes|
|Stop||S / S||Yes|
|Red||C / C||-|
|Green||D / D||-|
|Yellow||E / E||Yes|
|Blue||F / F||Yes|
|DVR||V / V||Yes|
|Guide||G / G||Yes|
|Info||N / N||Yes|
|Exit||B / B||Yes|
|Menu||Menu / Menu||-|
|Vol +||VolumeUp / VolumeUp||-|
|Vol -||VolumeDown / VolumeDown||-|
|Ch Up||ChannelUp / ChannelUp||Yes|
|Ch Down||ChannelDown / ChannelDown||Yes|
|Direction Up||DirectionUp / DirectionUp||-|
|Direction Down||DirectionDown / DirectionDown||-|
|Direction Left||DirectionLeft / DirectionLeft||-|
|Direction Right||DirectionRight / DirectionRight||-|
|Direction SelectOK / OK||-|
|Mute||Mute / Mute||-|
|Back||Back / Back||-|
|1||1 / 1||-|
|2||2 / 2||-|
|3||3 / 3||-|
|4||4 / 4||-|
|5||5 / 5||-|
|6||6 / 6||-|
|7||7 / 7||-|
|8||8 / 8||-|
|9||9 / 9||-|
|0||0 / 0||-|
|.-||H / H||Yes|
|E||M / M||Yes|