Is it possible to power on Mac Mini with Remote Control?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mike31mets, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. mike31mets macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I'm trying to use my Mac Mini in the living room as a media center. It's only purpose will be to stream video from NetFlix. However I don't want any keyboard or mouse to be attached. I want it to work with just a remote control. I was thinking of using FrontRow but the only plug-in I could find for NetFlix was called Understudy and that requires one to log in via a web browser (which means a keyboard is needed). If anyone knows of anything else that wouldn't require a keyboard and mouse, please let me know.

    So I was thinking of using Vista with Windows Media Center which is already setup on this Mac Mini. I got a Microsoft Remote Control and Receiver that works with Media Center from one of my PCs. Everything works great so far. I can open up MCE and navigate without any hassle. I can even turn off the Mac Mini.

    Here's the Remote Control and Receiver in question if it helps:

    The problem I encounter is that I'm trying to power on the Mac Mini using the Remote Control as well, but it's not working. I don't know why that is. Is there any way to do this? Why would it not turn on with the Microsoft Remote Control?

    If it helps, this is the Mac Mini Core 2 Duo 1.83ghz that was released in August 07. It's running OS X 10.5 and Vista Ultimate in Boot Camp. I also have the Apple Remote that came with it (the original white plastic remote). I tried seeing if I could turn on the Mac Mini with the Apple Remote and that didn't work either.

    Any help is much appreciated.
  2. RealaT macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    Check out Plex ( and Boxee (

    Both should be able to do what you want using the standard Apple remote
  3. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    I use plex with a dinovo mini remote and it works perfect.
  4. tkboss88 macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2009
    air mouse server

    if you have an iphone, you can use Air Mouse Server. basically your iphone because your remote control, your mouse, and your keyboard for any mac that you have. its freakin awesome. the app costs 3 bucks when i bought it. i don't know how much it costs now. highly recommended though :)
  5. mike31mets thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I just wanted to update this so others know what I did. First off I don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch. That would have been a nice setup though. I wouldn't have personally used it in a living room setting where remotes will take a huge beating, but for personal use, perhaps.

    After researching and asking for help, I found out that a Mac Mini cannot be turned on when it is shutdown via a remote. It can be woken up via the Apple Remote if it's in sleep though. So I'm going to just have to deal with putting the Mac Mini to sleep rather than doing a full power down. Not the worse thing in the world. I did however have to uncheck the 'Wake for network access' in the energy saver settings (Apple > System Preferences > Energy Saver Settings > Options > uncheck 'Wake for network access'). This stops the Mac Mini from randomly waking up due to network activity.

    Because I was using Vista Ultimate via BootCamp the bootup time was just too long on this Mac Mini considering what I wanted to do. I was just better off using an application for OS X. So I tested out Boxee and Plex. I liked Plex's interface much better. There were a few quirks I ran into that I fixed.

    First problem:I found that in the Quit option in Plex you can uncover 3 more options: Sleep, Shutdown, and Refresh Skin.

    Since this is going in the living room and not everyone in the house is technologically savvy this can present 2 problems.

    If they quit the application, there's no way for them to restart Plex without a keyboard and mouse (or if they force a shutdown and restart which isn't good for the HDD). It also creates the problem of not being able to easily put the Mac Mini to sleep.

    Solution: Run Plex then:
    Preferences > System > Input Devices > activate "Always running".

    This allows the Menu button to always open Plex. However Quit

    To change the home menu option of "Quit" to "Sleep" you have to do the following:
    Preferences > Skin > Home > Check "Power Menu displays Sleep"

    The last bid that I'm having a problem with is the following:
    I would like to avoid using the interface completely to put the computer to sleep. I'd rather do it through the Apple Remote if at all possible. I found some guides that say:
    Pressing and holding the play/pause on the Apple Remote puts it to sleep.

    But for whatever reason that's not working for me. Anyone have any clue why that would be? Any way to create some combination that would allow me to put the Mac Mini on sleep via the Apple Remote?

    Thanks for letting me know of the applications out there.
  6. millerama macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2010
    I use understudy with a mac mini. You can log in once to netflix and minimize that browser window. I've had the same Firefox window open to my netflix account for about three weeks without a problem. I'm even able to log in from other computers and a tivo box is set up with the same account.

    To address your original question, I leave the mac mini in sleep mode, not ideal, but it works. It uses far less power than a cable box, which is always on.
  7. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    Why not just have Plex put the mini to sleep if its inactive for whatever time you want? Plex puts my mini to sleep if its inactive for 15 minutes and dims the screen after maybe 5? I have the mini set up so that Plex opens at startup.

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