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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Rowmote Pro, for your Mac remote controlling needs

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

As much as I like my Apple TV, sometimes I need to fall back on my Mac mini server for watching content. These days, that’s more often than not because services like Hulu don’t always have the rights to stream certain shows to set-top boxes or mobile devices.


So to the Mac mini it is! Unfortunately, it’s not the most friendly device for watching content, because it usually means interacting with a web browser via a keyboard and/or mouse. But that’s when I fall back on my trusty remote control app: Rowmote Pro.1

I’ve been using Rowmote Pro for a long time; there are other apps for controlling your Mac using your iPhone or iPad, and most of them are perfectly fine–this one just happens to be my favorite.

Back when I was still running Plex as an app on my Mac mini, I used Rowmote’s Apple-Remote-style interface a lot, but now I rely much more on the trackpad/keyboard option. It makes it easy to access modifier keys like Control, Option, and Command, whether you’re using the trackpad or the keyboard, and there’s a Function mode that lets you access other common keys, like the cursors, Page Up/Page Down, F-keys, and so on. I also find that Rowmote allows me to drag files much more seamlessly than most of the other similar apps I’ve tried in the past, and it’s got good support for two-finger scrolling.

Rowmote also provides quick access to launching applications on your Mac, and–in a really nice touch–even offers a mini version of your Dock, letting you quickly switch between open apps or launch other programs you use frequently.

I’ve run into very few problems with Rowmote over the years, and most of those have been rapidly fixed by an update to the app or its OS X helper companion. The $5 I spent on Rowmote Pro those many years ago has proved itself a worthy investment–if you don’t need the trackpad/keyboard option, there’s also a $1 version. Either way, if you ever need to control a Mac from your couch, Rowmote is what I would recommend.

  1. I do have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that I use when all else fails, but they’re just so much slower to turn on and pair than using Rowmote. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]

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