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I know my macbook has an infrared port, but I don't know what it's used for.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Most typically, it is used for the Apple Remote, which can control iTunes, QuickTime and various other built in software. Additionally, 3rd party software (see Sofa Remote and Remote Buddy) also makes use of the device and can tie in much more functionality.

In the past (prior to Lion), the Apple Remote was an excellent companion to Front Row, a media manager that some call the predecessor to the Apple TV interface.

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