My Apple Remote was not working with my iMac which is running 10.7.4.

When I attempted to pair the remote to the computer, by holding down the menu and the next track buttons, the following symbol appears in the center of my screen.

square in the middle, triangles on the sides, and arrows in the corners

After resetting the SMC, the Apple remote is working as usual. In particular, holding down the menu and the next track buttons displays the "linked chain" icon, indicating that the remote has been paired to the computer.

But I am still curious, what does the image mean?

  • Do you have any other remote software installed? Like Candleair or Remote Buddy? – jmlumpkin May 21 '12 at 18:12
  • No, I do not. - – Nathan Grigg May 22 '12 at 14:37
  • How did you capture that icon image? Any chance that this icon is coming from your monitor rather than the computer? – Old Pro May 25 '12 at 7:27
  • 1
    I did a screen capture, so it is coming from the computer. – Nathan Grigg May 25 '12 at 13:22
  • A Google reverse image search only comes up with these for matches: ss.gy/x – Andrew Larsson May 29 '12 at 17:25

Since no-one has a good guess, here is how I would try to track it down.

  1. Turn off Time Machine
  2. Reboot the mac
  3. open terminal
  4. run this command sudo fs_usage -w
  5. let fs_usage run for a bit and make sure all disk access is to a minimum,
  6. repeat the steps to make that icon appear - noting the time to the second
  7. press -C to kill the fs_usage dump and scroll back to see what application or files were being read when the icon appeared.

Posting a guess in case it helps someone else figure out the answer.

I've now looked at nearly every icon on my Lion MacBook Pro, and a lot of the PNG's too. I have found most of what I expected to find but still not this symbol.

My guess is that your icon is related to the iMac going into or coming out of target display mode. Perhaps it was trying to go into target display mode but you didn't have anything connected and this was how it was complaining about there being no signal. It is a known problem with iMacs that they can erratically go into target display mode when the SMC is having problems.

So far, the closest I have found is

this icon

which is obviously different, but close. It is for changing a slide show to fit-to-screen mode.

  • This would be a long shot in my experience. All previous target display modes simply switch the screen with no sort of overlay and you will get a black screen if there is no signal in. I suppose this could be some indication that you have no signal detected, but I would expect that to be documented here or here or here. – bmike May 29 '12 at 16:42
  • @bmike, I agree it is a long shot, although I think it is somewhat analogous to the on screen brightness and contrast displays. As for the documentation, I found there appears to be a deliberate decision to keep on-screen graphics out of the documentation. Try, for example, to find official Apple documentation showing (not just telling) what appears on the screen when you on un-pair an Apple remote control. Even for brightness and contrast, while you can perhaps find documentation that shows the symbols, it is in the context of what is on the keyboard, not what is on screen. – Old Pro May 29 '12 at 17:17
  • I hope you are right about the icon - it would be most welcome in that case. Also, your criticism of the inability to search for what on screen overlay icons exist is well-founded. I would expect a help article given Apple's normal level of attention to detail, but can't find one either. – bmike May 29 '12 at 17:27

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