OSX Yosemite and iOS8 Keynote: an interactive classroom duo

When Apple decided to rewrite the iWorks’ suite over 18 months ago, many were disappointed by missing features. Zoom to Yosemite and iOS8 versions, and I must say that not only do Keynote, Numbers and Pages are now greats apps, but there actually work extremely well both on the desktop and on the iPad (I do not really use these apps on the iPhone).

Keynote has always been, in my opinion, the best software in its class for presentations. I even successfully used Keynote to open corrupted PPT (files corrupted according to PowerPoint itself!) and save the day. However, for a long time it was difficult to import complex presentations with multiple transitions and integrated movies. The iOS version was not on par with its Desktop brother. I must say that since Yosemite and iOS8, these hurdles have been mostly addressed. Furthermore, opening PPT files in Keynote gives more than adequate results also most of the time.

OSX/iOS Compatible presentations


In Keynote OSX, if you open the application preferences you will find in the General menu two checkboxes at the bottom (my screen capture above is in French but the boxes are at the same place). The first one make sure that any audio and video files used are integrated within your Keynote document. The second optic the video for compatibility with iOS devices. I have tested it with small and fairly large video files and its works just perfectly when the presentation in transferred to my iPad (iOS8).

Handoff and Continuity



With the latest desktop and iDevice systems, Apple released great functions that allows you to start working on a document on your Mac and continue on your iPhone/iPad seamlessly (how to set-up these function here and a review can be found here). This works for Mail, Safari, Notes, Pages, Numbers, Keynotes and others.

Keynote in the classroom: a winner for interactive presentations

One of the great things about these new versions of Keynote and that they work together way better then before. Sure, you can use your iPhone as a remote for changing slides for quite sometimes. In the new version you can do much more.

In a first step, set-up your Mac on the multimedia projector as you’ve always done. Make sure your iPad and Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network. If not create a computer-to-computer network on your Mac and select it on your iPad.

Open your presentation in Keynote on your Mac. Go to the preference menu again and select the remote icon, active the remote option checkbox on the left.




Fire Keynote on your iPad and pick the small iDevice icon in the top left. You will get a welcome screen and select continue (“Continuer” in the above image) and go to the Mac side. You will see your iPad in the remote preference section and now simply click the pairing button (“Jumeler” in the above image) and confirm.


You will now see a big green play button on your iPad. Click it and you are now in presentation mode. Not only will you control the presentation from your iPad but you will also be able to select what information is displayed on it (middle icon in the top right of you screen). In the sample image below, I have the current and next slide displayed.

Presentation options

If you swipe to the right, you can access all the slides in the presentation and select one directly. This action is done locally on the iPad screen, nothing of what you see here is displayed on the big screen.




The left-most icon in the top right corner of the screen, give you access to various tools. These are really cool for the classroom. If you click this icon, you will see only the current slide on your iPad screen (image below). You now have a visual laser tool, but also writing tools. If you click OK, you are brought back to your current display mode (e.g. current and next slide). You can also remove all writing with the little counter-clock wise arrow icon.

iOS writing tool




Simultaneous big screen display of action performed on the iPad



The combination of OS X Keynote and iOS8 Keynote is actually working really great in the classroom. You are not stuck to a fix spot in the class and, better than a standard remote (like the Kensington remote), you can actually point, underline and write on your slides (in addition to navigate them) from anywhere in the room.



  1. Luc, what are you doing about “backward compatibility” for your older Keynote presentations? I was unpleasantly surprised this past year to find that my old Keynote presentations are unusable (other than that they can be opened and viewed by Preview) with the current version of Keynote. Have you found a workaround?


    1. You need to have iWork 09 still instal (Keynote version 5.3). That being said, I just realized that my copy of iWork 09 is working on only one of my OS X devices and won’t launch on the other devices. Will try to reinstall from scratch and see what happen!


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