How to Use Keynote Laser Pointer on Mac (& iPhone, iPad)

A MacBook showing a Keynote presentation with Laser Pointer on the screen

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What To Know

  • Keynote on Mac does not have a built-in laser pointer feature, but it’s available on the iPhone/iPad.
  • MacBook users can use a remote feature with an iPhone or iPad to navigate a laser pointer in Keynote presentations.
  • Online meeting platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams offer laser pointer features that can complement Keynote on Mac.

Enhance your Keynote presentations with simulated laser pointer effects – it’s possible, and we’ll show you how.

This concise guide provides practical solutions for when you need that visual punch during your slideshows, utilizing devices like your iPhone or iPad.

We’ll also cover tips for integrating this feature seamlessly into online meeting platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Let’s get started.

How Do You Show and Use Pointers in Keynote?

Keynote has transformed the way we deliver presentations, especially for Mac users. However, if you’ve ever felt the need for a laser pointer during your Keynote presentation, you aren’t without options. 

Note for Mac Users: If you’re using a MacBook running a macOS version below 13, you won’t be able to download Keynote. Hence, always ensure your operating system is updated.

The Keynote app on the Apple Store indicates that MacBooks running OS versions older than OS 13 cannot download the Keynote app.

For those heavily invested in the Mac ecosystem, the absence of a direct laser pointer feature in Keynote can be perplexing. 

However, Apple, known for its interconnected device ecosystem, offers a solution via the iPhone or iPad.

Using Remote Feature With iPhone/iPad

If you’re using Keynote on your iPhone or iPad, things get a tad easier. Let me walk you through it using the iPhone 13 Pro as an example:

Step 1: Launch Keynote on your Mac and set up your presentation. Navigate to Keynote at the top-left corner and choose Preferences.

The Keynote app and Preferences on MacBook Pro M1

Step 2: Inside Preferences, click on the Remotes tab and enable the remote feature.

The remotes tab is being enabled

Step 3: On your iPhone/iPad, open Keynote and tap on the remote feature icon, located in the top-right corner.

The interface of the Keynote app on iPhone 13 Pro with the remote feature on the top right corner

Step 4: Your iPhone/iPad will now appear in the available devices list on your MacBook. Click the Link button to pair them.

The Remotes features on MacBook showing the list of device that can connect to its and the iPhone 13 Pro is ready to connect

Step 5: A unique code will be displayed on both devices. Confirm they match, then click Confirm on your MacBook. If the codes differ, repeat the linking process.

The iPhone 13 Pro next to the MacBook showing the same code for paring the Keynote Remote

Step 6: With the devices paired, you’re set to control your Keynote presentation from your iPhone/iPad. Press Play on either device to start.

Keynote remote feature on iPhone 13 Pro is ready to present with the Play button on the screen

Step 7: During the presentation, press and hold on the iPhone/iPad screen to bring up a control panel. Tap the rightmost option, then choose the laser pointer. It will project onto your Keynote slides.

A presentation with a simulation hand pointing on the screen

A laser pointer with other pen color option on Keynote presentation


Accessing the laser pointer feature on an iPhone or iPad is a breeze. 

For the purpose of this guide, I am using an iPad Gen 10 as an example, but the procedure remains largely the same for the iPhone.

Step 1: Open your Keynote presentation on the iPad. Tap Play to commence presentation mode.

Keynote presentation with the slide showing a gray background color and the Play button is being highlighted with an red arrow

Step 2: Once you’re in the presentation, press and hold on the screen. This will reveal the presentation control panel. From the options that appear, simply tap on the rightmost icon to turn on the laser pointer feature.

iPad Gen 10th with a hand using Apple pencil 1 pointing at the pen features and a MacBook on a side

the iPad Gen 10th with a hand holding an Apple pen that using laser pointer feature

There you go! In just two steps, you can effectively use your iPad as a laser pointer during your Keynote presentations.

Alternative: Using Laser Pointer From Meeting Platform

While Keynote for MacBook might not offer a built-in laser pointer, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options when presenting online. 

Platforms like Zoom, and Microsoft Teams have come to the rescue with their own laser pointer features.

It’s an excellent way to engage your audience during virtual presentations, ensuring that your points are clearly highlighted and understood. 

If you’re curious about setting up this feature, we’ve penned detailed guides on each platform – just follow the provided link.

Below, you’ll find an image from our test run, demonstrating the successful use of Zoom’s laser pointer feature.

The Keynote presentation with the Zoom meeting is on and the Laser pointer is activated


If I’m Using a Meeting Platform’s Built-In Laser Pointer, Do I Still Need the Keynote Remote Feature?

No. If you’re using a platform like Zoom with its built-in laser pointer, you wouldn’t need the Keynote remote feature for the same purpose. 

However, the remote can still be useful for navigating slides seamlessly.

Can I Use a Laser Pointer in Online Meetings During a Keynote Presentation?

Zoom: Popular for video conferencing, Zoom offers an annotation tool that includes a laser pointer, perfect for emphasizing aspects during a Keynote presentation.

Microsoft Teams: Microsoft’s Teams also incorporates a laser pointer within its annotation tools, providing another viable option for highlighting parts of your Keynote slides.

Google Meet: Unfortunately, Google Meet doesn’t have a built-in laser pointer. Those using Google Meet with Keynote will need alternative methods to highlight content.


Presentations are about more than just slides; they’re about engagement, clarity, and impact. 

While Keynote remains a powerful tool in the presentation arsenal, knowing its features and how to maximize its capabilities is crucial. 

Whether you’re using the Mac version, the iPhone/iPad version, or even integrating with online platforms, ensure that you’re using every tool at your disposal to make your point clear.

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