Macintosh Infrared: Is It IrDA Compatible?

Does the built-in infrared technology used in the PowerBook 190, 1400, 2400, 3400, 5300, PowerBook G3 and G3 Series, PowerBook (FireWire), PowerBook G4, and iMac support the IrDA (Infrared Data Association) standard? If so, can I use them to communicate with my Newton MessagePad or other IrDA device?
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
PowerBook 190, 5300, and 1400

The PowerBook 190, 5300, and 1400 series computers are not IrDA-compliant. Hence, these computers will not work with third-party devices which are IrDA compliant, such as some of Apple's MessagePad devices and some Hewlett Packard printers. Instead, these products use a protocol named IRTalk.

The infrared implementation used in these PowerBook computers is designed to share information with other infrared-equipped PowerBook computers and the Farallon Air Dock (a wireless LocalTalk file sharing solution). The Apple IR File Exchange transfer rate is 230.4kbs, the same as LocalTalk.

PowerBook 3400, PB 2400, and PowerBook G3 and G3 Series

The PowerBook 2400, 3400, G3 and G3 Series computers are IrDA compliant. Additionally, they have the option to switch to the IRTalk protocol via the Infrared Control Panel. These computers can communicate with other IRTalk-capable devices (such as other PowerBook computers), using either the IrDA or IRTalk protocol.

Note: PowerBook G3 Series computers support IrDA 1.1 with speeds up to 4 Mbps.

While the PowerBook 2400, 3400, G3 and G3 Series computers have the hardware necessary to communicate with other IrDA compliant devices such as the Apple eMate 300 or the Newton MessagePad 2000, at this time Apple does not have a software solution to communicate with them.

For information about whether the 2400, 3400, G3 and G3 Series computers can communicate with other IrDA compliant devices, contact the manufacturer of the device.

iMac

There are several versions of the iMac computer. The first two versions (referred to as revision A and revision B) were colored Bondi Blue. The next version (referred to as revision C) was introduced in January 1999 and came in five different colors.

Revision A and B iMac computers support IrDA, but not IRTalk. Revision C iMac computers do not support infrared communication of any type.

For additional information see the following articles:


For general information on IrDA, see http://www.irda.org

PowerBook G3 Series (Bronze Keyboard)

PowerBook G3 Series computers are IrDA compliant. This is the first PowerBook model which does not support IrTalk. Any older PowerBook model, which can only communicate with IrTalk, will not be able to connect to the PowerBook G3 Series (Bronze Keyboard) models.

Note: See PowerBook 3400, PB 2400, and PowerBook G3 and G3 Series information listed above.

Note: Macintosh PowerBook G3 Series computers should not be confused with Macintosh PowerBook G3 computers. Though the names are similar, there are significant differences. For more information differentiating between the computers, read article 24604: "PowerBook G3, G3 Series: Identifying Different Versions"

PowerBook (FireWire)
The PowerBook (FireWire) supports IrDA.

PowerBook G4 and PowerBook G4 (Gigabit Ethernet)
The PowerBook G4 and PowerBook G4 (Gigabit Ethernet) support IrDA.
Published Date: Feb 20, 2012