While conventional televisions are controlled using a physical remote, a feature on smartphones known as IR blaster has made this hardware somewhat obsolete. Using the IR blaster on mobile devices, you can instantly control your television or other devices directly from your phone or tablet. This, no doubt, makes viewing television all that more exciting, and as a bonus, you never have to worry about losing your remote under the couch cushions.
We’re going to talk about five of the best universal remote apps available, with an attempt to help you pick the best fit for your television or other devices. Some offerings we’re mentioning might require dedicated hardware for you to use its features, while we’ve also made sure to include apps that work as soon as you install without requiring specific hardware.
5 Best Universal Remote Apps
This app is used mostly to control computers and laptops, which makes it an instant choice if you have a computer based home theater around you. Users get access to a multitude of remotes, although you might need to shell out money for this. However, using one remote is absolutely free, so if you have a single device at home, this app should be high up on your list. It must be mentioned that the app doesn’t work with normal TVs as this isn’t a conventional IR blaster app.
If you’re not a fan of televisions, and prefer watching content over the computer via streaming services like Netflix, Hulu etc, this app will come in handy. The developer mentions that free users get access to a total of 18 remotes, whereas the Pro version unlocks the full quota of 90+ remotes. One of my favorite remote features here is floating remotes, allowing you to use the remote even if you’re in another app. The app is free to download, but comes with ads.
This is a standard TV remote, allowing you to control a wide array of televisions and cable boxes around you. It has a simple to use UI and doesn’t take long to get used to. Keeping this in mind, it’s one of the better universal TV remote apps out there. An app like this can also be incredibly helpful if you are at a hotel and there’s no remote control to use.
The manufacturer mentions that some televisions might not work as expected with the remote, and it’s pretty easy to fix. The “Fix Buttons” toggle on the app is expected to solve this issue for good, so make sure you keep this in mind if you’re planning to use the app. It’s a pretty simple app that leverages the IR blaster on your phone to work with TVs and other devices.
There are no groundbreaking features on board here, but there’s just enough to make sure you get everything you need. The app is free to download, but comes with ads. However, the company isn’t offering in-app purchases to make the ads go away, so you’re stuck with ads for as long as you use the app.
Google Home is a device that is synonymous to every Android user out there. This hardware lets you keep your smart home devices connected, while its integration with Assistant means you can access a slew of features that are otherwise not present on other remote apps. To use the Google Home app remotely, you will require Google Home hardware on board. This remote app can also be used with the Google Chromecast. Sadly, it cannot control TVs, but if you’re using Google hardware for your streaming needs, this is a must have application on your device.
Some core features like changing the volume, channel or other aspects isn’t present here. But since you can cast video onto a bigger screen using the app, you simply have to increase the phone volume to see the changes on the screen. This particular app is completely free to download and use with no in-app purchases or ads. You will, however, need a Chromecast or a Google Home to use it.
This is a comprehensive IR remote that supports over 900,000 devices and counting. You can use this for televisions, cameras, and any other product that has an IR blaster underneath. The Play Store listing mentions that it’s not compatible with some LG and Huawei devices, so unless you have these devices, you have nothing to worry about with this app.
Further, if your television or smart device doesn’t have an IR blaster inside, it will work over Wi-Fi between devices. This can work on some Sonos and Samsung televisions/smart home devices. The developer claims that this is the only remote you need to have for practically any device with an IR blaster. You can even control air conditioners with this particular app, which is pretty amazing. The best part here is that the app is completely free to download and is devoid of ads or in-app purchases.
In addition to working with devices with an IR blaster, the app can also pair over a Wi-Fi or DLNA connection with a handful of devices. Compatibility is pretty similar to the Smart IR Remote app we mentioned above, so you will likely find this to work with a myriad of smart devices out there.
The app also supports Amazon Alexa with voice commands support built within the app. There are over 10,000 skills that you can teach using Alexa, which is handy. By creating a secure network, the app can copy files from a local server to your device or vice versa.
Thanks to Wi-Fi support, you can use this with devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and a bunch of other devices. This is a pretty comprehensive app with a slew of devices in its compatibility list. The app is free to download, but comes with ads and in-app purchases. Be sure to check it out.