The Best Remote Control Apps for Android – December 2017

Posted by William Sattelberg on December 20, 2017

The world is more connected than ever these days, and that’s especially true when it comes to our entertainment. Between the television in your living room, the laptop in your backpack, and the phone in your pocket, there’s no shortage of ways to watch your favorite television shows on the go or around your home. But just because you can watch an epic like Dunkirk on your Pixel 2 doesn’t mean you should. Phone screens are great for consuming episodes of your favorite shows on Hulu, or watching cached movies on plane rides, but when it comes to really watching the newest blockbusters or gorgeous independent dramas, you’re going to want to watch that content on the biggest screen available. While going to your nearest cinema is preferred, plenty of our readers have upgraded their televisions. With 65″ 4K televisions readily available on the market for under $1000, and great sound systems able to be bought for a similar price, it’s no surprise that staying home and waiting for your favorite movie to be released on Blu-Ray or on demand through iTunes or Amazon.

Here’s the thing though: just because you’re using your television to watch your favorite movies and television shows doesn’t mean you can’t use your smartphone or tablet to control your entire media ecosystem. Indeed, thanks to the entire lineup of apps in the Google Play Store, there are countless ways to stream, watch, and control your entire media landscape without having to use a physical remote that limits what you can do with your television. Not every phone or tablet will be able to work with your television or streaming box, and since there are so many different varieties of streaming services on the market today, it seems obvious that you’ll have to pick and choose which apps work for you and which don’t. Still, there are some obvious winners in the race for the best remote control app on the Google Play Store, and we can’t wait for you to test them out.

So throw away your remote, forget about typing in search queries with a rubber D-pad, and grab your phone or tablet instead. It’s time to take a look at the best remote control apps on Android.

Everyone else

Peel Smart Remote is the next-closest direct competitor to SURE Universal Remote, featuring a mix of IR blaster-connections and the ability to sync with your web-enabled devices. Like SURE, Peel focuses on making sure everything in your media library syncs to the app, including your television, Blu-Ray player, set-top boxes, and more, though Peel excels in one major area: its interface. In addition to included extras like television guides, recommended content, and the ability to set a calendar reminder for your favorite shows, Peel simply has a better interface than SURE, with a white, black, and yellow theme that looks really great on your display. The app feels smooth, and even if you don’t have an included IR blaster for your smartphone, Peel sells a translator on their website that allows you to sync your Peel application with your entire entertainment system. Unfortunately, Peel loses out to SURE on the small details: the ads are more invasive than what we’ve seen from SURE, and the lock screen replacement that’s enabled by default is shady and terrible for users. Ultimately, Peel’s app is solid, but bad business practices mean we can’t wholeheartedly recommend the app over SURE.

Just as Peel translates directly as SURE’s main competition, Amazon’s Fire TV Remote aims to do exactly the same as Roku’s own platform: take over your television for your main source of entertainment. The Fire TV Remote allows you to stop using the Fire TV remote that comes with your Fire TV 4K or Fire Stick, instead opting to control your device over your home network with just a smartphone or tablet. Unlike Roku’s app, however, this app remains deceptively simple. There’s no app launcher, store, or the ability to stream your local content over your home network. Instead, you’ll be looking at a plain interface that allows you to swipe, tap, and select menus with just a single screen. Amazon uses a touchpad area in the app instead of a virtual D-pad, and the whole app only contains a few virtual buttons to activate voice search, your keyboard, and to head back to your home screen. It’s a great replacement for Amazon’s own remote, and also allows older Fire TV owners to gain access to the same Alexa-based voice searches featured on newer devices. Overall, Amazon’s done a good job building an app replacement for their devices—just don’t expect content recommendations on the app.

There’s no shortage of Kodi fans on the web today. The open-source home-theater PC software suite is powerful, user-friendly, and allows for movies, television shows, and music to be sourced from thousands of different organizations. If you’ve built a Kodi device, either with an old smartphone, a set-top box, or using an old desktop PC, you’ll want to grab this application for an easy way to control your Kodi interface from the comfort of your couch without having to rely on a mouse and keyboard. Yatse has a great dark-material design, allowing you to automatically access your library of movies or TV shows right from the sliding menu to the left of the application, and thanks to its inclusion of Cast-style functionality, you can load your favorite content from your phone to a Roku, Chromecast, and more. Kodi has an official application on the Play Store to control their content, but with a long features list and an extremely-solid 4.7 star rating on Google Play makes it obvious: this is the Kodi remote of choice.

Do you own an LG TV released in 2014 or later? Is it running WebOS, the operating system originally purchased by HP from Palm before being retired and sold to LG? We have great news for you: LG has developed their own line of remote applications for their selection of WebOS televisions, and the app is generally pretty useful. Since the app connects to your television over Wi-Fi, you’ll need to log into both devices on the same network to control your television; the good news, of course, is that any phone, regardless of whether or not it has an IR blaster, can control LG’s televisions without limitations. You can flip between channels, control your volume, launch an app on your television, and even use the built-in touchpad interface to move the cursor around on your device to scroll and select menus. An optional notification menu allows you to quickly access the remote from any application in your device, and like Roku’s own app, you can even stream photos, music, and video directly to your device. LG also has an older application in the Play Store for its older pre-WebOS smart TVs, but you’ll need to check the model numbers of both apps to see if your television is included.

As you may gather from the rather bland name of this app, Remote Control for TV is a pretty straightforward application, entirely designed to take advantage of the IR blaster feature on smartphones without focusing on any smart features. Still, if you happen to own a supported smartphone or tablet, you’ll find Remote Control for TV is well made, offering the ability to sync with multiple devices, volume and channel controls automatically built into the app, and support for the majority of home entertainment brands on the market today, including Samsung, LG, Vizio, and more. The interface is clean, if a bit dated, and unfortunately, there are a large amount of ads in the application. It isn’t a perfect remote app by any means, but of the generic universal apps that have been uploaded to the Play Store, it still manages to make one of our top choices. As IR blasters begin to be phased out of mobile devices, you’ll likely find this app—and apps like it, including AnyMote, a solid alternative to this with the same core advertisement problems—become unusable due to their age and lack of support. Still, if you’re rocking an LG V20 or Samsung Galaxy S6, give this one a shot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

This Guide Last Updated: December 20, 2017

Want to become a movie and sports streaming expert? Get Our Free Amazon Firestick Guide


Don't get tracked down. Protect yourself streaming with the safest most secure VPN.