The Best Remote Control Apps for Android [January 2021]

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

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 Stick or Fire Cube, 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.

Whether or not your phone has an IR-blaster built in, AnyMote can help control not just your TV, but your entire house. That said, you’ll definitely get more use out of the app if you do still have a phone with that IR-blaster, since AnyMote works to control every device in your home. You can customize your virtual remote with unique button placement, fresh colors, font options, and more. Plus, with full macro control, you can execute multiple commands on a single touch. Tasker integration, voice commands, and floating remotes all make it easy to control your entertainment system, and you can pay to get access to unlimited remotes, backups, and customer support.

Thankfully, AnyMote can double as a WiFi enabled remote app to work with a ton of devices, even if your phone doesn’t have an IR-blaster. AnyMote supports a number of WiFi-connected and smart TV devices, including Sonos, Kodi, VLC, Roku, Fire TV devices, plus televisions from Samsung, Sharp, and Philips. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid lineup of devices for anyone looking to control their smart home gadgets. The biggest issue with AnyMote is the lack of updates since 2018, but hopefully the app will be refreshed with more support soon.

Android TV might not have as big of a footprint as Roku or Amazon’s Fire OS, but it’s slowly becoming a mainstay in the world of home entertainment. Not only do all of Sony’s popular televisions run Android TV, but so does Nvidia’s Shield TV lineup of devices. Google’s newest Chromecast device also runs Android TV (now rebranded as Google TV), and that means that the ecosystem will only be growing as these devices get more popular. All of these gadgets have their own remotes, but you aren’t stuck using physical remotes if you lose yours. Google’s own Android TV remote app works on Android TV and Google TV alike.

The app is surprisingly simple: just make sure your gadgets are on the same WiFi network, and they should connect automatically. Now, it’s not a perfect app—for example, it hasn’t been updated in nearly four years—but if you’re trying to control your TV, or use the keyboard on your phone while searching Netflix, Google’s Android TV remote has you covered.

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This Guide Last Updated: May 18, 2021

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