How to use your Android phone as a remote control for everything in your home - TVs, set top boxes, hi-fi and more

Is the remote for your TV, set top box, music system and other devices broken? Before you buy a new remote, try these Android apps which turn your phone into a remote control for all your devices.

Many electrical devices in the home are controlled by remotes, those hand-held gadgets packed with buttons. There are two problems with them and one is that you probably don’t know what half the buttons do!

Who designs these things? Some of them are so hard to use it makes you wonder whether the designers have ever used a remote.

The other problem with them is that they either break or wear out. Often the buttons stop working or you need the strength of the Incredible Hulk when pressing the buttons to make the TV, set-top box or music player respond.

Dogs like to chew on them too.

If your remote is not working or if you would simply like to have a second remote (to stop everyone arguing over who has the remote when watching TV), here’s how to use your phone instead.

These Android phone apps can be used to control almost anything that works with a remote and are really useful as backup and alternative remote controls.

I used them on a Samsung Galaxy S6 and with Samsung TVs and Sky set-top boxes.


AnyMote Universal Remote +WiFi

Price: Free | By: Color Tiger | Android: 4.03 and up

AnyMote is a free app that can be used to remote control a single device. To control multiple devices you need as paid version of the app.

You can add air conditioning and heating, audio and video systems, video projectors, set-top boxes, TVs and even WiFi devices. The developer says it supports 900,000 devices.

You start by typing in the name or manufacturer of a device and a list of matches is displayed. Select the one you want and the controls appear.

 AnyMote remote control app for Android AnyMote Android app turns your phone into a remote control

If you are not sure what model of device you have, you can select a generic one or select the first in the list and then just try each one in turn until you find one that works. Just tap the power button, see if the device comes on and if not, try the next remote.

It worked great on my TV and set-top box. There are more controls than shown in the screenshot and you can swipe sideways to access more buttons and controls.


Universal Remote Control TV

Price: Free | By: Mobile Trend | Android: 2.2 and up

Universal Remote Control TV displayed a lot of adverts, but did nothing else. I could not find a way to select devices, none of the buttons worked, and I could not control anything.

It has a rating of 4.1 on the Google Play Store and 4,424 people have rated it 5 stars, but I could not get it to do anything. In fact, I uninstalled it about two minutes after downloading it.

 Universal Remote Control TV for Android Universal Remote Control TV for Android

I can only recommend that you avoid this app. I’m not even going to link to it.


Universal Remote Control Free

Price: Free | By: Super IR N | Android: 2.3 and up

Universal Remote Control Free is a free app that is supported by advertising. However, the ads are bearable.

The app supports televisions, set top boxes, air conditioning, audio systems, DVD and Blu Ray, and cameras. It took a few attempts to find the right remote for my TV and Sky box, but then they worked fine.

Devices can be added to a favourites list and then you can just tap a device to switch to that remote. The only slight irritation is that buttons didn’t seem to repeat when held down.

 Universal Remote Control Free Android app Universal Remote Control Free Android app

The remote control is larger than the screen, so you end up having to swipe up and down a lot to get to the buttons you want. Apart from that, the app is fine.


Super TV Remote Control

Price: Free | By: Androcia | Android: 2.2 and up

Super TV Remote Control is another very highly rated app with over 43,000 five star ratings. However, I could not get it to work.

There is only support for televisions and even then a limited number of models. I selected Samsung, but perhaps I just didn’t have the right model.

 Super TV Remote Control app for Android Super TV Remote Control app for Android

What I got was a lot of very annoying adverts and no TV control. It does not support other devices so I couldn’t use it with my set top box either.

I cannot recommend it. Even if it worked, the ads will irritate you.


Remote Control for TV

Price: Free | By: Vsray Technology | Android: 4.4 and up

Remote Control for TV is compatible with a wide range of televisions and also 220,000 home theatre devices (so the app claims).

Selecting the make of TV is easy, but tedious because the list is very long. There is then a long list of models and you must find the right one for your TV.

I could not find my Samsung TV model in the list and so I tried a few at random, but they did not work. The app makes it very awkward to try different models and you must watch adds, select from long lists of makes and models and it is very tedious.

 Remote Control for TV app for Android Remote Control for TV app for Android

The app has 177,000 five star reviews, so it must work for some people. It didn’t work for me. I did not see any remote control interface that had the full set of buttons required to operate the TV. For example, there is no source selector. How are you supposed to switch from TV to set top box to DVD?

The ads are annoying.

Conclusion

One app stands out among these and that is AnyMote. It worked when others didn’t, it has a good clean interface that is easy to use, and it supports a wide range of devices. The free app only supports one device at a time, but extra features are unlocked in the paid version of the app.

Runner up and a close second is Universal Remote Control Free. This is a free app and it supports a wide range of devices. It was easy to set up and you can control multiple devices, easily switching from one to another. It isn’t the best interface, but it worked OK.