Best remote control apps for Android (2017)
A few years ago, it seemed as though smartphones with IR blasters were the way to go. In an ever increasingly smarter and interconnected world, it would only make sense for us to be able to control pretty much everything from the pocket computers that we carry on us everywhere. Alas, most smartphone manufacturers would beg to differ (*cough* Samsung *cough*), and thus we see less and less devices out there, properly equipped with the hardware needed to control the devices in your house. Of course, the time will come when everything from your microwave to your juicer will be smart and connected over Wi-Fi, so you won't need an IR remote control at all, but this is still ways off and right now we can really benefit from some good ol' infrared beamers on our phones. But anyway, enough about that! Let's take a look at the best Android apps for controlling your TV and other smart home appliances!
AnyMote Universal Remote
If you have many smart devices in your home, AnyMote is one of the best apps out there to control them all. It currently has support for over 900,000 devices (you read that right), and the list is constantly expanding, so as far as compatibility is concerned, AnyMote has got you covered. If your phone is equipped with an IR blaster, you can interact with pretty much anything, from your TV and set-top box, to ACs, to Blue-Ray players, and even cameras. And even if it doesn't, the app can still be used as a Wi-Fi remote for controlling smart devices. AnyMote also lets you create your own custom macros, which are basically sequences of commands that can be executed with a single tap of a button. For example, you can program the app in such a way that it will turn your TV on, launch Netflix and dim the lights in your room with a single tap.
Peel Universal Smart TV Remote Control
Peel has long been one of the most favorite remote control apps on Android and for good reasons. It not only does its job at turning your smartphone into a remote control perfectly—both over Wi-Fi or by utilizing your phone's built-in IR blaster (provided it has one)—but it also doubles as a personalised TV guide of sorts. Peel also supports a number of home appliances, such as ACs and Heaters by various brands, but it's primary focus is on TVs.
Unified Remote is unique, in that it is primarily focused on controlling desktop computers and laptops remotely. And no, it isn't like Chrome Remote Desktop, or other apps of this ilk that simply mirror your screen or grant you control over the mouse cursor. Instead, Unified Remote has a number of pre-defined virtual remotes dedicated to different apps that let you control each program individually and with ease. For example, you can have Spotify volume controls and a Skype launch button, accompanied with play, pause, and rewind/forward buttons for VLC, all on the same screen. Support for more programs is being added on the regular and remote presets are completely customizable.
Twinone Universal TV Remote
Twinone Universal Remote is a great free app, but it is exclusively for devices equipped with an IR blaster. It supports a wide gamma of TVs and set-top boxes from different manufacturers and features a simple and functional design that also lets users customize the colors of different buttons and move them around the screen. The only real downside of Twinone, save for the fact that it's for IR-enabled phones only, is that its free version has ads and there's no way to get rid of them. No matter how much you like it, there's no paid, ad-free version to get!
SURE Universal Smart TV Remote
Free / $4.99 as an in-app purchase or $0.99 monthly
SURE is surely one of the most versatile apps on this list. Similarly to AnyMote and Peel, it supports both IR blaster devices and can work as a smart remote over Wi-Fi, but it's primarily focused on the entertainment center (i.e. set-top boxes, media streaming devices, TVs, and DVD/Blu-Ray players) and can be used for streaming. Where SURE excels is in its ability to send local files to other devices, and to stream content from other devices to your phone as well. For example, you can set up your laptop or PC as a DLNA server and push media to your smartphone via SURE. Pretty neat! The full version of SURE goes for $4.99, but you can opt for a monthly subscription as well, which costs $0.99/month.