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Can I use my phone as a TV remote?

Here’s the Gadget Cover guide to using your mobile phone as a TV remote. Discover which devices you need, what apps to download and how to make it work.

Woman laying down on her phone

Your mobile phone has a massive range of capabilities. It lets you take high-definition photos, train your brain with puzzle games and control your heating and lighting while you’re away on holiday.

But did you know you can also use your device as a TV remote? Ideal if your original remote gets lost, damaged or the batteries run out!

You need to download some apps and have a few minutes to set it up, but once you’re done, you can change the settings and control the channel and volume with ease.

Did you know your mobile is at higher risk of loss, damage, or theft than other gadgets as it’s always with you?

To protect your backup remote and phone itself, insure your iPhone and other mobile devices with immediate cover.

What devices can I use?

You’ve lost the remote and need to know if your mobile is compatible with the TV. The good news is, almost any smartphone or device works, including:

  • Android phone
  • iPhone
  • Tablet
  • iPod touch

Don’t want to risk misplacing your phone like you did the control? If you have an old device lying around after your recent upgrade but want to recycle, why not use it as a backup remote?

When you insure iPhones, Android devices and other gadgets, your cover is valid for as long as the policy lasts.

So, even if something happens to your older item, you may be able to get it fixed.

Wi-Fi vs infrared?

The most common way to use your phone as a remote is via Wi-Fi. For this method to work, you need a WLAN-enabled television, like a smart TV, and then download the apps required to begin.

There are applications for specific models, like Samsung and LG televisions, which work best. Alternatively, try universal apps, which get updated often with a list of compatible devices. These work well but you might have to compromise on operation as the software isn’t optimised for each TV.

If your television is an older model that doesn’t have smart capabilities, you need to control it via infrared, like with a classic remote.

For this option, your phone needs a built-in infrared transmitter, which very few modern options come with. How do you get around this?

Luckily, many third-party manufacturers sell suitable adapters that attach to your device.

You can purchase a dongle and connect them to the charging dock of your phone. In the instructions, there should be a suitable app recommendation to work with the infrared adapter.

Download the right apps

If you’re going to use your phone as a Wi-Fi remote, you need to download some apps. There are three main types:

  • TV remote apps
  • Streaming device apps
  • Streaming service apps

Most of these applications are free to download and use. Decide which variant works best for you depending on your TV model and which streaming services you use. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how they differ.

Remember to insure iPhone devices and Android phones immediately after purchase to cover them. Your mobile contains a lot of your information and apps you use daily, so protecting it in case of damage, theft, and breakdown is a smart idea.

TV remote

On the App Store and Google Play, there’s a host of available remote-control apps that allow you to configure every aspect of your smart TV. You can channel surf, turn the volume up or down and enter your favourite streaming services this way.

Universal options offer you a choice of TV models to select from and include the basic buttons needed for any device. These apps can detect your television automatically, meaning setup only takes a few seconds.

Other apps are brand-specific and include optimised software to work best with your TV. These applications come with simple on-screen instructions and give you the option of contacting the television manufacturer if you encounter any issues.

Streaming devices

When you want to watch your favourite show on a streaming service, navigating the TV app and writing in the title takes a while. A much faster way to open the programme and manage other aspects of your account is to download the streaming device app.

Can I use my phone as a NOW TV remote?

Yes. Most services have compatible controls to download in an app, including:

  • NOW Smart Stick or Box
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • Chromecast

NOW, Amazon and Roku have the option of using the app as a control by connecting it to the device. You can type in what you want to watch using a keyboard, which most people find quicker than selecting each letter individually on the TV.

Chromecast viewers can download the Google Home app to control what you watch as well as many of your family’s smart devices, like lights, cameras, and thermostat.

Most Apple TV users have an iPhone, too, which comes with a built-in Remote app. This application, along with Roku and Chromecast, lets you mirror or project what you’re watching onto your TV.

This means you can share your holiday snaps or your latest Spotify playlist with ease, too.

Streaming services

If you enjoy watching Netflix, YouTube or other services but don’t own a streaming device, you can still use your phone if you misplace your remote. You need to download the subscription service apps onto your smart TV and phone.

Enter your account information into both devices for them to synchronise. Then, browse and choose a series or film to watch on your phone.

Press the play button to make the “cast to TV” logo appear. Simply click this, select your television model and the show appears on your big screen.

How to use your phone as a smart TV remote

Do you watch all your favourite channels and streaming services straight from your smart TV? If so, a remote that controls your television and everything on it is ideal.

There are multiple apps available for this purpose and it may take a few tries until you find the right fit.

If you thought it was easy to insure iPhone devices, this is just as simple. Search the App Store or Google Play for a smartphone remote app. If you want one specific to your TV, pick one from the same brand.

If you prefer to use a universal control, read consumer reviews to find a reliable option that works well. The following instructions work with most available applications.

  1. Double-check your phone and TV are on the same Wi-Fi network, or they won’t pair.
  2. On the screen, there should be a button to add a device. Tap it and wait for your television’s name to appear.
  3. Click your TV to pair it with the remote.

Your phone should now be ready to control the television. This means you can adjust system settings, turn the volume up or down and access downloaded apps and streaming services on your smart TV. Remember that brand-specific remotes are better optimised than universal controls.

If you have Netflix or YouTube downloaded on your TV and phone, you can also use the screencast option to project what you’re watching onto the television.

How to use your phone as an Apple TV remote

After you purchase and insure your iPhone, you want to get the most out of it. Using your mobile as an Apple TV remote comes in very handy when you misplace your current one or the batteries run out. Where do you find the app and how do you use it?

The easiest way to access the Apple TV Remote app is to add it to the top of your Control Centre with these step-by-step instructions.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down until you see Control Centre and tap it.
  3. Once inside, you’ll see your torch and other icons, which you can rearrange by touching the three lines on the right and dragging to reorder them.
  4. Locate the Remote icon and move it towards the top of the list to make it easier to access in the future.
  5. If you can’t see the Remote in the list, add it by tapping the + button and then place it where you want.

Now you can open your Remote in a click or two from your Control Centre. To pair the Apple TV Remote on both devices, open the app on your phone. Select your TV from the list and then enter the four-digit number from your television to connect the two.

Your TV and iPhone need to have the latest updates installed and to be on the same Wi-Fi network.

If you have any trouble setting up the Remote app, contact Apple Support.

Not everyone who watches Apple TV owns an iPhone, though. You can still control the streaming device if you have an Android phone.

  1. Download a compatible app, like AnyMote, from the Google Play Store.
  2. Once you install an application, open it and search for your Apple TV. When your device appears, select it.
  3. To allow the remote access to your TV, go to the Settings menu and locate the Remotes and Devices tab to select your control.
  4. The phone app should display a code, which you need to enter on the television.

Your Android remote application is now ready to control your Apple TV. When you insure your iPhone devices, make sure your other gadgets also have sufficient cover to protect them from damage or theft.

How to use your phone as a NOW TV remote

NOW TV is popular among viewers for its array of films, series, and sports. If you own a NOW Smart Stick or Box, you can download a remote on your phone in case you misplace or lose the original.

Follow these guidelines to get the app on your mobile, connect it to the TV and make browsing simpler.

  1. Download the NOW app from Google Play Store or App Store.
  2. Ensure your phone and NOW device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  3. Open the application on your phone and tap the NOW device icon on the top right.
  4. Your NOW Smart Stick or Box’s name should appear for you to click. If you own more than one device, find the right one by checking the last four digits at its base.
  5. A message confirms your TV and phone are linked.

You can use the app two ways to watch NOW TV. Browse the selection from your phone and select a show or film.

Two options appear – ‘Watch on TV’ or ‘Watch on this device’. Choose the first one to cast your selection to the big screen.

Alternatively, hit the Show Remote button at the bottom of the screen to turn your phone into a handheld control like the original.

How to use your phone as an Amazon Fire Stick remote

The Amazon Fire Stick is another popular device that allows you to watch all your favourite streaming services and TV on demand. You can also download various apps to play games and listen to music from your television.

Just like with other streaming devices, the original remote is small and can easily get lost. To save you the frustration of searching for a misplaced gadget, download one to your phone with these instructions.

  1. Browse the App Store or Google Play Store for the Fire TV app and download it.
  2. Open the application and give it Local Network permission.
  3. The app then begins searching for Fire TV devices. Once yours pops up on the screen, tap it.
  4. When the four-digit code appears on your television, enter it into the app.
  5. After a few seconds, the devices pair. The Fire Stick returns to the home screen and the app displays a remote control.

You can use the remote by searching and typing with the keyboard or by pressing the Alexa symbol to use voice commands.

How to use your phone as a Chromecast remote

If you have Chromecast with Google TV and have lost your original remote, you can download a replacement from the store in your phone.

To access the streaming service and all its perks, follow these steps.

  1. Download the Android TV app on your handheld device from the corresponding store.
  2. When you open the application, you need to accept the terms of service before you can continue.
  3. Grant the app permission to your location so it can discover televisions nearby.
  4. A list then appears with available devices. Select your Chromecast with Google TV to begin.
  5. Type the code shown on the TV in the app and click the “pair” button.

Your phone and streaming device are now connected. Use the directions and D-pad to navigate and select what you want to watch.

Click on the keyboard icon on the top to enter text more efficiently. To adjust the volume while the app is open, use the physical buttons on the side of your phone or tablet.

How to use your phone as a Roku remote

If you prefer to stream your favourites on Roku, there’s a remote application for you, too. The app works just as well as the original and is the perfect replacement until you find the other control. To get the remote set up and ready for you to stream, follow these steps.

  1. Download the Roku mobile app for your Android or iOS device.
  2. Ensure your TV and Roku device are on the same Wi-Fi network.
  3. Enable your Roku to accept commands over a Wi-Fi network. To do this, go to Settings > System > Advanced System Settings > Control by Mobile Apps > Network Access on your Roku device’s home screen. Selecting either the Default or Permissive option works.
  4. Next, tap on the Devices button on the mobile app from the bottom menu.
  5. Find your Roku device on the list and select it to pair.

The remote is now ready to go by using the usual playback controls or the voice command option. A bonus to this app is the private listening function. Connect your headphones to your phone and listen to the TV this way.

How to use your phone as a TV remote via infrared

All the solutions above look at how to connect your device via Wi-Fi, but what if your television is an older model and doesn’t have smart capabilities?

Most modern phones don’t have infrared (IR) blasters, so you need to purchase an adapter. Then, download a compatible app from the store on your device to set up the dongle with your TV.

If you own an iPhone, you also require an IR blaster plug-in, which means the need to invest in the Apple Lightning Headphone Jack Adapter.

As you accumulate more gadgets and need to keep them safe, look to insure iPhone devices and all their accessories to protect them from damage and theft. Gadget Cover can give you a quote in minutes.

As the world moves away from non-smart devices, now is a good time to consider upgrading your entertainment system. With the costs and hassle involved in setting up the IR blaster remotes, a new TV could save you time and money in the long run.

Insure your back-up TV remote with Gadget Cover

An iPhone placed on a hand

Using your phone to easily control your TV or to replace a lost remote is the perfect solution to hours of frustration. At Gadget Cover, we understand the many ways a mobile phone can help you with a variety of daily tasks and the importance of such a device.

When you invest in a new gadget, insure your new iPhone, Android or tablet immediately to protect it from accidental damage, theft, and breakdown.

Get in touch with our team to find the right insurance policy for your device, preferences, and budget.

For an extra premium, you can get covered against loss. You could also add your immediate family to your cover and get protection for when you travel abroad.

To protect your back-up remote and phone itself, get a quick quote from Gadget Cover to insure iPhone and Android handsets with the specialists today.

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