How To Turn Your Smartphone Into A Remote Control

October 2015: Stop searching for the remote — use the device that’s already in your hand! You can use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control for your TV, set-top box, entertainment system, smart appliances, air conditioner, home automation system – even your Land Rover. All you need is the right app and the right know-how.

Hop on these four ways to upgrade from your old-school plastic remotes to one you touch and swipe:

Use your built-in Infrared (IR) Blaster
Many Android phones come with an embedded infrared “blaster” that uses the same technology as old-school remotes. All you need to do is download a universal remote app like AnyMote Smart IR Remote, IR Universal Remote or Galaxy Universal Remote to use your phone to control any device that receives an IR signal.

Use an infrared adapter
If your device doesn’t have a built-in IR blaster — iPhones and iPads don’t — you can buy an IR adapter like Roomie Blaster for iOS that works with the Roomie Remote system or use irdroid for Androids.

Use an external pairing device
With a small device like a Pronto, a multi-directional universal remote, Apple device users can use Bluetooth to take control through iPhones and iPads. Harmony Hub works with both Android and Apple devices and gives you three ways to connect — IR, Bluetooth or WiFi.

Use manufacturer apps
Hundreds of smart devices and smart appliances from LG, Samsung, Sony and others come with their own proprietary apps — no IR technology needed. Just connect your smartphone to the same WiFi network as your appliances and put the old-school remotes in a drawer someplace. What you can’t do with these apps, however, is integrate them into a universal remote. You’ll need to download a different app for each device you want to control remotely.

Use your watch

Did you know Apple Watch lets you control iTunes on your Mac or PC or Apple TV? Or that you can pair your Android Wear smartwatch to your IR-ready phone and control your stuff from your wrist? Try SmartWatch Universal Remote, which pairs with the Galaxy Universal Remote.

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