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Tired of having to replace the remote for your TV because it’s been misplaced or the dog has chewed it up? Or is juggling separate remotes for your TV, Blu-ray player, speaker systems, and other technologies getting a bit out of hand?
Consider these four ways to turn your iPhone into a universal remote control. Not only will this help you keep track of your controllers, but it’s a great way to get more functionality and customization out of your smartphone.
Control Your Entertainment Through Apple TV
One of the simplest ways to use your iPhone as a remote control for your TV is to sync it to your smart TV via Wi-Fi and Apple TV hardware. This technology even allows you to watch content on your phone without the need to sync remotes or pay for a universal remote app. Moreover, with Apple’s Remote app, you can watch any files that you have on iTunes or any YouTube videos on your primary television.
Download an Official App by Your TV Manufacturer
Beyond Apple TV, several smart TV manufacturers have released apps that can take the place of a dedicated remote control. Here are a few examples:
- Samsung SmartView
- Panasonic TV Remote 2
- LG TV Remove
- Sony’s Media Remote
- Philips MyRemote
- Google TV Remote
Some, like the Samsung SmartView, have additional functionality such as in-home streaming and other features that make these apps even handier than physical remote controls. Many of these apps are available on both the Google Play and Apple app stores, but you may need to update to the latest Android or iOS software to run them correctly.
However, some of the best controller apps (such as Apple TV and Dijit, which is reviewed below) only work on Apple devices. This is one reason why the iPhone 7 is the ideal phone to use as a remote.
Download an Official App by Your Cable Provider
Similar to the official TV manufacturer apps, many cable providers have released apps that can be used to operate your cable box. These apps include software such as Xfinity TV Remote, Xfinity TV X1, and options for Verizon FiOS, Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse, and other cable companies.
You’ll have to log in to the app using your cable account information, so have that on hand when you begin. You’ll then sync your phone using the remote interface function in the app.
Unfortunately, some of these apps don’t have much functionality beyond turning the box on and storing your favorite channels. You’ll need something a bit more practical, such as a universal remote app, to really free yourself from having to juggle several remotes.
Download a Third-Party App to Manage All Your Remotes
Many third-party apps can be used to control cable boxes, receivers, theater systems, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices in your home. These apps are more feature rich, so they will require more customization; getting them running will therefore take a bit longer.
Once everything is synced, however, the convenience will be more than worth it. Also note that some apps require hardware and software to use your iPhone as a universal remote. For example, apps like Dijit, RÃ„Â“, and RedEye require software (an app on your phone) and hardware (an additional piece of physical equipment you’ll need to purchase).
To customize the phone to work with different systems through Dijit, for example, you’ll first have to download the app and customize its features. You’ll then need to pick up a Griffin Beacon that converts the phone’s IR signals through the app so that you can control your TV, video game consoles, DVD or Blu-ray players, etc. There are some extra steps and additional expenses if you go this route, but this will give you the most customization options and the most comprehensive control over your home entertainment through your iPhone.
How Your iPhone Can Become Your Remote
Your iPhone is a more powerful tool than you may have realized. Nix the mess of remotes in your desk drawer and consider one or more of these ways to use your smartphone as a remote.