How to use your iPhone as a TV remote

How to use your iPhone as a TV remote

Image: Grace Carey via Getty Images – Illustration: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Every time a Roku, Fire TV, or regular TV remote gets lost between sofa cushions or is thrown around by a toddler, I look for a separate manufacturer’s app to control the TV. But if you have a compatible smart TV such as Year or Fire TVor Apple TV 4Kyou can ditch the extra apps and just use your iPhone as a new remote.

Same: How to add AirTag to your Apple TV remote

Before you begin, make sure your TV is turned on and connected to the same network as your iPhone.

When using your iPhone as a remote control, keep in mind that not all TVs come with all the controls. Depending on the TV, you may not be able to turn it on or off or access the volume.

How to use your iPhone as a TV remote

We have a 2.4GHz network at home for all of our smart devices, including all smart TVs and streaming devices like our Roku TV boxes and Fire TV boxes. Whenever we want to use AirPlay or control TVs through our phone, it only takes us a few seconds to switch networks.

iPhone with network settings on screen.

Make sure your iPhone is connected to the same network as the smart TV you want to control.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

You can find your iPhone’s Control Center by swiping down from the top right corner of the screen.

iPhone Control Center.

Enter the Control Center by swiping down from the top right corner of the screen.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

The remote control button may be in your control center, if you can’t find it, just click on the AirPlay icon (circles with a triangle at the bottom) at the top right.

AirPlay icon and remote control button on iPhone.

Select the AirPlay icon or remote control button.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

Available TVs will be on the same network and are compatible with AirPlay. Select the TV you want to control.

Same: How to AirPlay to TV

If you have touched the AirPlay icon, your screen will look something like the first image below. Choose which TV to control.

When you press the remote control button from the control center, you will go directly to the remote control options, as in the second image below. Select the TV you want to control.

Remote control icon on iPhone.

Once you select the TV you want to control, you can click on the small remote control on the left to access the TV controls.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

TV selection options on iPhone.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

Your iPhone is now also a remote control for your TV or streaming device.

iPhone remote control function.

This is what the iPhone remote control looks like.

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

I’ve been trying to do remote boats ever since that Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Frank got one and I don’t understand why no one in my house wants that to happen.

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But using our iPhones as remote controls has almost made our remote control boats redundant. Although the iPhone remote control capabilities are limited, I can finally stop following all the different little remotes from our streaming devices that seem to be the perfect size and shape to slip between sofa cushions.

frequently asked Questions

Can I use my iPhone as a non-smart TV remote?

You can if you add Apple TV 4K. Otherwise, you’d have to download a separate app to use your iPhone as a remote control, such as the Universal Remote App or Fire TV or Roku TV. While the newer Fire TV smart TVs support AirPlay, the Fire TV sticks and cube are not compatible with AirPlay.

Why can’t I see the remote control button in Control Center?

If you don’t see the remote control option in the Control Center and want to add it, you can go to Settings, then choose Control center, then add the shortcuts you want to add, including the remote control option.

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