I bought a budget TV streaming device and it came with a really awful remote control. I’m wondering since it runs AndroidTV can I use my Android phone as a remote control for the device instead? If so, how do I set it up?
You most definitely can set up your Android phone or tablet as a handy remote control for an Android TV unit with a bit of configuration. The key is that both need to be on the same wifi network and you need access to both devices (so you can’t surprise your neighbor by suddenly controlling their Android TV), but yes, it’s easy to set up and super useful. I just did the very same thing with the ONN 4K Streaming Device that I recently reviewed on my YouTube channel: ONN 4K Streaming Device from Walmart Review. The device is super inexpensive, easy to work with, but it wouldn’t be hard at all to lose the remote control and be stuck.
Of course, for you top-level couch potatoes, you probably always have your phone in your hand while you’re watching TV, so having the app configured also helps avoid having to find and pick up the remote control, an undoubtedly exhausting prospect. 🙂
Anyway, let’s get to it. To start, as I said, check to ensure that your phone and the Android TV you want to use are on the same Wi-Fi network. Once you’ve confirmed that…
HOW TO CONFIGURE ANDROID REMOTE APP FOR ANDROID TV
You’ll want to search in the Google Play store for “Android TV Remote Control“. Here’s what it looks like in the store:
Note: There’s an Android TV Remote Control app for the iPhone if you’re an iOS fan. Download a copy of Android TV and use that instead. It does appear to be rather buggy, however, so good luck!
A tap on “Install” and then, once it’s downloaded, “Open” will get you to the app itself:
There are a few legal and settings permissions you’ll need to grant – including location, though I don’t know why that’s relevant to this particular Google app – and finally you’ll be ready to pair it with your device:
If you don’t see your device, tap on the refresh circular arrow. Still don’t see it? Double-check that they’re both on the same wifi network. Still don’t see the darn thing? It might not be Android remote compatible, or that might be a setting on your device you have to enable. With the ONN 4K Streaming Device it’s all ready to go, which is why it showed up on the list.
Once your device appears, tap on it to pair the remote app with the TV device.
It’s ready to pair. I opted not to have the Android TV device gain access to my contacts and call history, but you might enable it if you want to be able to ask your TV device to call grandma or similar. Or not!
MEANWHILE ON THE ANDROID TV DEVICE
On the Android TV device, meanwhile, this has shown up on the screen:
A quick glance confirms that it’s the same six-digit number on both, so tap “Pair” on your Android phone and use the device remote to choose “Pair” on your Android TV device too.
A few moments later…
ON YOUR ANDROID PHONE – CONTROL OF YOUR ANDROID TV
Suddenly the app will change to a rather austere, but entirely functional, remote:
All setup and ready to go. Notice that there’s a tiny bug in the app, though: The name of the device has gone from the nice “Onn 4k TV” to the rather daunting actual device ID. You can see it in full if you go to the Android Remote Control app settings:
That’s just ugly. No way around it. Fortunately, you don’t have to really worry about it unless you have multiple Android TV devices you want to control, in which case you might file a bug with the development team so they can fix it!
Most importantly, you now have two remotes for your AndroidTV device, just like I do:
Pretty cool, really, and quite helpful. Definitely worth setting up if you have an Android TV device!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Android since the beginning of the operating system. Please do check out my extensive Android help area while you’re visiting, for lots more useful tutorials and guides! Thanks.