You don’t need to spend money on accessories to use iPhone remote control apps, but there are some trade offs that come from using free apps that may only control your cable or satellite boxes. While some TVs may offer iPhone remote control apps, the trend is back to IR and RF controls that require a third-party accessory.
Here are the iPhone remote control apps that you can use to control parts of your TV experience, including those that earn a spot in our iPhone 6 tips and tricks.
If you are a cord cutter, you won’t be able to use all of these apps, but there are still a lot of options you can use to control the devices that you use to bring entertainment to your TV.
For users who want to control the entire experience of watching TV or movies with an iPhone remote control app, you will need to buy a device that the iPhone connects to with Bluetooth that can then control the HDTV, cable box and many other devices using IR like a regular remote. There is no IR in any iPhone, so you need apps that connect directly to devices over WiFi or Bluetooth, or to buy something like the $50 Philips Pronto that turns the iPhone into a regular remote control.
iPhone Remote Control Apps
The best place to look for iPhone remote control apps that you can use without buying any accessories is by identifying who you pay for cable or satellite TV. In many cases the app includes a remote that you can use to change the channel, access the DVR list and on demand that connects to the box from that company over WiFi. For these to work you will need to be on the same network, which is the case for most times you want to use the remote control.
The biggest downside to these iPhone remote control apps is that they can only control that box, so you cannot change the volume or input on your HDTV. There are some smart TV apps listed later in this guide that offer a more full features iPhone remote control experience, but not all models work.
Here are the biggest names in cable and satellite and the iPhone remote control apps that they offer free to download on the iTunes app store.
You can search your cable company to find out if their app supports using the iPhone as a remote control over WiFi. You can often change channels directly from the app and use buttons, but there is sometimes a lag between pressing a button and something happening on-screen.
If you own a Samsung Smart TV, you may be able to use an app from Samsung or the myTifi remote for Samsung TV to connect and control channels, inputs and volume on your Samsung TV. This supports older models, but not the newer H series from 2014. Other apps to check out vary by the TV brand and include the LG iPhone remote control app that works with some LG smart TVs made in 2012 and later.
If you own a Xbox One that you watch TV through, you can use the iPhone to change channels on your TV while watching with the Xbox One on.
For cord cutters, there are several iPhone remote control apps to use, but they all depend on the devices you use to watch shows. The official Apple iPhone remote control app is better than the slim aluminum remote that Apple includes with the Apple TV. The Roku app turns your iPhone into a remote control for the Roku boxes. You can also use the iPhone remote control app for fireTV to control the Amazon fireTV and fireTV stick.
For a better solution that will control your entire home theater and other devices, the Philips Pronto is a great option. If you want to use the iPhone to control your home theater and your entire home, you need to look into the Logitech Harmony Home remote control that adds a hub that you can connect your iPhone to to set up an impressive array of remote control options in your living room and all over your home.