Every time the Roku, Fire TV or regular television remote gets lost in between the couch cushions or tossed somewhere by a toddler, I’m looking for the individual manufacturer’s app to control the TV. But, if you’ve got a compatible smart TV, like a Roku or Fire TV, or an Apple TV 4K, you can ditch extra apps and simply use your iPhone as your new remote.
Before getting started, make sure your television is on and connected to the same network as your iPhone.
When you use your iPhone as a remote control, note that not all televisions will feature all the controls. Depending on the television, you may not be able to turn it on or off, or have access to volume.
How to use your iPhone as a TV remote control
I’ve been trying to make “remote boats” a thing ever since that Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Frank gets one, and I don’t understand why no one in my house wants to make it happen. It may have something to do with the fact that me and my husband are outnumbered by toddlers and preschoolers. But using our iPhones as remote controls has almost rendered our remote boats unnecessary. Though the iPhone’s remote control has limited options, I can finally stop keeping track of all the different little remotes from our streaming devices that seem to be the perfect size and shape to slip in between the couch cushions.
Can I use my iPhone as a remote for a non-smart TV?
You can if you add an Apple TV 4K. Otherwise, you’d have to download a separate app to use your iPhone as a remote, like a universal remote app or the Fire TV or Roku TV. Though the newer Fire TV smart televisions support AirPlay, the Fire TV sticks and cube are not compatible with AirPlay.
Why can’t I see the remote control button on the Control Center?
If you can’t see the remote control option on the Control Center and would like to add it, you can go to Settings, then select Control Center, then add the shortcuts you want to add, including the remote control option.