best universal remote apps ios android

What are the Best Universal Remote Apps in 2020? [iPhone & Android]

In Recommendations by Tim BrennanLeave a Comment

In this article, I’ll weigh the pros and cons of the best universal remote apps for iOS and Android devices.  I’ll include a mix of free and paid apps, and I’ll give you my top picks for major TV brands and streaming media players.

After providing mini-reviews of the 21 best remote apps, I will also include a link to my full review of what I feel is the best universal remote app for both iOS and Android devices.

A Universal Remote App for Your iOS or Android Smart Phone?

Looking for an alternative to all those physical remotes cluttering up your coffee table? Do you like the idea of being able to control your home entertainment equipment and streaming devices using your iOS or Android-powered smartphone or tablet?

How about your smart home stuff?

Then you are in the right place.

While the best remote apps for iOS and Android are far from perfect, there are a few standout apps that just might make you shelve those clunky remotes for good.


Best Universal Remote Apps By Streaming Device

Here is a table summarizing my top eight picks from the best universal remote apps for iOS and Android:

RankApp NameBest ForCompatible WithFree/PaidDownload
1 Logitech Harmony Hub Multiple TVs and Streaming Devices iOS and Android Paid Review and Download
2 ATV Remote App [Apple Official] Apple TV iOS only Free Review and Download
3 RoByte Roku Streaming Media Players iOS and Android Free Review and Download
4 Fire TV Remote App [Amazon Official] Amazon Fire TV Stick and Cube iOS and Android Free Review and Download
5 Android TV Remote Android TV iOS and Android Free Review and Download
6 Yatse Avid Kodi Users Android only Free Review and Download
7 Unified Remote Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs iOS and Android Free and Paid Review and Download
8 Sure Universal Remote Smart TVs iOS and Android Free with In App Purchases Review and Download

Click the ‘Review and Download’ link to jump down to the details for a specific app. Or click here to see my reviews of 14 additional apps!

Disagree with any of my picks?  Please leave me a comment below and let me know about your experience.

Ok, let’s get into my mini-reviews!


1. Best Overall: Logitech Harmony Hub

best universal remote apps ios android

The Harmony Hub — and companion Harmony remote app — simply can’t be beaten if you are looking for one of the best universal remote apps for your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.  Based on years of development and ongoing improvements from Logitech, the Harmony app sets the bar high when it comes to both features and usability for a smartphone remote.

You basically get the ability for you and other members of your household to use the app for free when you purchase any Harmony Hub-based remote. However, Logitech also sells the Hub separately at a steep discount for those who just want to control their devices without a physical remote.

It will also work with pretty much any brand of Smart TV you own and you can also use it to control Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku and most other streaming set top boxes [STBs].

This is my favorite of the best remote apps for iOS and Android devices bar none.

Tech With Brett does a nice job reviewing the Harmony Hub along with Logitech’s Smart Remote product. You don’t need the remote in order to use the Hub with your smartphone.

Pros

  • Swipe and tap to control over 270,000 devices from over 5,000 brands
  • Activities like Watch a Movie or Date Night automate multiple devices
  • Program up to 50 favorite channels with colorful on-screen icons
  • Control lights and other smart devices
  • Create multi-device experiences called activities
  • Voice control with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Controls devices behind cabinets [IR, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth]

Price

Check Price at Amazon [Harmony Hub]

Compatibility

iOS and Android

App Download

Download from: Google Play [Android]| Apple App Store [iOS]


2. Official Apple TV Remote App

best universal remote apps ios android

The Apple TV Remote app is a good companion to Apple TV. It provides similar functionality to the Siri Remote, so if you are familiar with that you know what you are getting. It works with you iPhone or iPad of course and lets you control Apple TV via swipe and tap. There is also a keyboard that you can use to to quickly enter text when searching for content.

It works with:

  • Apple TV (4th generation), using tvOS 9.2.1 or later
  • Apple TV (3rd generation), using Apple TV Software 7.2.1
  • Apple TV (2nd generation), using Apple TV Software 6.2.1

Siri requires Apple TV (4th generation) and availability varies by country and language

Pros

  • Navigate Apple TV with touch and tap gestures
  • Quickly enter text, email addresses, and passwords using the keyboard
  • You can ask Siri to find something great to watch, listen to, or play
  • Control the movie, TV show, or song that’s currently playing
  • View song lyrics, change music tracks, and select movie chapters
  • Game Mode for simplified game controls
  • Use volume buttons on your iOS device to control volume

Price

Free

Compatibility

Requires Apple TV

iOS 9.3.2 or later

App Download

Download from: Apple App Store


3. RoByte

best universal remote appsHandcrafted by two brothers in San Francisco & Illinois, TinyByte Apps’ RoByte is a colorful and well-designed app. In fact it is my top pick out of all the best universal remote apps for Roku. It runs on both Android and iOS and you can use it to navigate your Roku, change channels, choose from favorites like Netflix and Disney+ and more. RoByte is a simple and easy to use Roku remote control that works with your Roku Player or Roku TV.

Note that RoByte can only connect if you are on the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku device, and your iPhone or iPad’s Wi-Fi must be turned on and connected to the same network as the Roku.

Pros

  • No setup is required: RoByte auto-scans your network to find your Roku.
  • Navigate the remote and change channels with a single tap
  • Adjust the volume using the hardware keys if your Roku supports volume
  • Includes keyboard for quick text entry for searches on Netflix and Hulu
  • RoByte is designed for iPhone as well as iPad
  • Easily navigate without looking at your phone using the swipe-pad
  • More than 1 Roku in the house? RoByte pairs with multiple Roku players.
  • Great email support

Price

Free

Compatibility

iOS [iPhone and iPad] and Android devices

Download

Download from TinyByte Apps [click button for App Store or Google Play].


4. Fire TV Remote App [Amazon Official]

best universal remote apps ios android

This is a great app, in theory ☹.  With a beautiful interface featuring clips and highlights from your favorite programs, it just looks cool. I love the look of this interface actually. However, recent updates make it fall short in the areas of compatibility, connectivity, and overall consistency.

Some users complain about problems connecting to Firestick, and others complain that it randomly loses connection and is just too buggy for them to use.  One user goes as far to say “only use if desperate!” LOL. I would say that if you are desperate for an alternate Fire TV remote, use one of the other general remotes listed here instead. What’s interesting is that the problems seem to persist for both iOS and Android users.

Pros

  • The interface is professional and polished

Price

Free

Compatibility

iOS and Android:

  • Requires Android 4.4 and up
  • Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS] | Google Play [Android]


5. Android TV Remote [Google Official]

best remote apps android tv

Use your Android phone or tablet as a remote for your Android TV. Easily switch between d-pad and touchpad modes to navigate content and play games on your Android TV device. Tap the mic to start a voice search, or use the keyboard to input text on Android TV.

To get started, connect your Android phone or tablet to the same network as your Android TV device or find your Android TV via Bluetooth.

Pros

  • Works with all Android TV devices running Android 4.0 and Up
  • Also works on iOS

Price

Free

Compatibility

Android OS 4.0 and Up

iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Google Play [Android] | Apple App Store [iOS]


6. Yatse

best universal remote apps ios android

Next on my list of the best universal emote apps for iOS and Android devices is Yatse. Yatse is the most popular and highly regarded universal remote for Kodi enthusiasts bar none. It is super highly rated and integrates with Kodi, Plex, Emby, Jellyfin as well as your local device. You can use it to stream to your UPnP, AirPlay, Chromecast, FireTV, Roku and Smart TV devices. The only negative about this app is that there is no version for iOS.

Pros

  • One of the most stable and well-developed remote apps I tested
  • Responsive customer support for the developer
  • Supports voice control in seven languages
  • Synchronizes your media library over multiple devices
  • You can access your library offline
  • You can choose from various skins to change the look and feel of the app
  • Offers full documentation, FAQ and active forums.

Price

Free [with a paid option]

Compatibility

Android 4.03 and up

App Download

Download from: Google Play [Android]


7. Unified Remote

best universal remote apps ios android

Unified remote’s tagline is “Be lazy, you deserve it!”  Ha! Love it. The company claims to be the “one and only” remote control app for your computer. While that claim is exaggerated for sure [as this article points out], this really is a great remote if you want one for your computer. There are also app versions that will run on your Android, iPhone, iPad, or Windows Phone.

Pros

  • Available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux and other OSes
  • Supports Wi-fi and Bluetooth devices
  • Installs free remote control “server” on your PC

Price

Free

Compatibility

Server runs on: Windows XP or newer, Mac OS 10.6 or newer, and Desktop Linux 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

App runs: Android 1.5 or newer, iOS 7 or newer, and Windows Phone 7.5 and 8 or later.

Download

Download from: UnifiedRemote.com.

You can access download links for both the Unified Remote Server and apps from here.


8. Sure Universal Remote

best universal remote apps ios android

This is one of the best universal remote apps that combines both the IR features of the older devices as well as the Wi-Fi features of Smart devices. This comes with Amazon Alexa built into it, you can control your smart home, Chromecast, Kodi, Roku, and SmartTV with voice control.

Pros

  • Lets you rearrange buttons
  • Ability to change colors and icons
  • Ability to float the remote when using other apps
  • Amazon Alexa Voice integration
  • File transfer with Shared network
  • Stream media directly to a Smart TV

Price

Free with Ads

Compatibility

Android 5.0 and up

iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS] | Google Play [Android]


9. TV mOTE

best remote apps tv mote

TVmote is a “sophisticated media center remote” created by iOS app developer Jorge Miguel.  While it will not support every TV and device manufacturer, many who use this remote overwhelmingly approve that it is a solid remote app at least for iOS. Several Android users have complained about stability issues.

This is a more technically advanced option that a lot of the other remotes in my list. It supports Kodi and Plex as well as Google Chromecast, Roku devices, and the following smart TV brands:

  • LG Smart TVs (2013/2014 Models)
  • LG WebOS TVs models
  • Panasonic Viera Smart TV
  • Philips SPACE Smart TVs (2009/2011 Models) (beta)
  • Samsung Smart TVs (2012/2015 Models) (beta)
  • Mediaroom STBs (for VodafonePT, MEO and other providers)

Pros

  • Ability to set favorites and change the current channel
  • Multiple layouts improve interaction for different scenarios
  • Auto-discovery (on local network) and manual configuration of devices
  • Keyboard support for Kodi and LG Smart TVs
  • Siri Shortcuts for the remotes’ actions
  • Devices control on AppleWatch
  • iOS Widget with remote
  • TrackPad (iOS)

Price

Free [with a paid option]

Compatibility

Android 4.03 and up

iOS: iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad

App Download

Download from: Google Play [Android]| Apple App Store [iOS]


10. Official Roku TV Remote App

best remote apps roku

Turn your mobile device into “the ultimate streaming companion” with the free Roku mobile app.

You can stream your favorite hit movies from Roku, Netflix, Hulu and many others. You can also watch your favorite TV shows on the go from ABC, CBS, HBO, Showtime, and more. The remote was designed to use it as a second remote for the Roku experience.

Pros

  • Control your Roku device as another remote
  • Stream hit movies, TV shows and more on the go with The Roku Channel
  • Enjoy private listening* with headphones
  • Use your voice or keyboard to search for movies, shows, actors, and directors
  • Cast videos, photos, and music to your TV
  • Add and launch channels on your Roku device
  • Enter text on your Roku device easier with your keyboard

Price

App is Free, but Requires Roku Player*

** Subscription or other payment may be required to access certain channel content. Channel availability is subject to change and varies by country.

Compatibility

Available for iOS and Android

For iOS, requires iOS 9.0 or watchOS 4.0 or later. Works with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

App Download

Download from: Roku.com


11. Rokie

best remote apps roku

Rokie is another solid free iPhone/iPod remote control unit for Roku Streaming Player and Roku TV. Magnificent design, intuitive interface, no pileup of buttons or complex settings. Thanks to this iOS application, access to movies, music and games will become simpler and easier, and you will love your Roku even more. All you need is connect your iOS device and Roku to the same Wi-Fi network. Rokie is compatible with all Roku models including Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3, Streaming Stick, Express, Express+, Premiere, Premiere+, Ultra, Roku TV.

Pros

  • Automatic detection of Roku in the Wi-Fi network;
  • A large touchpad for convenient menu and content navigation;
  • Launching of channels directly from the application;
  • Search for YouTube videos and streaming to Roku from iPhone/iPod.

Price

Free with a paid option

Compatibility

For iOS: Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

For Android: Requires Android 4.2 or greater

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS] | Google Play [Android]


 

12. iRemote for Roku

best universal remote apps

iRemote for Roku TV by iStreamer Apps is one of the best universal remote apps for Roku TV, Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3, And Roku Streaming Stick. It will also let you control TCL, Insignia TV, Sharp TV, HiSense and other TVs with Roku built-in. The remote app interface is almost identical to the existing Roku remote that came with your player. Users who download this remote say that it is better than many other remote apps they have tried.

Pros

  • The interface mimics Roku’s own out of the box remote
  • Auto-detects Roku when app is launched
  • Basic navigation only makes it super simple to use
  • Free to download, doesn’t require sign up

Price

Free

Compatibility

Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [For iOS]


13. Peel Smart Remote

best remote apps peel

The Peel Smart Remote originally launched in 2009 and has since become one of the most popular universal remote apps. The company boasts a download user base of 25 million.  Peel can control a ton of popular TV brands including Samsung, LG, Vizio, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp, Philips, Sanyo, Emerson and more. It is also compatible with most cable and satellite TV services and streaming media players.

One of the cooler features of the app is the ability to display it on your phone’s lock screen so you don’t need to access it if your phone is locked. The interface is easy to use and you can even notifications about popular sports games, movie premiers, and show premiers.

Pros

  • Controls TVs as well as set-top boxes like Roku, Apple TV, and Sonos
  • Automatically sets up devices in your wi-fi network that can be controlled through IR
  • See trailers of your favorite shows in the “videos” section
  • TV guide aggregates content from multiple networks like Netflix, HBO, Showtime, FOX, etc.

Price

Free

Compatibility

Android 4.1.1 or later

Download

Download from: Softonic [Android]


14. SamRemote

best remote apps samsung tv

OK, let’s see if you can guess what brand of smart TV this remote app is made for. Wait for it….wait for it…..you guessed it! Samsung.  I have a Samsung Smart TV, and while I hate to admit it, this manufacturer-developed remote is not too shabby!  The interface itself is a little blocky and could use some work, but functionally it does a decent job of controlling my Samsung Smart TV. SamRemote will work with the following TV models:

  • Series C (2010) with internet
  • Series D (2011) with All Share
  • E Series (2012) with All Share
  • Series F (2013) with All Share
  • Series K (2016 and 2017)

It will likely work with other models too but I wasn’t able to verify.

Pros

  • It’s free
  • Solid response time for TV on/off

Price

Free – with Ads & In-app purchases

Compatibility

iOS and Android:

  • iOS 11.0 or greater on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
  • Android 4.1 and up

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS] | Google Play [Android]


15. TClee – TCL Roku TVs

best universal remote apps

Another cleverly named remote app is the TClee, designed for TCL Roku TVs. The app mimics the Roku remote and is super easy to set up and use. Once you connect your iPhone or iPad to the same Wi-Fi network the app will automatically detect your TCL Roku TV.

Pros

  • Mimics existing TCL Roku TV remote
  • Paid version for $2-$3 is ad-free
  • The latest version includes haptic feedback to feel more like a real remote

Price

Free and Paid

Compatibility

Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS]


16. LGeeRemote – LG Smart TVs

best universal remote apps

I love what they did with the name of this remote app.  It makes me think of the Bee Gees for some reason. LOL.

I’m sure you don’t have to guess what it is for. Yup, this is a great backup or replacement remote to control your LG TV. The remote will work on all LG Smart TVs and those that have LG’s “Web OS” technology. The only requirement is that the TV is connected to your Wi-Fi network.

LG TV owners say that this is a great backup remote.

Pros

  • Solid back up remote for LG smart TVs
  • Includes number pad unlike the original remote

Price

Free with Ads & In-App Purchases

$6.99 to remove ads

Compatibility

Requires iOS 11.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS]


17. Universal Smart Remote

best remote apps ios android

The “Universal Remote TV Smart” created by Yohan Teixeira is an interesting remote app for controlling Samsung, LG, Sony, and Philips Smart TVs. Out of all of the remote apps I tested, I really liked and appreciated the clean interface design of this app.  It supports all of the basics for controlling your television. You can

  • Change the volume
  • Change the channel number
  • Use navigation pad
  • Video control (Play/Pause/Stop…)
  • Menu, Options, Info, Tools
  • Power on/ off

Pros

  • Clever, clean white interface design

Price

Free with Ads & In-app Purchases

$5.99 to remove ads

Compatibility

Requires iOS 10.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [Ios]


18. Anymote

best universal remote apps ios android

While it hasn’t enjoyed the fame of Logitech Harmony, I really like the idea behind this remote. It offers most of the same features of Harmony and integrates with Alexa for smart home control. Google integration is limited to voice commands via Google Now. You can also use it to control your tunes via Sonos and others.

The remote is also fully customizable and it lets you arrange buttons, change colors, add text and more.

<iframe width=”800″ height=”400″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/MB57U2OGklQ” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Pros

  • Very customizable
  • Supports automated tasks for smart home integration
  • Supports GeoLocation
  • Nice interface
  • App is available via the home screen
  • Runs on Apple Watch

Price

Free with Ads & In-app Purchases

Compatibility

iOS and Android:

iOS 9.3 and WatchOS 2.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS] | Google Play [Android]

See also: AnyMote.io for info about the full product with Hub.

Love the random dancing girl! LOL!


19. MAGIc Remote

best universal remote apps

Here’s another remote app that has a killer interface. Love the blue monochrome look. You can use this remote to control your MAG set top box.  If you don’t know what this is or don’t have one then this remote isn’t for you. Supported MAG set up boxes include:

  • MAG245
  • MAG245D
  • MAG250
  • MAG254
  • MAG255
  • MAG260
  • MAG270
  • MAG275

Pros

  • Slick interface
  • Solves problem of MAG set top boxes making TV volume too low

Price

Free

Compatibility

Android and iOS:

  • Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  • Android 4 or greater but some users report problems with Android 5

Download

Download from: Google Play [Android] | Apple App Store [iOS]


20. Remotie for Samsung TV

best remote apps remotie

Out of all the best universal remote apps listed here, save the Harmony app, the design of this one is my favorite. Why? Remotie just nails it from a design perspective. Even though I have a Samsung TV, I wish they would extend this to other brands. An elegant interface, large buttons, an excellent keyboard, and streamlined controls make this the app to beat for your Samsung Smart TV. But here’s the rub. If you don’t want to pay the $4, you might as well forget it. The ads are too frequent for this to be useful.

Pros

  • Large touchpad navigation
  • Control TV, home theater, and Blueray devices
  • Includes a nice QUERTY keyboard like you use for texting
  • Auto restores interface after a telephone call

Price

Free and Paid

$4 to use

Compatibility

iOS and Android

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS] | Google Play [Android]


21. YouTube TV Official

best remote apps ios android

OK, Google. Thanks for getting a universal remote app right. In fact, this remote is positively the cat’s meow. It will actually show you a live preview of what’s on in your feed right in the app. How cool is that? Granted this is part of the overall YouTube TV service, the app is probably one of the more sophisticated and elegant apps I have used ever. TechCrunch and others have blogged about the app.  If you are interested in reading about physical remotes for YouTube TV, check out this post I wrote.

Oh, and if you are new to YouTube TV and interested in cutting the cord, it gives you 50+ cable stations over you Wi-Fi network for $50 [at the time of this writing].

Pros

  • Shows live video feed of your favorite shows right in the app
  • Easily navigate around the interface to your favorite shows, services and channels
  • App mimics YouTube TV’s snazzy interface
  • You can use app on your phone, tablet or computer to control your TV by entering a code [more info here]
  • Large buttons with links to all your favorite shows

Price

App is free, YouTube TV is $50/mo

Compatibility

Android and iOS

YouTube TV requires a Smart TV with an app or Google Chromecast, Roku player & TV, or  Apple TV.

Download

Download from: Apple App Store [iOS] | Google Play [Android]


The Verdict

Full disclosure: after testing nearly all of the best universal remote apps listed here and several others, none of them is a better substitute for a good physical universal remote like those made by Logitech Harmony in my opinion.

You can read one of my reviews of Harmony remotes here. All of these remotes in this review actually include the Harmony app that has the benefits listed above.

However, if you truly just want to be able to control your home theater and smart devices using your smartphone or tablet, the Harmony Hub is a great way to go.

best universal remote apps

👉You can check it out on Amazon here or read my full review of the Harmony Hub here.

A buddy of mine has an iPad mini that he uses exclusively to control his TV and smart home devices, and he loves it. He set up a ‘Netflix and Chill’ activity that automatically dims his lights, lowers his blinds, turns on his fireplace, and then fires up his TV, surround sound setup, and tunes it Netflix. What a player!

He is always walking around with it in his hand and loves showing it off to anyone who visits his home. Here’s what the UI looks like on an iPad.

best universal remote apps


Best Universal Remote Apps for iOS and Android: Sound Off

So what do you think of my picks for the best universal remote apps for iOS and Android devices?

Do you plan on using an app to control your Smart TV, streaming media player, smart home devices and more?

Please leave me a comment below and let me know. I would love to hear from you. Also, if you got some value from this article, would you mind giving it a quick share on social media? You can pin the following pin to Pinterest or use the colorful social sharing buttons at the top and bottom of this page.

best universal remote apps ios android

Thanks for the support!


You Might Also Like

If you enjoyed my review of the best universal remote apps for iOS and Android, you might also like some of my other posts:

11 Best Smart Remotes of 2020 [TV & Smart Home]

Harmony Hub Review 2020: A Killer Smartphone Remote App!

7 Best Universal Remotes with Voice Control in 2020

What Are the Best Remote Controls for YouTube TV? 

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