Your smartphone can be used as a universal remote control

Cupertino, December 7, 2021

On iPhone, you can take advantage of the Apple TV remote control application in the Control Center. On models dating from iPhone X, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to the Control Center surface; swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen on previous models. The Apple Remote can also control AirPlay2 compatible devices, allowing you to stream games, music, photos, podcasts, and videos from your phone to those devices.

Now the bad news: none of these apps designed to replace a tangle of physical remotes is perfect, at least not yet.

"I can't point to a single solution that works truly universally well with all the equipment I tend to use or have tested," says Greg Tarr, editor-in-chief of HD Guru. The website is dedicated to home theater news and consumer reviews.

Tim Brennan, who runs, found several physical remotes designed specifically for older adults, but “there really isn't a single universal remote control app I would have recommended to my now-deceased parents. ” He says he tested a lot of "unwanted" remote applications, many of which he found wrong or which ran "hateful" ads if you didn't pay for the full version.

Free applications work well, says the expert

Brennan has a few favorites. At the top of the list is the Logitech Harmony Hub, which can turn your smartphone into a remote control that you can swipe and tap to control multiple TVs and over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices from over 5,000 brands. It also works with voice and is compatible with both iPhone and Android.

Here's the thing: The wireless Harmony Hub it needs costs $ 99.99. And this option is not perfect either. Brennan indicates the places in the application where a person less skilled in technology might get lost. In addition, while Logitech says it will continue to serve current remote and hub customers, the company has announced that it will no longer produce new models once the current inventory is exhausted.

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