It’s no secret that you can use your smartphone for pretty much anything. But did you know that it can also act as a universal remote control?

Yes, that’s right. You can use your Android smartphone to control your TV, air conditioner, and pretty much any other appliance in your home that has an infrared receiver or smart feature.

However, bear in mind that not all phones can be used as a remote the same way, and not all appliances can be controlled by your smartphone.

So the question is, how can you use your smartphone as a universal remote, and what phones and appliances are compatible with this feature? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

Can my smartphone be used as a universal remote?

There are two ways you can control a home appliance with your smartphone. The first is via an infrared (IR) blaster, which is a hardware feature that comes with some smartphones. An IR blaster is similar to the sensor found on top of your TV remote, which sends the signal to the IR receiver on the appliance.

Secondly, there’s the “smart” way. This means that, even if your phone doesn’t have an IR blaster, you can control any appliance as long as it has WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity. Samples of these appliance include Smart TVs, Smart ovens, etc.

See also: How to play Android games on a TV

How to check if my smartphone has an infrared blaster?

You can easily check if your smartphone has an IR blaster by checking its specs list from the brand’s official website. You can also physically check it by looking at the top of the device. It should look like a small glass circle, just like in the image below.


But if you’re really not sure, you can download an app from the Google Play Store called “IR test.” Upon opening, it will immediately test and tell you if your smartphone has an IR blaster or not.

How to control appliances using my phone’s IR blaster?

Step 1: First thing’s first, make sure your phone has an IR blaster. If you’re not sure, see the section above to check. Also, the appliance you want to control should also have an IR receiver.


Step 2: Open the remote or IR blaster app on your smartphone. If your device has an infrared sensor, chances are, the app needed is already pre-installed on your device.

If not, you can open the Google Play Store, type “IR Remote” or “IR Blaster” and download the app with the highest rating and customer review.


Step 3: Open the app and start the setup. Most apps will ask you what appliance you want to control and its brand.

The setup process usually includes trying different buttons, pointing it to the appliance, and waiting ’til a transmission has been correctly matched. Once done, you’re good to go.

How to control appliances with phones without IR blaster

Using smart devices

This one is quite simple and complicated at the same time. Since your device doesn’t have an IR blaster, the only way to transmit remote commands is via WiFi or Bluetooth.

That said, for this to work, your appliance should be a smart one — particularly something that works with Google Assistant. You can check your appliance’s manual or website if it works with Google.


Once clear, you can download the Google Home app in the Google Play store. From there, you can add the appliance to your Google account where you can control it anywhere in the world.

This also allows you to control the product via the “Ok Google” voice command. Pretty convenient and cool.

Using an IR remote adapter

If you really want that hassle-free, less complicated IR-remote-controlling experience, here’s a plausible alternative for you.


Since your phone doesn’t have an IR blaster, why not give it one? A quick search on e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee reveal tons of IR blaster adapters that can work with your smartphone.

These adapters attach to your phone via the headphone jack or the microUSB/USB Type-C port. Price ranges from Php47 up to Php400. With tons of options out there, it is best to check the customer reviews first to see if they really work.

These are the ways that you can use your Android smartphone as a universal remote control. Have any questions? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll help you out.

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