Google launches remote app for Google TV and Android TV

Mike Wheatley

Google TV has finally delivered on its promise to allow viewers to control their TVs with their smartphones as opposed to the regular remote control.


Android mobile remote support has been added to Google TV devices through an update. Google first promised to make the feature available last May, so it has been a while coming. For now, it only works with Android devices, so iPhone users will not be able to join the party and there’s no word if they ever will.

“Starting today you can find something great to watch on your Google TV even when the couch has eaten your remote,” Google explained in a blog post. “We’ve built remote-control features directly into your Android phone so you can power on your TV, navigate through your recommendations or event start up your favorite show right from your phone.”

While the new controls will benefit those who’re constantly losing the remote somewhere in the sofa, perhaps the real advantage is how it will streamline tasks such as entering long and complicated passwords, search terms or movie titles, something that’s incredibly slow and fiddly when no keypad exists.

Google has promised the remote control features will extend to all Android TV OS devices – not just Google TV, which is a more streamlined version of the platform that first appeared on the new Chromecast device last year. So it’ll be possible to use an Android smartphone or tablet to control a device such as the Nvidia Shield too.

Google said there are two ways to access the remote controls on your Android device. You can add the remote tile to the quick settings in your phone, or alternatively just download the Google TV app that’s launching in 14 new countries. Currently U.S.-only, that app will launch in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Frances, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. in the next few weeks.

Google also said the Android TV device must be running version 5.0 or later of the Android TV Remote Service. The update will be pushed to all phones eventually, but for those who don’t want to wait it’s possible to do so manually by following the instructions here.