Nothing trumps the convenience of having a universal remote that’s always in your pocket – especially if it’s your cell phone, and especially if it’s a touch screen, motion detecting, internet browsing cell phone. This guide will show you various ways your iPhone can be used as a “remote” to wirelessly control some useful programs and devices.
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1. Remote (Apple Inc.)
This is an oldie but a goodie. Remote allows you to wirelessly control the music on your computer or Apple TV from your iPhone or iPod Touch. With remote, you can play, pause, skip, shuffle, see your songs, see your playlists, see your album art, edit playlists, create and update Genius playlists, search your library, and control your AirTunes speakers.
Go here for an easy set-up guide.
Let’s say you’re running late at work, and forgot to schedule the recording of this week’s episode of Heroes because last week it was interrupted by the President’s address to congress and it messed up your schedule. Normally you’d break down and cry – but with this free iPhone app – simply log into your account and set the recording.
You can even choose which receiver (as in which room), the priority, and how long to store it.
This application allows you to:
- Search for any show or movie up to 2 weeks in advance
- Browse programs by channel or date & time and access program info instantly (description, length, rating)
- Record a single episode/movie or an entire series
- Record to any DVR in your home
Note: You must have a DIRECTV residential home account registered on www.directv.com to record shows. You must have DIRECTV PLUS DVR (models R15, R16, R22), DIRECTV PlUS HD DVR (models HR20, HR21, HR22, HR23), or TiVo Series 2 receivers with 6.4a software.
If you’re just looking for a way to browse and record shows on-the-go, TiVo’s mobile site will work wonders for you. Simply follow this link on your iPhone: http://m.tivo.com/
See all the features in the screenshot below:
4. DVR Remote for TiVo
This app literally turns your iPhone into a remote control, allowing you to wirelessly control the TiVo Series 3 DVR and to browse your Now Playing information.
- TiVo DVR’s are automatically detected by the application (no IP entry needed)
- Fast text entry to search on the DVR (including YouTube – simply swipe to select the red keyboard)
- Save favorites
- View “Now Playing” info on your iPhone or iPod Touch
- Edit Button Layout
- Embedded browser for TiVo Mobile to find and schedule shows
- TiVo Series 3, TiVo HD, or TiVo HD XL DVR
- Wireless network on the same subnet as the DVR with Bonjour support
To set up the remote control, go to: Messages and Settings > Settings > Remote and Devices > Network Remote Control. Enable “Network Remote Control”.
To set up the “Now Playing” feature, go to: Messages and Settings > Account and System Information > Media Access Key. Locate your “Media Access Key” and enter it into the iphone application.
5. Keynote Remote (Apple Inc.)
Keynote Remote allows you to control your Keynote slide presentation on your computer from your iPhone or iPod Touch. The application is clearly very helpful and useful for all Keynote users who give presentations.
- Control your Keynote presentation
- Swipe across the screen to change slides
- Flip the phone to landscape made to preview the next slide
- Works with any Mac with Keynote ’09
Rowmote tries to turn your iPhone into a replica of the little white remote control which came with your Mac. The actual remote costs $20, while this app only costs $0.99, and eliminates the need for extra hardware.
Make sure you read all the features, this application can do amazing things.
- Control your Mac over a wireless network
- Switch between controlled programs
- Wake a sleeping Mac
- Put your Mac to sleep by pressing and holding the play button for 3 seconds while controlling any Apple application
- Control iTunes
- Toggle visualizer
- Toggle coverflow
- Toggle fullscreen mode in many applications
- Click-and-hold works just like on physical remote
- Hold right to fast forward (and left for rewind)
- Control Apple TV
Functions like the actual Apple remote in:
- Front Row
- Airfoil Video
- Apple TV
- DVD Player
- Keynote ’08 and ’09
- Microsoft Powerpoint ’04 and ’08
- XBox Media Center
If you’re a Mac user with an iPhone, this application is definitely worth the price.
7. Boxee Remote
Boxee is a cross-platform freeware media center software with social networking features designed for the television. This application gives boxee users the ability to turn their iPhone into a boxee remote control. Connect to boxee over WiFi.
There are two modes of control: button and gesture. In button mode you click, while in gesture mode you hold the boxee logo (2nd screenshot above) and drag it up, down, left, or right. Click on the boxee logo to perform an action.
8. Sonos Controller
This free application turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a full-featured controller for the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. Sonos Controller extends the already extremely convenient (and pretty pricey) Sonos music system by allowing you to wirelessly control your entire home’s music from your phone. Instantly access all the music in your personal collection, including your itunes playlists.
Sonos allows you to listen to different things in each area of the house.
You can listen to:
- Stream millions of songs and stations in separate areas of the house wireleslly with no computer required
- Play tunes from a NAS drive or Apple Time Capsule without turning your computer on
- Control music selection and volume for each individual room
- Full-featured alarms
- Search for any song
You must have Sonos in your home in order for this to work.
For more info about Sonos, go here.
9. iLinc Pro Insteon/X10 Controller
iLinc Pro is an iPhone application that allows you to control all the lights in your home or office wirelessly from 1,000 miles away. Forgot to turn off the lights? Want to turn the lights on so it looks like someone is home? Do it with your iPhone.
This application allows you to command all the Insteon and X10 lights and devices in your home or office.
- Turn Insteon and/or X10 devices on, off, or dim
- Username and password protected
- Create custom scenes with a mix of Insteon and X10 devices
- Supports up to 60 Insteon or X10 devices
- PowerLinc Controller 2414U or 2414S
- Insteon SDM Software running on a Windows PC
More info about Insteon.
10. Air Mouse Pro
With Air Mouse Pro your iPhone or iPod Touch becomes an in air, wireless mouse for your computer. Use it to browse the web, browse libraries, or control your music player. The application uses your phone’s accelerometer to translate your hand motions into commands on your computer screen. You can also use it as a trackpad, sliding your finger around the screen.
The app comes in handy for home theatres, presentations, and showing off in front of your friends.
Works with Mac or Windows. WiFi required.