Watching TV is no longer what it used to be. Nowadays, more and more people choose to unplug the cord and switch to online entertainment programs. It also means that those same people are likely sitting at their computer desk longer than they once did.
Of course, there are some who have access to game consoles that plug into their main TV or smart TVs that they can use to access movies and shows directly. However, not everyone is so lucky. While you may not own a Sony PlayStation 4 or one of Samsung’s latest Ultra HD models, chances are you have a smartphone.
With a smartphone, you already have the missing piece that brings your computer-centric home theater together. Just download one of the apps below and you can finally use it as a PC remote to navigate your computer screen from the comfort of your couch.
Turn your mobile phone into a computer remote control
There are quite a few PC remote control apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Most of them are also available for use on Windows and Mac operating systems. There are also apps that can turn your cell phone into a universal remote control that can control everything in your home, from the refrigerator to the air conditioner.
These are the wrong apps.
Remote Mouse (RM) is one of the easiest to use PC remote control apps you’ll find. It’s completely free and turns your Android or iOS smartphone into a wireless input device for your computer.
RM has over a million active users and supports Android, iOS, Windows and Mac operating systems.
- Download and install the Remote Mouse client on your Android or iOS device via Google Play or App Store, respectively.
- You also need to download the server to your computer. Its size is relatively small – only 706 kilobytes, and for a phone application – 9 megabytes.
- After installation, your computer and phone must be connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot or router. This will allow both devices to sync.
- Once the connection is established, start both the server and client applications.
- In the client application, you should see a list of all devices currently connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Click on the name of the device you want to control with the application.
- If the device you are looking for is not displayed, click on the + and select Connect by IP. Enter the IP address of the device in the provided text box.
- When a phone-to-computer connection is established, the client application will open its main user interface.
- The interface contains six functional icons, a settings menu and a power button.
- Just above the icons are three buttons that simulate a computer mouse (left click, middle click / scroll, and right click).
- The main part of the screen is a non-editable text area that will display recently typed text.
- Remote Mouse can be used in two modes: portrait and landscape.
Remote Mouse will remember all devices that have been connected to your phone. If you don’t like the default green, you can change the background image of the interface to something nicer.
It is definitely one of the most popular apps on Google Play. This application supports all versions of Android 4.0.1 or higher and requires a server installed on the computer that is available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. The server only takes up 2 megabytes of hard drive space, but you need Java installed to run on your system.
To connect KiwiMote from your phone to your computer, you need a Wi-Fi connection. One of the great things about KiwiMote is that you can establish a connection by scanning a QR code from your computer with your phone. Alternatively, you will need to enter the IP address, port number and unique PIN to establish a connection.
You get basic PC remote control functions like keyboard, mouse and gamepad, but the app doesn’t let you view your computer screen. Instead, there are several user-friendly interfaces for various desktop applications such as Adobe PDF Reader and VLC Media Player.
KiwiMote is ad-funded and still completely free to download and use.
One of the more interesting remote apps and the only paid app on this list is Unified Remote Like the other two in this article, it requires a phone app and a server on the computer to work.
It not only works with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, but can also control other devices including Raspberry Pi and Arduino Yún.
The free version of Unified Remote comes with standard prerequisites (keyboard, mouse and volume), light and dark themes to switch between, 18 free remote controls, and supports both single and multi-touch mouse controls. It is as easy to set up as the other two, with automatic server discovery and password protection.
If you decide to part with $ 3.99 and purchase the full version, you get over 90 remote controls, the ability to customize your own, and the ability to use voice commands. Why be cheap when you can be lazy instead?