Watching TV is not what it used to be. Today, more and more people are deciding to disconnect and switch to online programming for fun. It also means that the same people are likely to be sitting at a computer desk longer than before.
Of course, there are some who have access to game consoles that connect to their main TV or smart TV, which they can use to access movies and shows directly. However, not everyone is so lucky. While you may not have a Sony PlayStation 4 or one of Samsung’s latest Ultra HD models, chances are you do have a smartphone.
With a smartphone, you already have the missing piece that ties your PC-centric home theater together. Just download one of the apps below and you can finally use it as a PC remote control to navigate your computer screen from the comfort of your own couch.
Turn your mobile phone into a PC remote control
Google Play and the Apple App Store have quite a few apps for remote PC control. 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 capable of controlling everything in your home from your refrigerator to your air conditioner.
These are not the programs.
Remote Mouse (RM) is one of the easiest-to-use PC remote control programs you’ll find. It’s 100% 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 the App Store, respectively.
- You will also need to download the server to your computer. The size is relatively small – only 706 kilobytes, and the phone application – 9 megabytes.
- After installation, the computer and phone must be connected to the same Wi-Fi access point or router. This will sync both devices.
- After the connection is established, start the server and client programs.
- In the client program, you will be able to see a list of all devices connected to the same WiFi network.
- Tap the name of the device you want to control with the app.
- If the device you’re looking for doesn’t appear, tap + and select IP connection. Enter the IP address of the device in the text box.
- After successfully connecting the phone to the computer, the client program will open its main user interface.
- The interface includes six function icons, a settings menu, and a power button.
- Right above the icons are three buttons that mimic 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 the newly typed text.
- Remote Mouse can be used in two modes: portrait and landscape.
Remote Mouse will remember all devices connected to your phone. If you don’t like the default green color, you can change the background image of the interface to something more pleasant.
This is definitely one of the highest rated apps you’ll find on the Google Play Store. This application supports all versions of Android 4.0.1 or higher and requires the installation of a server on a computer, available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. The server will only take up 2 megabytes on your hard drive, but requires Java to be installed on your system to run.
You will need a WiFi connection to connect KiwiMote from your phone to your computer. One of the cooler features is that KiwiMote allows you to connect by scanning a QR code from your computer with your phone. Additionally, you will need to enter an IP address, port number, and a unique PIN to establish a connection.
You’ll get basic PC remote control features like keyboard, mouse, and gamepad, but the app won’t allow you to view your computer screen. Instead, you get several user-friendly interfaces for various desktop applications, such as Adobe PDF Reader and VLC Media Player.
KiwiMote is funded by advertising and remains completely free to download and use.
Unified remote control
One of the more interesting remote apps and the only paid one on this list is Unified Remote. Like the other two in the article, it requires a phone app and a computer-side server 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 the standard core features (keyboard, mouse, and volume), light and dark themes to switch between, 18 free remotes, and supports both single-touch and multi-touch mouse control. It’s just as easy to set up as the other two, offering automatic server discovery and password protection.
If you decide to part with the $3.99 and buy 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?