You'll soon be able to ditch your remote and use your phone to control your Android TV

Blue Google TV Remote
Blue Google TV Remote (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Later this year, Google is releasing a built-in Android TV remote control app.
  • The app will work with both Android TV and Google TV devices.
  • You'll be able to control the interface and use your phone's keyboard to navigate.

We've all been there before. You get caught up binge watching that hot, new show on one of the best Android TV boxes or on your Android TV itself, and next thing you know, the remote is gone. You've looked in the cushions, under the couch, and it's just magically disappeared. Meanwhile, you're unable to tell Netflix that you're still watching.

Android TV Remote

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Google recognizes how much of a hassle that can be, and today, the company announced a convenient feature that's coming later this year. For the first time on Android, you'll have a dedicated remote control built right into your Android phone. From there, you'll be able to navigate and control your Android TV easier than ever. This is a logical move from Google considering that there are more than 80 million Android TV users, all of which have to rely on different remotes for navigating the same interface.

Google states that part of this initiative is to help make the best Android phones work seamlessly with all of the devices that are connected or used in conjunction with it. With the remote control, you'll not only be able to navigate through your Android TV's interface, but if you need to search for something or enter a password, Gboard will appear so you can do so right from your phone.

Perhaps one of the best parts about this new remote control being built right into Android isn't just the fact that it works with Android TV. Google also states that it will work with Google TV devices, such as the Chromecast with Google TV. Now, you won't have to worry about losing those remotes anymore, and can just use your phone for literally anything that you need to do.

Android TV Stream Transfer

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

But the buck doesn't stop there with changes coming to Android TV and Google TV in the near future. Along with announcing some improvements and new tools for developers to take advantage of, Google also introduced "Cast Connect".

This feature allows you to easily cast from your Android phone or Chrome browser straight to your Android TV. Cast Connect goes right in hand with the new Stream Transfer and Stream Expansion features, as a means for transferring media between different devices, including the ability to play videos and audio on multiple devices at the same time. It'll also make it easier to bring your TV into your existing speaker group is you're already streaming audio.

As these aren't exactly consumer-facing just yet, developers can get their hands on the new APIs and the new Google TV emulator starting today. The new GTV emulator is based on Android 11, while developers using the ADT-3 development device can access the first Android 12 Beta for Android TV starting today.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

  • I can just imagine my mother in law and my wife both technology ludites trying to control the TV with their phone or tablet.
  • Lol....... I was thinking the same.
  • Why would I ditch the remote?! It is one of my favourite additions to the Google TV Chromecast. It is simple and easy to use and the Google Assistant is just as efficient and easy to use as on the phone in terms of app launches, content search and other uses. I still make use of my phone now and again to cast some stuff, even once in a while, mostly for fun, I use the Google Assistant on the phone to turn on and off my Google TV Chromecast...or to launch apps etc. But more often than not I use the Chromecast as it's own device. I of course like the seamless integration of individual streaming apps (and other type of apps) on the phone and Chromecast, like for example if I watched a movie or TV series on my phone in one location and had to stop and pause I can pick right up where I left off on my Chromecast (and TV) at home. Since I picked up the new Google TV Chromecast, I have simply haven't had the need to cast from my phone. As I've said, I really like using the Chromecast on it's own away from my mobile device. Another thing, and maybe this doesn't sound important on it's own to some, is that I really appreciate the fact that I was able to set up the Chromecast on it's own, without the need of my mobile device or having to download the Google Home app. Ditto for the individual apps. Now this "new" addition, i.e. the ability to convert your phone into a remote control is I guess useful, at least it's good to have the option, but honestly I really like using the little Chromecast remote, as it does it's intended job quite well and efficiently. I'm not sure if I'll have any use for the phone as a remote or how often I would use it...
  • The biggest reason for using a phone as a remote: Entering Username and Password on those terrible, terrible apps that don't allow you to authorize the AndroidTV device from a webpage. Especially if you've been using a randomly-generated password and a password manager for them. *Glares in CrunchyRoll*
  • I can already do that with my roku app. Welcome to the party google