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Do you want IR blasters to return to smartphones?

IR Blaster Moto
IR Blaster Moto (Image credit: Android Central)

As technology evolves, it's only natural for features to come and go. One such feature that was popular a few years back that has since been phased out on smartphones is an IR blaster.

IR (infrared) blasters could be configured with your television, sound system, thermostat, and more to essentially turn your smartphone into a universal remote. It was a genuinely useful piece of tech, but as replacements for infrared solutions popped up, these blasters were steadily removed from just about every phone out there.

Our AC forum members recently shared their thoughts on this topic, and this is what they had to say.

It's just a general trend. Take away features, make incremental spec upgrades, wrap it in a fragile paper thin glass body, and charge more for it. The LG V20 is one of, if not the last flagship I'm aware of that had the IR Blaster.

Mooncatt

I would gladly trade an extra millimeter of thickness for an IR blaster. And for God's sake Samsung, don't take away my headphone jack just to save me the extra millimeter!

arunma

As much fun as an IR blaster may be for some and useful for others it just doesn't appear to be a feature that is desired by the masses. I owned two devices that had an IR blaster but that was simply coincidence. I don't know anyone outside of this forum that wants one so I can understand it being cut from the list of common features.

Mike Dee

I love it, sure I change the channels or turn off the TV but it's useful when I'm at GoodLife working out and don't exactly wanna watch HGTV (Home & Garden) while I'm relaxing on the massage chair. Some days or night I can't stay home to watch NFL so I have to schedule it when I hit the gym. It wouldn't be a problem if they gave us access to the remote.

bembol

What say you? Do you want IR blasters to return to smartphones?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

38 Comments
  • If it requires addional on board hardware then no. Many phones are sacrificing battery life in order to cram more crap into them. Phones are definitely big enough already. I'd rather do without limited use features and have a bigger battery.
  • Huawei mate series phones have blasters AND a big battery
  • I liked being able to mute TVs in waiting rooms.
  • I thought I was the only one that did that.
  • Yes I would definitely want Samsung and Lg to include IR blasters in their line of phones...that y I use redmi note 5 pro as a 2nd phone..soo many times we lose or our normal remotes stop working..having this universal remote on your phone is a blessing...
  • What the hell are your doing with your normal remotes? Lol never had one stop working on me. Ever.
  • Huawei has IR blasters on a lot of devices for years now. Its a really handy feature on my P20 Pro.
  • The P20 Pro is the only flagship to carry an IR blaster and it is rarely mentioned in spec overviews or phone comparisons. I just don't think it's on most people's radar.
  • And mate 10 pro. Is a handy tool to have
  • I personally never used them as I use a Harmony remote for my entertainment center. But I appreciate the fact that others have and am not a fan of removing features that some make use of. This applies to micro SD card slots and headphone jacks, both of which I do use.
  • OMG yes.
    So upset when LG did away with it..
  • I'd love to have it back.
  • I enjoyed this feature on my galaxy S6. Came in handy at doctors office, chicken wing place, and even at home. But my cable provider has an app that allows me to change the phone on all the tv's in the house, and I don't need line of sight or have to be in the room to do it! To me having a headphone jack and not have to deal with dongles or bluetooth are more important.
  • Miss it from my S5 on my S7u... the S5 is currently set up as a universal remote for our ChromeCast since it is so easy to put channel apps right on home screens and have the Peel® remote to control the TV, AV tuner and even the ceiling fans and Air Conditioning... all in one device...
  • No. The remote control apps were garbage.
  • In what way? They work perfectly.
  • The IR blaster used to come in handy. Samsung and LG should still include the feature, I think. And I liked the Sense TV app on my old M7 before HTC switched to Peel.
  • I literally use the ir remote feature every day. When my upgrade was due, bought an LG G5 for $100 bucks and I'm thrilled to have the ir blaster back. We've finally reached a point where 2 year old flagships can still function fairly well. Living the dream:
    - 3 swappable batteries
    - 128gb SD card
    - IR blaster I wasn't an LG fan until I realized they're the only brand that made the phones a user like me wants. Not anymore sadly but I digress.. IR is and was the ****. It's unfortunate most people only use the basics each phone offers.. Luddites..
  • I'd be very happy with a ir blaster
  • Yes. After having it on my lgG3 and G4 I really miss it. So nice to have it set up for the TV and if you lost the remote for a bit or are in bed.. Etc.. It's just cool that you can use it for playing with the TV. I mean Im casting to it all the time, so to have to still need the remote to get going or volume is a bit silly (backwards) I just don't get why they took them away to begin with.
  • I used to use it daily until I got a new phone and it was removed. Immediately missed it. HTC used to put it in the power button, so it really didn't take up any space along the edge of the phone.
    (Did require using compatible case)
  • Would like to see it again
  • I use mine on my Mate 10 Pro every day and love it, but it wouldn't be the end of the world to have a phone without it. If Samsung added this feature it would just be something else to drain their batteries even quicker.
  • I think the IR blaster is a waste of space on a phone. The apps for the tvs r way my handy and don't have to hit the sweet spot on the TV like with ir blasters
  • Yes yes yes please! I used to go to the Student Center and see people watching Foxnews and I'd change it to CNN with no one being none the wiser as to who changed the station. My local Budget King have their TV's tuned to Foxnews by default. I change it every time I eat inside (once every 2 months or so). One time the manager came out and asked me if I touched the TV since I was the only one in the dining room. I told him No and to check the cameras... 😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣
  • I used to do the same thing, except I'd turn them from CNN to Fox News.
  • I want my IR blaster back. They should have never gone away.
  • Nope, I don't have a single device that has an IR sensor. My Samsung TV uses different wireless tech, and I have a remote app on my phone just in case.
  • WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT?? Of course!!! Phone manufacturers NEVER listen to consumers!!!
  • Please return the IR blaster.
  • Since I have a P20 Pro I use it almost everyday for it's OR Blaster.
    AnyMote makes wonder on this device. And wife ND son have a galaxy S6 and a S5 which also have IR.
    Also as an AV tech it is useful on location with screens and projectors to configure :-)
  • I've never had IR so i don't miss it. But I can't imagine changing a television channel in a public place just to suit my viewing taste.
  • My Mate 10 (non-pro) has one and I do not use it. Could not get the correct codes...meh. I have no need for it. Now if we had a choice between the IR blaster and the headphone jack...headphone jack wins every time.
  • This is a big ol DUH! YES BRING IT BACK!!! That was hands down the BEST feature on any given phone! Its more freaking useful than the SPEN... Yes, I said it! Screw the SPEN and give me the IR Blaster! Ok not really... I'd much rather have BOTH of these.... But anyway yea, the IR Blaster needs to come back. It was amazing to be able to just use it. If I couldn't find the remote, I just pointed the phone at it and boom, it did what I needed it to. I never really did that whole 'control devices of other people' thing, but ya know what? Here at work that would be AWESOME to be able to do. All of our TVs out 'on the floor' are button locked so we can't actually do anything with them. And us in the admin building are the only people who can get access to the remotes to fix things when they go wrong (TV turns off thanks to a power outage and needs turned back on/somehow gets changed to the wrong input after such an outage)... So being able to just walk out there with my phone and point at any given TV to fix it, would be SO much better than having to carry around 5-8 remotes to control various TVs... But other than that, the BEST aspect was that I could control things I NO LONGER have a remote to! Such as an air conditioner. The remote broke, and haven't been bothered to really get a new one for it. SO having the IR Blaster on my old phones, I'd just set it up with it that way. Or even a standup heater/fan. Could turn them on/off whenever, and change the temperature or speed. It was just flat out USEFUL unlike so many other things crammed into a phone... I don't need stupid FM Radio via the headphone wires.... I don't need super tiny thin phones that only are made for a 1mm bragging right against some other stupid phone manufacturer.... Give us USEFUL stuff in our phones.... GIVE US BACK THE IR BLASTER. Oh... and make it OPEN too... That's the BIGGEST annoyance about the IR Blaster... The fact that they ONLY worked with the app that was included with the bloatware... That has so many ads baked into it that you have to sit 30 seconds through some bs video just so you can change the TV AWAY from the ad that was playing on it... There are so many IR Blaster apps, but none of them ever work because they are locked down by idiots at Samsung and LG.... BRING THE IR BLASTER BACK, AND MAKE IT OPEN!!!!
  • I don't really care. The only thing I would use it for is my TV but I like my TV to have a remote with real buttons so I can use it without looking at it. I'd prefer to have a headphone jack, wireless charging and even an FM radio before I would really care about the IR blaster. Basically I want phones to include the features they had when smartphones were first introduced. With the invention of streaming services and Bluetooth we have had to give up useful things due to greedy phone makers and Google/Apple..
  • I want removable batteries to return.
  • The last time I used an IR blaster was to transfer files between my Palm Treos.
  • OF COURSE! That iDiotic iSimple state by Apple for iSimples is destroying innovations, removing features...
    + removable battery! Every phone is now dumber than Samsung S5