Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

Ok, I have to admit, that headline sounds like click bait. You can’t control everything on your PC or Mac with an iPhone or Android, but you’d be surprised how close you can get. It was the closest I ever got to a tech orgasm. Granted, that says more about me than the app, but as you’ll find out below, the app really does deserve such affection.

Unified Remote

I’ve researched this topic extensively. I’ve examined various remote apps, some of which were incomplete or lacking in quality. I’ve tried using remote apps that were specific to certain applications, hoping for a better user experience. I’ve even deleted remote apps because they were unattractive or difficult to navigate. After eliminating all the inferior options, I discovered Unified Remote. Today, I’ll explain why you should use this app and how it can simplify your life, particularly if you work from home or spend a lot of time near your computer but not necessarily within arm’s reach.

What Can You Do With It?

To use Unified Remote (Android, iOS), you need to be near your PC and both devices must be on the same Wi-Fi network. Install the server app on your Windows PC or Mac, download the app on your mobile, and connect to a server automatically. You can add more servers later on (password protection is supported from the desktop app). It takes just a minute or two to get started with Unified Remote.

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or AndroidControl Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

Unified Remote is a free app available on iPhone and Android. In-app purchases allow for unlocking all features at a cost of $3.99 on iPhone, while purchasing additional remotes for different computer applications can be done for $1. Alternatively, on Android, the Unified Remote Full app is offered at $3.99.

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With Unified Remote, you can perform a variety of tasks, such as using a software keyboard and mouse, powering your PC on or off, controlling music from iTunes or Spotify, managing media playback through VLC and other players, browsing the web using different browsers, and even controlling a PowerPoint presentation from your phone. The app offers many more functions as well.

The free iOS and Android apps are similarly limited. You have about 10 remotes for generic applications, and everything else is locked. However, while the unlocked IAP in iOS only adds remotes and some quick navigation functionalities, the Android app adds features like customizable widgets and quick actions in the notifications drawer, which are powerful. If you’re on Android, the Unified Remote Full app is a must-have. I can’t say the same for the paid upgrade for iOS.

So let’s get into all the stuff you can do in Unified Remote using app/system-specific remotes. Almost all functionalities in the Android and iOS apps are similar. But I’ve specified the differences when applicable. The paid functions are marked.

1. Keyboard, Mouse And Navigation

This is where remote apps began, and Unified Remote has this functionality well-implemented. Scrolling with two fingers on my Windows PC via the Android app is smoother than scrolling with a touchpad on Windows or in the Android browser.

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or AndroidControl Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

If you have an HTPC, scrolling through your movies will be surreal. The keyboard is implemented well. You can see what you’re typing on your mobile device and quickly access keys like the tab key. The mouse and keyboard are docked in the bottom bar and accessible from anywhere. If you don’t like two finger scrolling, there’s a dedicated Scroll Wheel remote. There’s also a simple Navigation remote for arrow keys, escape, tab, etc.

2. File Manager

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or AndroidControl Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

The app allows access to your PC’s file directory. Tap to enter folders or launch a file in the default app. If you don’t use a media center like Plex or XBMC, navigating and launching media files with just a tap works well.

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3. General Media Controls

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

The General media control remote works in any media player, such as VLC, GOM, or Spotify. But it is truly general. All you get are keys for play/pause, stop, previous, next, and volume control. That’s it.

4. Presentation

The free slide show remote is useful to launch a show or change a slide. If you want more control over PowerPoint, you’ll need to pay for a specific remote or purchase the full app.

5. Power

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

I often leave my PC turned on at night, even when there’s no need. In bed, I either become lazy or forgetful, and this is something I want to change. That’s why I use Unified Remote. It allows me to turn off my PC from my phone. It can also restart, put to sleep, or lock the PC. And if Wake On Lan is enabled on my PC, I can even turn on another PC on the same network using my phone.

6. Spotify Advanced And Other Music Players (Paid)

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

The advanced keyboard puts the entire Spotify app from your Mac/PC on your phone. You can search for artists, songs, playlists, control playback and more. If you have the paid app on Android, you can control playback with your voice. Just tap the Mic icon and say “Spotify play” to start playing. However, “Spotify Stop” rarely works due to the music that’s already playing.

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

The paid version includes advanced remotes for iTunes, Google Music, MediaMonkey, Winamp, and Windows Media Player. Like Spotify, you can search for tracks, access playlists, view the artwork for the current song, and utilize voice commands. Tapping on a control button will launch the app if it is not already running (this feature is exclusive to advanced/app specific remotes).

7. VLC, GOM And Other Media Players/Centers (Paid)

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or AndroidControl Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

When I wrote about GOM Media Player, one of the best things was the special remote app. I did use it, but having dedicated controls to GOM inside Unified Remote is even more awesome. It’s not just play/pause support. You can go full screen, control subtitles, and skip by 10 seconds. If you like to sit back on your couch while binge-watching a TV show on your PC/HTPC, this remote is a must. For HTPC users, there are similar remotes for Plex and XBMC.

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Android and Bluetooth: If you want to use Unified Remote for a presentation at work or other places where your devices can’t share a Wi-Fi network, the app supports connection via Bluetooth on its Android app when connected to a Windows machine. This functionality is still new.

Doing More With Android

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

As mentioned, the paid Android app offers additional features. It’s worth noting that it is so interesting that it deserves its own guide. Stay tuned for a detailed guide on how to maximize the benefits of the Unified Remote Full app.

Final Words

The iPhone app does less, but it’s not necessarily a bad app (although it may be less worthy of the in-app purchase). Unified Remote is doing everything within the confines of the iOS system. I’m excited about iOS 8 introducing widgets in the Notification Center and extensions support. Hopefully, the app will update to take advantage of these features, allowing iOS users to use Quick Actions from notifications like Android users can do now.

Also, Unified Remote has a paid app for Windows Phone.

Now, grab some chips, download Unified Remote, and stay on the couch all day!

Control Everything On PC or Mac With iPhone or Android

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