Apps to Change your iPhone to Remote Control

Here is the list of apps that helps you to control dozens of gadgets, ranging from your DVR to your computer or digital camera remotely using your iPhone. Many of them are free, and most are a few bucks or less.

– Home DVR: Free apps from DirecTV and AT&T let you program your digital video recorder from anywhere.

– iTunes: Via Apple’s free Remote app, search and change the song playing on your computer’s iTunes jukebox from bed, across the house, or even outside. Or change volume settings, or hit pause, etc.

– Presentations: Apple’s $0.99 Keynote remote lets you control Keynote presentations if you own the iWork suite. Other apps, like Evan Schoenberg’s $0.99 Rowmote can steer PowerPoint slides.

– Apple TV: Apple’s free Remote software also controls the Apple TV set-top box, if you have one of those.

A recent update adds a nifty feature that lets you use your iPhone’s multi-touch screen as a “gesture pad” to scoot around the Apple TV display. This is much easier than using the small, plastic remote that came with Apple TV.
– Sonos Home Stereo: If you have a Sonos multi-room sound system, your iPhone is now a remote via the free Sonos Controller app.
– X-Plane Flight Simulator: Sort of like how Nintendo’s DS has a touch-sensitive second screen that often controls what’s happening on the first screen, this will let you control and observe some of your flight simulator’s features — on your computer — using the iPhone as a smaller, second screen. Requires the $4.99 X-Plane Remote app and the $39 desktop X-Plane software.

– Boxee: If you use the free Boxee media center software on your Mac, PC, Linux box, or Apple TV, now you can use your iPhone as a remote via Boxee’s free app. (What’s Boxee? Think of it as a multimedia-specialized Web browser that you’re supposed to steer from your couch. Lets you watch Netflix movies, MLB.TV, and other Web video streams.)

– Digital SLR Camera: One software makes a lite ($1.99) and pro ($19.99) version of its DSLR remote app. If you hook your Canon EOS DSLR camera up to a computer via USB, you can remotely control settings, fire the shutter release, and see your camera’s viewfinder remotely over wi-fi.

– Desktop PC or Mac: This one takes a little tinkering, but free VNC — “virtual network computing” — remote desktop software on your computer (Mac, PC, Linux, etc.) will let you view and control it from anywhere, provided it’s turned on and hooked up to the Internet. The VNC app we’ve been using for our iPhone is the free Mocha VNC Lite; there’s also a pro version for $5.99.

– Blu-ray Discs: A new Fast & Furious Blu-ray disc, to be released on July 28, includes a “virtual car garage,” which lets iPhone and iPod touch users see different views of the movie’s racers and cars by using their touch screens. You’ll also be able to use the iPhone or iPod touch as a remote control on some Blu-ray discs, provided you have a Blu-ray player that’s hooked up to the Internet.

– VLC Media Player: If you use the free, popular VLC (Video LAN client) media player app, you can control it with your iPhone via the free VLC Remote app or its $2.99 premium cousin.

– XBMC (Xbox Media Center): If you use the Xbox Media Center app to watch movies on your Mac, you can control it remotely via apps like the $2.99 XBMC Remote.

– Security Camera: Plenty of security camera monitoring apps in the App Store, depending on your rig. By far the most expensive, though, is Lextech Global Services’ $699.99 iRa Pro, which delivers “a video command center to the palm of your hand.”

– Home Automation System: Home automation apps like the $4.99 iHome remote for the Indigo server let you adjust your home lighting from anywhere. (Update: Indigo offers a free app. More info here.)

– Boyfriend: Ladies: We’re not quite sure how this one works, but the $1.99 “Boyfriend remote” app is worth every penny if it performs magic. You can tell it to “give me money,” “foreget about beer,” and even “take me to the mall.” Classy.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

4 Responses to Apps to Change your iPhone to Remote Control

  1. Gary Flax says:

    Elias, you’re missing ControlUI’s app for the Control4 home automation solution. This app is probably one of the best control apps available, and now it’s available for iPad as well.

    Control your lighting, thermostats, televisions, DVD players, stereo receivers, cable boxes, VCR’s, garage doors, windows, blinds, and much more. Access and control music throughout your home with this app as well. Keep in mind that you need to have a Control4 solution installed in order for the app to work. The apps GUI interface is exactly the same as the GUI used on their system so it’s easy to learn. Fantastic product and solution for control. Withe the soon to be released OS Version 2.0 for Control4 you will be able to control your home over the 3G network.

    Gary Flax
    VP of Sales
    Smart Automation Solutions
    Kensington, MD

    • Elias Shams says:

      Gary, Perfect timing you sent this. Is this your product or you just know about it? If it is yours, Feel free to send me more as well as the link for our readers to download it from.

      I am currently writing about two more Apps that I received from a PR company along with their Ads for advertising 🙂 Once, I am done with it, I will look into this one and might add it to my article if makes sense.

  2. Gary Flax says:

    I wish I could take credit for these products but no, my company, Smart Automation Solutions, designs and installs smart home solutions in the Washington DC metropolitan area and Control4 happens to be one of the solutions that we offer.

    Control4 is one of the premier automation solutions on the market today, at a price point that fits ANY homeowner. These solutions arent just for the rich anymore. And the practical capabilities they offer (besides the fun things they can control), such as monitoring the elderly or severely handicapped, saving electricity and going green, make these solutions even more exciting.

  3. Masha says:

    Thanks a lot! And did you know anything about ActyMac ScreenShots Remote by actymac?
    Did you use it? I heard that it allows to get desktop images from your Mac to iPhone.
    It’s good tool to watch from employees and kids I think.

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