15 Remote Control iPod touch and iPhone Apps

a couple watching TV. she has a remote control he has a tablet open

Maskot/Getty Images

The iPhone and iPod touch are such popular, powerful devices because the combination of versatile hardware and innovative apps allows them to do a huge range of useful things. Among those things is functioning as remote controls for stereos, set-top boxes, computers, and more.

Whether you want to control your computer’s iTunes library or need to take over other hardware—like an Amazon Fire TV or Roku set-top box – these 15 apps have you covered. No more digging through your couch cushions looking for the remote. With an iPhone remote control, just reach into your pocket to control your media experience.

Stereo & Music Library Remotes

iTunes Remote
Price: Free
Controls: iTunes libraries on Mac and OC
Download at iTunes

Price: Free
Controls: Windows Media Center

PC only; hasn't been updated in years so may have been abandoned by the developer.

Songbird Remote
Price: Free for a limited time
Controls: Songbird Player, an iTunes alternative

Requires Songbird desktop application and remote extension.

VLC Remote
Price: Free
Controls: VLC Media Player
Download at iTunes

Works on Mac or PC; free version has limited feature set: can play, stop, forward, back, but not browse or select files or manage playlists. There is a $2.99 Pro version as well, which removes ads and lets you browse files from the remote.

Set-Top Box & TV Remotes

Amazon Fire TV Remote
Price: Free
Controls: Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
Download at iTunes

Supports all of Amazon's video and app options, plus voice search, on the Fire TV box and Fire TV streaming stick.

Apple TV Remote
Price: Free
Controls: 2nd gen. Apple TV and newer
Download at iTunes

Brings many of the features of the Siri Remote that comes with the 4th gen. Apple TV to the iPhone and allows them to also be used with the 2nd and 3rd gen. models.

myTifi remote for Samsung TV
Price: Free, with in-app purchases
Controls: Samsung Smart TVs
Download at iTunes

Offers all standard Samsung TV controls for Smart TV models from 2010-present; includes an Apple Watch app and iCloud syncing across devices.

Peel Smart Remote
Price: Free app; paid hardware
Controls: over 400,000 TVs, set-top boxes, audio systems, game consoles, and more
Download at iTunes

The remote app is free and will work with some devices; for full compatibility with the largest set of devices, you need to buy the $50 Peel Pronto remote receiver. Buy at Amazon.

Price: Free
Controls: Roku set-top boxes
Download at iTunes

Think of this as the Apple TV Remote app, but for Roku devices. 

Xfinity TV Remote
Price: Free
Controls: Comcast set-top boxes
Download at iTunes 

Requires Xfinity TV or Comcast Digital Video service, Comcast ID or email, plus a compatible set-top box. Browse listings, change channels, schedule DVR recording, and more.

Computer Remotes

Price: $1.99
Controls: iTunes, Front Row, Keynote, QuickTime, iPhoto

Only works on a Mac; hasn't been updated in years so may have been abandoned by the developer.

Price: $ 2.99
Controls: iTunes, Front Row, DVDs, Keynote, Finder, video
Download at iTunes

Connects over Wi-Fi; requires Mac OS X 10.4 and higher; hasn't been updated in years so may have been abandoned by the developer.

Official Kodi Remote
Price: Free
Controls: Kodi Media Center, XBMC versions 11-14
Download at iTunes

Controls Kodi Media Center software, as well as recent versions of XBMC.

Price: Free, with in-app purchases
Controls: Plex Media Server
Download at iTunes

Controls Plex Media Server software, and can support offline sync of content, streaming on iOS, and more.

Price: $0.99, with in-app purchases
Controls: macOS, Plex, XBMC
Download at iTunes

Controls both the OS and many Apple and third-party apps.