How to Use Your Phone as a Wi-Fi Mouse

Who needs a Swiss Army Knife when you have a smartphone?

Working remotely from cafés and co-working spaces is prevalent, but it often requires carrying a laptop, mouse, keyboard, and other accessories. To lighten your load, use your Android smartphone or iPhone as a Wi-Fi mouse, remote control, and keyboard. All you need is a mobile app and a desktop server app.

For Android phones, the apps and directions included here should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Advantages of Using a Smartphone as a Mouse

When you connect your smartphone to your PC, you can control music and video playback, including volume adjustment, type quick notes or input a password, and navigate documents and the web.

It's also handy when making presentations or if you want to mirror your screens. Turning your phone into a mouse is also convenient if your laptop's touchpad is broken or not acting properly.

Best Smartphone Mouse Apps

Many apps can turn your smartphone into a mouse for your computer; these three are good options: Unified Remote, Remote Mouse, and PC Remote. We gave each of them a test run, using an Android smartphone and Windows PC.

All three apps were intuitive, and the mouse/touchpad function worked without a noticeable delay on each. The keyboard function on Unified Remote and Remote Mouse worked fine, but we found ourselves wishing we could just use our smartphone's keyboard. For anyone who needs a remote or wireless mouse, we recommend any of these three apps. 

Unified Remote (by Unified Intents) works with Windows, Macs, and Linux and has a free and paid version. The free version includes 18 remotes, multiple themes, and third-party keyboard support. The paid version ($3.99) adds more than 40 premium remotes and the ability to create custom remotes. Remote options include a keyboard and mouse. The premium version also supports screen mirroring on PCs, Macs, and Android devices. It also has voice control and integrates with Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) and Tasker. There's also a 99-cent version built for TVs, set-top boxes, game consoles, and other devices. Unified Remote can also control other connected devices including the Raspberry Pi.

Remote Mouse (free with in-app purchases) works with PCs, Macs, and Linux. The app provides a touchpad to control your computer with swipe motions and an on-screen keyboard. You can adjust sensitivity and speed settings as you would with a computer mouse.

PC Remote (free; by Monect) works on Windows PCs and turns your Android or Windows phone into a keyboard, touchpad, and game controller. You can play PC games with customized button layouts, and project images from your smartphone onto your computer.

How to Set up Your Mobile Mouse

Each of these options has a desktop app and a mobile app that work together, and set up is similar across each.

  1. Install the PC server software. Follow the software installation instructions or wizard.

    screenshot - Download and set up Unified Remote server on Windows
  2. Install the mobile app on one or more phones or tablets.

    Install Unified Remote on Android screenshot
  3. Connect each device to the same Wi-Fi network.

  4. Choose your activity (choices include media, games, file manager, and others).

    screenshot - Using Unified Remote as a mouse on Android

Once you're set up, the desktop app appears in the menu bar on your PC, and you can change settings in the mobile app and toggle between activities. Slide your fingers to navigate around the screen, pinch and zoom, and left- and right-click using gestures.

When at home, use your phone mouse to play music or videos. If you have multiple devices, people can take turns playing DJ. At a café, be productive without carrying around too much equipment; just make sure your smartphone and PC are on the same Wi-Fi network. Out on the road, use your remote to make a presentation or run a slide show.

These apps can turn your smartphone into a jack of all trades. Give them a try and be more productive on the go.