Can You Use Your Phone as a Remote for a Non-Smart TV?

All too often our televisions are controlled by a pile of remotes that all control different aspects of your TV. There seem like there’s one for the cable box, one for the audio, and one for the TV itself. Some of us even have more than this. With the surge in popularity of smart TVs however, this has become less of a problem. 

That being said, some of us still have regular TVs. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could control your regular TV with a phone, just like a smart TV? 

Well, turns out you can! There are multiple ways of controlling your TV with your phone, even if it’s not a smart TV, provided you are willing to purchase additional hardware and/or download apps! 

So, how is this possible, you might be asking. Well, read on! In the article below, we’ll cover all the ways to control your non-smart TV with a phone, how practical it is, and which way might be best for you. 


There are a number of apps available on either the Apple App Store or Google Play that will allow you to control televisions from your mobile device. There are apps that are available for both iPhone and Android, though users with iPhones will likely have to purchase additional hardware to make theirs work. 

Anymote Univeral Remote + WiFi Smart Home Control 

The Anymore universal remote and wifi smart home control is an app on Google Play that will allow you to take control of any television from your Android device. Luckily for Android users, many androids come with a built-in infrared (IR) blaster, which will allow you to control the TV. 

This app can help you control any device that uses IR signals to work. This means not just your TV, but your DVD player, set-top box, and many more devices are able to function based on your phone’s controls as well!

Lean Remote

Lean remote is a universal remote control app on the Google Play store. This app can be used to control smart TVs and devices such as Chromecast and Roku, while also having the IR capability to control cable boxes, DVD players, and other non-smart devices. It can also, on certain TVs, allow you to access the menu and even switch sources. 

Twinone Universal Remote

Twinone is probably the simplest universal remote on the market right now and is also on the Google Play store. With an easy-to-understand and easy-to-control user interface, Twinone allows you to control any infrared device with ease. 

All you have to do is open the app, select the remote you want to use or the device you want to control, and the remote will open up! From here, you’ll be able to control it using the simple buttons on the app’s user interface easily. 

Hardware Devices

There are also a number of hardware devices that will help with using the apps listed above and allow you to control your TV. After all, your smartphone and your television were not built with each other in mind, so you might need a bit of help in some cases to make this work. 

IR Blaster Dongle

For iPhone users, there is, unfortunately, no IR blaster inside of an iPhone. This means in order to control a non-smart TV, you will have to purchase an additional hardware device. 

Fortunately, there are dongles (small pieces of hardware that are plugged in through your phone’s headphone jack) that will give you this functionality! However, past the iPhone 6, you’ll also need to buy the lightning adapter that allows you to connect to an AUX input, as this is what most IR blasters use. 

A word of warning, however. Apple does not like to make its products very compatible with third-party products. Make sure you know that what you’re buying will work well with an iPhone before making any big purchases!

PADY IOS9 Lightning Adapter

This is an IR universal remote that actually has a Lightning adapter on it, meaning you won’t have to buy the extra dongle for AUX input. Although third party, the PADY IOS9 lightning adapter universal remote should work well with your apple device. 

There are apps you will need to download in order to use this device, as well. This particular universal remote is compatible with the ZAZA universal control app. 

Zopsc Type-C Wireless Smart IR

This wireless smart IR universal remote is another great option for anyone looking to control their non-smart TV with a mobile device. This one is especially easy to use, as you don’t even need to point it at the associated device. 

Not only that, but it is powered directly from the power of the mobile device, meaning no extra batteries or cables are needed at all! 

This remote can control any electronic device that uses IR, including some fans, refrigerators, and of course TVs, DVD players, and blu ray players as well. 

Baoblaze all in one IR Remote Control

This adapter is for Androids exclusively and can control not only IR devices but smart devices as well if you do in fact have some of those. It is compatible with the Zaza universal control app.

The baoblaze boasts an IR distance of 10 meters, which makes it one of the longest rage blasters on the market. This means even in very large rooms you can control the television or other electronic device that uses IR from afar!

IR Hubs

There is also something called an IR hub. This will allow all of your devices and electronics together, allowing control of your non-smart TV via mobile device. 

MoesGo WiFi IR Control Hub

The MoesGo WiFi IR control hub is a wireless IR hub that is compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices. It will immediately connect all of the compatible IR devices in your home, allowing you to control all of them with ease. This particular hub will allow you, if you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa, to control non-smart devices with voice commands as well! 

Orvibo Smart Home Hub IR Blaster

The Orvibo is a bit different than the MoesGo, as it is not compatible with the same devices. However, it does still connect all the IR devices in your home to a mobile device, and has a built-in voice control of its own too, so you lose very limited amounts of functionality!

What’s great about Orvibo is that they update their app database monthly, making sure your Orvibo device is up to date with all the apps it needs to control the devices in your home and deliver you the content you want. 

Broadlink Smart IR Remote Control

The Broadlink Smart IR Remote is one of the best hubs on the market right now due to its massive compatibility with an extremely high number of devices. It can control up to 50,000 different kinds of devices that are controlled by using IR. 

So, the short answer is, in order to control your non-smart TV with a phone, you’ll need a phone with an IR blaster, or external hardware that allows you to do so. Still, its worth the investment, as you can say goodbye to the giant pile of remotes you needed to keep track of before. 

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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