Even by today’s standards and the current state of the entertainment market, it is still possible to own a non-smart TV. You’ve either had one for a while or purchased one of the few remaining non-smart TVs.

In any case, universal remotes remain the same overly complicated visual nightmares that they have always been. With that said, is the smartphone a viable option for non-smart TVs?

Can You Use Your Phone As A Remote For A Non-Smart TV?
Can You Use Your Phone As A Remote For A Non-Smart TV?

Can You Use Your Phone As A Remote For A Non-Smart TV?

Yes, You can certainly use your phone as a remote for a non-smart TV if you are willing to download an app or purchase some physical hardware. You’re in luck if your phone has an IR (infrared) blaster. If not, your only option is to buy a separate IR blaster that connects to your phone.

The market is shifting away from non-smart TV sets, and you will likely have more difficulty finding any in the coming years. If you’re looking for one or already have one, replacing your old, outdated, battery-draining remote with your phone is a viable option.


The apps available are for both iPhone and Android, even though iPhone users will have to purchase the additional hardware:

  • AnyMote Universal Remote + WiFi Smart Home Control: This app has over 10 million downloads on Google Play and is well-liked. It’s also available on the App Store.
  • Twine Universal TV Remote: With over 30k downloads, Twinone has a simple design, which is ideal if you want to avoid the absurd complexity of today’s universal remotes. It is available on Google Play, but not on the App Store.
  • Lean Remote – Universal Remote Control: This app is available on Google Play, and an equivalent version is available on the App Store.

These are some of the more popular and highly downloaded universal remote control apps on either the App Store or Google Play. However, there are many different options to suit your visual style, ease of use, or popularity.


IR blaster dongles are available for both Apple and Android devices. Unfortunately, iPhones lack infrared blasters and will require a separate dongle to function. Furthermore, when the iPhone 7 was released in 2016, Apple removed the AUX input.

If you want to buy an IR blaster plug-in for anything after the iPhone 6, you should also get the Apple Lightning Headphone Jack Adapter.

Apple is extremely picky about how its products are used. When purchasing a third-party headphone jack adapter, be cautious because it may not work or may have limited functionality.

  • Baoblaze all-in-one IR Remote Control
  • PADY RO9 iOS Lightning Adapter
  • Zopsc Type-C Wireless Smart IR
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A current list of Android phones that include an IR blaster can be found here. There are also IR WiFi hubs available to connect all of your electronics and allow smartphone control of your non-smart TV:

  • WiFi IR Control Hub MoesGo
  • BroadLink Smart IR Remote Control
  • IR Blaster for Orvibo Smart Home Hub

The hubs do not require the purchase of a dongle and work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Some of the hub options are also IFTTT-compatible.


The beauty of a universal remote control app, adapter, or hub is that it is universal, which means you can control more than just your television. Anything that communicates via infrared will be linked to your smartphone app.

TVs, Blu-ray players, surround sound systems, and air conditioners are just a few examples of products that support IR. Even with the addition of an IR hub, your smartphone can effectively serve as a hub.

Voice command and air gestures are also supported by newer phones. Even if you don’t have a smart TV, an IR-enabled smartphone will help you turn your house into a smart house.

Many of the things you physically control around your home have the potential to be automated with the addition of IFTTT—in some IR hubs. Because Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit are also available on some devices and apps, downloading an IR app, purchasing an adapter, or adding an IR hub will increase your universal remote’s flexibility.

Use Your Phone As A Remote For A Non-Smart TV
Use Your Phone As A Remote For A Non-Smart TV



Anymote universal remote and wifi smart home control are a Google Play app that lets you control any television from your Android device. Fortunately for Android users, many models include an infrared (IR) blaster that allows you to control the TV.

This app can help you control any device that works with IR signals. This means that not only your TV, but also your DVD player, set-top box, and a variety of other devices can be controlled by your phone!

1. Lean Remote

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

2. Twinone Universal Remote

Twinone, which is also available on the Google Play store, is probably the simplest universal remote on the market right now. Twinone’s user interface is simple to use and understand, allowing you to control any infrared device with ease.

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All you have to do is launch the app, select the remote or device you want to control, and the remote will appear! You can easily control it from here by using the simple buttons on the app’s user interface.

3. 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.

4. IR Blaster Dongle

Unfortunately, there is no infrared blaster built into an iPhone. This means you’ll need to buy an additional hardware device to control a non-smart TV.

Fortunately, dongles (small pieces of hardware that plug into your phone’s headphone jack) exist to provide you with this functionality! However, after the iPhone 6, you’ll also need to purchase a lightning adapter to connect to an AUX input, which 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!

5. PADY IOS9 Lightning Adapter

This is an IR universal remote with a Lightning adapter, so you won’t need to buy an additional dongle for AUX input. The PADY IOS9 lightning adapter universal remote, despite being a third-party product, should work well with your Apple device.

You will also need to download apps in order to use this device. The ZAZA universal control app is compatible with this universal remote.

Your Smartphone As Remote For Non-smart TV
Your Smartphone As Remote For Non-smart TV

6. MoesGo WiFi IR Control Hub

The MoesGo WiFi IR control hub is a wireless infrared hub that works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices.

It will immediately connect all compatible IR devices in your home, allowing you to easily control them all. If you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you will be able to control non-smart devices with voice commands as well!

7. Orvibo Smart Home Hub IR Blaster

The Orvibo differs from the MoesGo in that it is not compatible with the same devices. However, it still connects all of your IR devices in your home to a mobile device and has its own built-in voice control, so you only lose very limited functionality!

What’s great about Orvibo is that they regularly update their app database, ensuring that your Orvibo device has all the apps it needs to control the devices in your home and deliver the content you want.

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8. Broadlink Smart IR Remote Control

Because of its massive compatibility with an extremely large number of devices, the Broadlink Smart IR Remote is one of the best hubs on the market right now. It is capable of controlling up to 50,000 different types of IR-controlled devices.

So, the short answer is that you’ll need a phone with an IR blaster or external hardware to control your non-smart TV with a phone. Still, it’s worth the investment because you can say goodbye to the massive pile of remotes you used to have to keep track of.

CONCLUSION: Use Your Phone As A Remote For A Non-Smart TV

If you don’t have a smart TV, you can still integrate it into a smart home or something as simple as a universal remote download. A smartphone can be used to control a non-smart TV. The only thing you need to be aware of is your phone’s IR compatibility.

Your options are still open if you don’t have an infrared blaster built-in. There are plenty of adapters and hubs on the market that will turn your phone into a universal remote—both for non-smart TVs and smart TVs—and much more.

Smartphone As Universal Remote?
Smartphone As Universal Remote?

FAQs About Use Your Phone As A Remote For A Non-Smart TV

How can I control my nonsmart TV with my phone?

Use a streaming device to connect a non-smart TV to WiFi. Connect the selected device to your TV’s HDMI port. If necessary, connect the device to an electrical outlet. Turn on your television and connect to the device. If an app is required, download it.

Is it possible to use an iPhone as a universal remote?

Yes, in a nutshell. You’ll need to download an app and buy some accessories, but using your phone as a universal remote is no longer a pipe dream. Infrared (IR) signals are used by TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, and stereos to determine when to change the channel or play the DVD.

Can I use my iPhone as a remote for a nonsmart TV?

There are remote apps that use an IR blaster in phones that have one; they are not “universal,” but rather “it may or may not work with your TV” apps. If your phone or tablet has an IR blaster, you can use a remote app. Solved!

How can I use my phone to control my regular TV?

Download a TV-remote app like AnyMote Smart IR Remote if your phone has an IR blaster. It can control not only your television, but any device that receives an IR signal, including set-top boxes, DVD and Blu-ray players, stereo equipment, and even some air-conditioning systems.

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