An update of the Google Home app makes it much more convenient to use compatible Smart TVs, turning the smartphone into a virtual universal remote control
announced in late September in the U.S., a new feature is coming in these hours on Android smartphones in Italy too: the ability to use your phone as a remote control of the Smart TV. A great convenience, which will soon be available for all Smart TVs with Android TV operating system or Google Chromecast HDMI dongles.
The novelty has been included by Google in version 2.46 of the Google Home app for Android (in the same version for iOS is not yet there). That version is being released via a regular update via the Play Store. A very similar feature is already available by pairing via Bluetooth the Smart TV to the smartphone and using the old Google TV app. To do so, however, you need to place the remote control icon among the quick controls in the notification dropdown. In short, it's a very uncomfortable procedure and, in fact, used by very few users. With the integration of the remote control into Google Home, however, everything is more rational and functional.
Television remote control with smartphone: how to do it
To get this new feature you must, first of all, have version 2.46 of the Google Home app. It's being released in these hours, so if it hasn't arrived on our smartphone yet, we'll have to wait a bit.
With version 2.46 installed, however, the new remote control function appears within the app. Just open Google Home, select the tab of the Chromecast or Android Smart TV previously connected, and we'll see in the bottom left a new option: "Open remote control".
At this point we'll have to pair the phone to the TV via Bluetooth by entering the classic code that appears on the TV screen, then we'll be faced with a screen composed of two parts. Above is the virtual trackpad: just move the dot with your finger to move around the TV interface and tap to simulate pressing the remote control button.
If we tap on a field to enter text, such as the field for searching for available content, the smartphone screen will display the phone's keyboard that will allow us to type in a much more comfortable way: typing text with the TV remote control is always uncomfortable, while using voice commands is not always effective (especially in the case of content in a foreign language, if our English pronunciation is not very good).
In the lower part, however, we'll find three buttons: the first to go back, the second to return to Home and the third to activate voice commands.
Controlling the TV with Quick Commands
If this new feature is not yet available on the app we have installed on the smartphone, we can still use the old method to familiarize ourselves with the virtual remote.
The first thing to do is to open the notification dropdown and press the small pencil icon, to customize the quick commands. If the remote control is not already present among our quick commands, then we can add it.
Once we have pressed the quick command of the remote control, then, we will find ourselves back in front of the pairing screen, in which we will have to enter the code that appears on the connected Smart TV. At this point we can use the virtual remote control.