YouTube Remote is a fantastic and free Android application by Google that lets you control YouTube on any PC using your smartphone. I found out about it thanks to commenter TKCOLE, who recommended it in the comment section of our Best Of Android page.
We mentioned YouTube Remote briefly in MakeUseOf Directory, but after TKCOLE’s recommendation I just had to try it out. I was so impressed with it, I decided to write up a tutorial showing exactly how to set it up and what it does. So, TKCOLE, if you’re reading this, thank you for the recommendation!
Setting It Up On The Phone
(I blurred my account on the screenshot, but you get the point.) Once you grant it permission, it connects to that account and then shows this interesting “pairing code” screen:
Now, this is where YouTube comes into the picture. The application makes use of YouTube’s Leanback interface, so let’s go check that out.
Setting It Up On YouTube
This is YouTube Leanback, a version of YouTube aimed for use with televisions and other large monitors. It is very visual, and looks a bit like a cable guide or a channel selection interface in a TV. Next, within My YouTube, scroll all the way to the right until you see the Pair button (it’s at the very end, after the Sign Out button).
Click the huge Pair button or tap Enter, and the pairing interface will appear:
You can either type the nine-digit pairing code into your phone, or use the phone to scan the QR barcode. Let’s switch back to the phone and scan the QR code:
I also picked a name for the screen (imaginative, I know). Once that’s done, tap Add Screen. That’s it!
Now you get an interface full of videos, a search bar, subscriptions, and more. Let’s tap a Julia Nunes video:
It’s magic! I tapped the video on my phone, and it just started playing in the browser on my desktop. How awesome is that? Also, note the different control interface used by Leanback. Those buttons disappear after a moment. Back on the phone, you see this:
You can seek the video, pause it, share it, and more. And what’s even cooler is that you can use your phone’s hardware volume buttons to control the volume of the video.
Since YouTube is generally made up of short videos, the app also lets you queue them up very easily by tapping the Plus button next to each video. You can then set up an entire evening’s watching on the app, hit Play and not have to think about it again.
One of the coolest aspects of using YouTube Remote is that you don’t actually have to be signed in on the computer side. This means you can use the app to control YouTube on any random computer that comes across your way without having to type your Google Account password and possibly allowing other people to access your Gmail or other personal information.
It’s a very simple app to use, but I love it because it it’s one of those rare apps that make technology feel a little bit like magic. Absolutely awesome, and definitely worthy of inclusion in our Best Of Android list.