Use Your Smartphone As a YouTube Remote Control With Any Computer [Android 2.0+]

youtube remote controlYouTube 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

youtube remote control

When you first start the app, it will pop up a short explanation ask you to agree to the Terms of Use. Next, it would ask to associate with a Google account:

youtube smartphone app

(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:

youtube smartphone app

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

youtube smartphone app

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).

youtube smartphone

Click the huge Pair button or tap Enter, and the pairing interface will appear:

youtube smartphone

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:

youtube smartphone

I also picked a name for the screen (imaginative, I know). Once that’s done, tap Add Screen. That’s it!

youtube[19]

Now you get an interface full of videos, a search bar, subscriptions, and more. Let’s tap a Julia Nunes video:

nunes

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:

youtube remote control

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Best Android Apps
Best Android Apps
128 Members
Android Rooting and ROMs
Android Rooting and ROMs
88 Members
Android OS Tips
Android OS Tips
74 Members
Best Android Games
Best Android Games
48 Members
Best Android Phones
Best Android Phones
45 Members
Android Rumors and News
Android Rumors and News
27 Members
Best Android Tablets
Best Android Tablets
26 Members
Android Helpdesk
Android Helpdesk
2 Members
Android Themes & Wallpapers
Android Themes & Wallpapers
1 Member
Comments (3)
  • Lusky

    There is a product in Google Play (Andorid Market) called Wayhoy! very easy to use that lets build playlists and many controls for videos.
    Thanks

  • apcrcom

    There is a much better product for this, that will let you control most “HTPC” related apps with a smartphone!  check out UNIFIED REMOTE. It has presets for most apps and also a “mouse mode” that makes navigation a breeze. Highly recommended for situations like the one desctibed in this article

    • Erez Zukerman

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but Unified Remote requires installing something on every PC you want to control. Right?

Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.