Those who use a PC as a media center to watch movies on TV are forced to buy a wireless keyboard so that they can control the PC, move the slider or write while sitting on the sofa. To make it as easy as possible to control your mini PCs and avoid the additional expense of a wireless keyboard, we can use convenient smartphone apps so you can use our phone as a PC mouse and keyboard. We see in this guide which app to use on Android and iPhone and how to configure the server on a computer.READ ALSO: Use iPhone or Android as a mouse and keyboard for your computer
How to use your smartphone as a PC mouse and keyboard
In order to control the computer using our smartphone, we will have to rely on some services that allow keyboard and mouse interaction using an input management server, to be installed in advance on the computer. In this way, we can simulate the touches of the mouse on the phone screen as if it were a virtual touchpad and write on the screen or in text fields using the smartphone’s on-screen keyboard.
One of the best apps for controlling your PC from your smartphone is Unified Remote, available free for Android and iOS / iPadOS.
To use this app the only requirement is that both the PC and the smartphone or tablet are connected to this same Wi-Fi network.
Once the app is installed on our phone, let’s go to the PC to be checked and download the Unified Remote server, available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows PCs. At the end of the installation, we start the server and allow it to start automatically together with Windows, so that we can immediately check the system at every startup.
With the server started, let’s get into the app and use one of the available remote controls: we can, in fact, start the on-screen keyboard, with an empty space at the top with a scroll bar, and the touchpad remote control, so as to simulate mouse gestures directly on the screen touch of the phone. In addition to these two remote controls, others are available for control multimedia apps, to control the browser and media center programs: many of them are paid, but already with the free version of the app we will have everything needed to control the computer directly from our smartphone.
To purchase the full version, just go to the Unified Remote Full page (€ 5); if instead, we wanted to control any TV via IR, we can also buy the Unified TV app (€ 1).
Another very useful app to control the computer from the smartphone is Remote Mouse, also available for free for Android and iOS / iPad.
The operation is very similar to Unified Remote: first, we will have to install the server on our PC with Windows, start it and set it to auto-start; only now can we open the app on the phone so we can control the cursor via the virtual touchpad. If necessary we can also call up the telephone keypad or take advantage of the special keyboard, containing the keys commonly found on a Windows keyboard (for example Shift, Caps Lock, Control, Alt, Windows key, etc.).
The peculiarity of this app is that the server can also be installed on Mac and on GNU / Linux systems, so as to be able to control all types of computers in our possession.
Serverless Bluetooth Keyboard / Mouse (Android only)
If we want to avoid installing a server on our computer and using only the Bluetooth connection, we can install the free Serverless Bluetooth Keyboard / Mouse app on our Android smartphone.
By installing this app it will be sufficient to enable the Bluetooth connection on the phone and on the computer, make the association and start using immediately the smartphone as if it were a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, simulating all the touches on it. If our computer does not have Bluetooth connectivity, we can immediately add support to this wireless technology by purchasing a small USB adapter like this -> TP-Link UB400 Bluetooth USB adapter (10 €).
PC screen sharing app
Another way to control our computer remotely via smartphone is to use the screen-sharing app; they, in addition to showing everything that happens on the screen of our computer, allow us to simulate the touch of the mouse and to write using the virtual keyboard.
The best free app in this regard is Chrome Remote Desktop, available free for Android and iOS / iPadOS.
By installing Google Chrome on our PC and its remote control extension, we will be able to control every aspect of our computer by opening your favorite programs, changing the size of the windows and choosing which media key to press virtually. Currently, it is one of the few services completely free, easy to configure and use.
Alternatively, we can use one of the following services (free for personal use or that need to be configured in the Windows menus).
- Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP)
To learn more about screen sharing programs, we invite you to read our guides on how to Share the PC screen: best free apps and The Best remote desktop programs to connect from a distance to your computer.
To use our computer as a media center for TV or to view streaming content, we will need to connect the computer to the television via HDMI cable and use one of the methods described above to simulate the keyboard and mouse, so that we can control every aspect of the operating system without physically connecting a keyboard and/or mouse.
If we want to control every aspect of the computer from our smartphone, we can also read the guide on how to Turn on, use and turn off the computer from a smartphone.
To control an Android TV Box from another Android smartphone or iPhone, simply read the methods described in our guide on how to Check Android Box with a smartphone.
If our Android smartphone is equipped with an infrared sensor, we can use it to control TVs (but also air conditioners and Hi-Fi Stereo) by following the suggestions in our article on how to Change TV channel with the infrared sensor of the Android phone.