Google TV app adds a remote control for your Android TV
Google has been working on a virtual remote control in the Google TV app for quite a while. We first spotted the feature in version 4.25 of the app back in March. While the feature wasn’t live at the time, we managed to enable it manually to give us a glimpse of what to expect when it eventually rolls out with a future build. At I/O 2021 in May, Google then announced that it was working on building the remote control feature directly into Android phones, making it easy for all users to control their Android TVs. The company is now finally rolling the feature out to users.
The new virtual remote control feature is a more refined version of what we first saw in March this year. As you can see in the image above, it features a large trackpad to help you navigate across your Android TV, a back button, a home button, a Google Assistant button, and volume controls.
You can access the new remote controls by tapping on the new floating action button (the one with a remote control icon) in the Google TV app, or by adding the TV Remote tile to your phone’s Quick Settings. To add the tile, swipe down twice from the top of your screen to open Quick Settings and tap on the edit button in the bottom left to add a new tile. Then tap and hold on the new TV Remote tile and drag it above the “Hold and drag to add tiles” section.
While the remote doesn’t have a dedicated button to bring up your phone’s keyboard, it does let you type out passwords and search queries on your Android TV. To do so, all you need to do is select any text input field on your Android TV using the remote, and the keyboard will pop up automatically. The feature will also let you paste text to speed up the process even further. As shown in the tweet attached above, the TV Remote also gives you the option to switch from the trackpad to a D-pad.
Google is currently rolling out the new virtual remote control feature first in the U.S., but they plan to bring it to 14 more countries over the next few weeks.