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How Can I Use a Smart TV Without Remote?


It’s time to give up: your smart TV’s remote is a dud. 

You’re pressing its buttons with all your might, but your TV is still unresponsive. 

You’ve tried charging it, resetting it, and changing the batteries. Still, nothing. 

Is your smart TV useless? Should you start looking up if you can sell it without its remote? 

Don’t fret. You can still use your smart TV without its remote! 

In this article, we’ll learn the different ways you can control your smart TV with no remote in hand! 

Let’s get started! 

1. Physical Buttons

Many smart TVs have physical buttons. 

Smart TV buttons

If you’re unsure if your smart TV has buttons, slide your hand along the sides, bottom, and back of the TV’s frame. 

Sometimes the TV will also have feather-touch buttons, so look for volume and channel control symbols along the bottom of the unit. 

Depending on the TV’s brand and model, it could have a button for each control (e.g. Volume plus/minus, Channel plus/minus, Settings, Input/Source, etc.) 

Other models have one button, used to control all of the functions mentioned above. It acts as a joystick or jog controller which you can move around to navigate and select options from the TV’s menu. 

If you’re struggling to find and use your smart TV’s buttons, we recommend consulting the user manual. 

Pro tip: Many smart TV brands have their user manuals online on their official websites. 

2. Keyboard, Mouse, and Touchpad

Smart TV without remote

If your TV’s buttons are too difficult to use, you can connect an external device to your TV, like a keyboard, mouse, or touchpad. 

These gadgets will allow you to scroll and click on your TV screen, similar to how you would do on a computer. 

Let’s learn how! 

Step 1: Connect the Device via USB or Bluetooth

You have the option of connecting your keyboard/mouse/touchpad using a USB cable or Bluetooth. 

a. Wired USB Connection

To connect your device to your TV via USB, find your gadget’s USB cable. Plug it into one of your TV’s USB ports, located on the back or side. 

If your device’s cable is too short, use a USB extender, like the Amazon Basics USB 2.0 Extension Cable 

Amazon Basics USB 2.0 Extension Cable 2-Pack
Click image for more info

b. Wireless USB Connection

To wirelessly connect your device to your smart TV, plug the device’s receiver (which looks like a very small USB stick) into your TV’s USB port. 

Ensure your device is charged before powering it on. It should connect to the TV automatically via the receiver. 

We suggest using a keyboard with a built-in touchpad so you can scroll, select, and type using one device. 

Not every wireless keyboard will be able to control the TV’s functions, like its volume and power. 

So, it’s best to buy a keyboard specifically made for TVs. 

We recommend the Logitech K400 TV Keyboard  since it has a built-in touchpad and can control a TV’s volume. It’s also from a well-known, high-quality brand, so you know it will be durable and reliable. 

However, if you’re looking for something on the smaller side, check out the Rii Wireless Keyboard . Like the Logitech keyboard, it has a touch-pad and controls the TV’s functions. It’s also the same size as a video game controller, so you won’t have to balance a bulky keyboard on your lap during TV time. 

Rii 2.4GHz Mini Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad&QWERTY Keyboard
Click image for more info

c. Bluetooth Connection

The final way you can connect an external device to your smart TV is with Bluetooth. 

For this process, you will need a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. 

We like Phiginoo 2.4G Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo  since it has a sleek and stylish design, and also supports a wireless USB connection if needed. 

Note that the following instructions may differ slightly depending on your smart TV and keyboard/mouse’s model.

To pair your Bluetooth keyboard to your smart TV, turn it on and press the pairing button, often marked by the Bluetooth symbol. 

Then, go to your smart TV’s Settings, and click Remote and Accessories. 

Click on your keyboard’s name from the list. 

You will notice a code on-screen. Enter this code into your keyboard, followed by the Enter button. 

Once your Bluetooth keyboard is paired, you’re ready to pair your mouse. 

Turn your mouse on and press the pairing button (if you’re not sure where your mouse’s pairing button is, consult its manual). 

Under Remote and Accessories, click on your mouse’s name. It should immediately pair. 

Now you’re ready to use your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to navigate your smart TV!

Watch the video below demonstrating how to pair your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to a smart TV following the steps above. 

How to Connect a Bluetooth or Wireless Keyboard and Mouse to Mi Box 4K

Step 2: Ensure It’s Working Properly 

Now that your keyboard/mouse/touchpad is hooked up to your TV, you can if it’s working properly. 

Move the mouse or touchpad and see if a cursor (the same cursor you find on your computer) appears on-screen. 

Click on different buttons and options on-screen to see if your TV is responsive. Open an app with a search bar and type something to ensure that the keyboard is connected. 

Make sure the same characters you’re pressing on the keyboard are appearing on-screen. 

If you’re using a keyboard with no touchpad or mouse, see that your navigation keys (e.g. arrow keys) are working. 

You may also want to adjust the volume to ensure it works. 

Watch the video below demonstrating how to connect an external device to your smart TV using USB. 

How to Connect Keyboard and Mouse to Hisense Smart TV | USB and Wireless

3.  Use your Smartphone as a Remote

Did you know you can use your smartphone as a remote? It’s true! 

This is a great alternative to the other two solutions listed above since you don’t have to get up from the couch to press the TV’s buttons or purchase additional gadgets. 

You will have to follow different steps depending on if you have a smart TV or an Android TV. 

Smart TV and phone

A. Smart TV 

Follow the steps below to use your smartphone as a remote. 

Step 1: Connect Your Smartphone and Smart TV to the Same Network 

Connecting your smartphone and smart TV to the same Wi-Fi will allow them to pair. 

Smart TVs can usually be connected to Wi-Fi through their Network Settings, often found under General in the Settings. 

Note that every smart TV brand will be different, so consult the user manual to learn how to connect your TV to the internet. 

If your smart TV has an Ethernet port you can also connect it via an Ethernet cable, however, you may need to change your unit’s Network Settings to a wired connection. 

Otherwise, you can connect your TV to your phone’s mobile hotspot. 

Step 2: Download a Remote Control App

Now, you can download a remote control app onto your smartphone. 

There are many remote control apps out there, but we strongly recommend the Universal TV Remote App. 

The app is free to download and use on the Google Play Store for Android phones/tablets and on the App Store for iPhones/iPad. 

Remote Control App

Step 3: Pair the App to Your Smart TV

Open the app on your smartphone and select your TV brand from the list. 

The phone will automatically detect your TV and display a code on the TV screen. 

Enter this code into the app when prompted. 

Check that all the controls are working correctly and you’re good to go! 

Watch the video below demonstrating how to use your smartphone as a remote on your smart TV following the steps above. 

Universal TV Remote Control Application ( Available on Google Play)

B. Android TV

Follow the steps below to use your smartphone as a remote on your Android TV.

Step 1: Connect your Smartphone and Android TV to the same Network

Your Android TV and smartphone must be connected to the same network. 

Android TVs can commonly be connected to the internet by going to the Settings, then clicking Network or Network & Internet. You may also need to click on Network/Easy Setup followed by Wi-Fi. 

You also have the option of connecting your TV to the internet via an Ethernet cable or a mobile hotspot. 

Step 2: (Optional) Update or Download Android TV Remote Service 

Android TVs do not natively support the ability to be controlled using a smartphone. 

Though there was an update in September 2021, there are many Android TVs that didn’t update. 

If your Android TV already had this update installed, skip to Step 3. 

So, if your TV didn’t receive this update you will need to update/download the Android TV Remote Service app to enable this feature. 

To update the app, go to the Google Play Store and click on your Profile, found in the top-right corner of the screen. 

Click Managed App & Games, followed by Pending Updates. Search and select “Android TV Remote Service App” and install any available updates. 

If you don’t have this app on your Android TV, download Android TV Remote Service directly from the Google Play Store. You won’t have to update it once it’s downloaded since the latest version will be automatically installed on your TV. 

Step 3: Download Google Home on Your Smartphone

Apps store

To pair your smartphone to your Android TV you will need to download Google Home onto your phone. 

If you have an Android phone, download the app from the Google Play Store. If you have an iPhone/iPad, you can download it from the App Store

If you already have the app on your smartphone, ensure it’s updated. 

Step 4: Pair the Google Home App to Your Android TV

Once installed, open Google Home on your smartphone, logging in with your Google credentials (i.e. your Gmail address and password). 

Go to the Home Screen and click on your Android TV’s name from the list. 

On the bottom-left of your smartphone’s screen, tap Open Remote. 

Turn your attention to your TV and notice a pairing code on-screen. Enter this code into the Google Home app, clicking Pair to connect the two devices. 

Here, you have two options: to use your smartphone as a touchpad or as a d-pad. 

Toggle between these options by tapping the icon found in the top-right corner of your smartphone. 

Watch the video below demonstrating how to control your Android TV using a smartphone following the steps above. 

How To Use Google Home App Remote Feature On Android TV | Google Home App Update | Mi Box

Wrapping Things Up

You’ve lost or broken your smart TV’s remote, but the show can still go on! 

You have several ways of using your smart TV without a remote, depending on if you prefer pressing the TV’s buttons, connecting a keyboard, or using your phone via the Universal TV Remote Control app or Google Home app.  

What’s the best part? You can make the remote fit your needs, not the other way around! 

What’s your experience using a smart TV without a remote? Let us know in the comments below!

Last update on 2022-08-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.


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