This new Google TV feature is perfect for when you just can't find your remote

Google TV
(Image credit: Google)

Finally, a Google TV update we can all relate to. We've all scrambled to find a runaway TV remote at least a few times in our lives, and it seems that Google is no stranger to this phenomenon if its latest Google TV update is anything to go by.

As reported by The Verge (opens in new tab), the latest Google TV update is launching today, and will let viewers use their Android phone as a mobile remote, a feature that was originally announced during May 2021's Google I/O event.

While this new feature isn't expected to hit Apple iOS devices anytime soon, Android phone owners will be able to turn their phone into a makeshift remote control, allowing users to navigate Google TV and use the virtual keyboard to search and enter login info, for example.

Google has also stated that the mobile remote feature will eventually be compatible with the Android TV operating system, too, meaning that we could see it implemented in smart 4K TVs and the best projectors soon.

The mobile remote feature can be accessed by adding its tile to your quick settings on either your Android phone or directly through the Google TV app, which will be launching globally over the next few weeks.


Analysis: an undeniably useful feature

Being able to use your phone as a mobile remote is such a good idea that we can't quite believe Google hadn't thought of it sooner. While it's by no means a replacement for the actual remote, it's undoubtedly a handy backup to have in case your remote goes missing or sinks into the depths of your couch.

However, one activity that's objectively better and easier on your phone is text entry. We've all painstakingly entered passwords and searched for movies and shows using the remote, a process that can take an unreasonably stressful amount of time. Using your Android phone's virtual keyboard, that once painstaking endeavor is shaved down to just a few seconds.

It's not exactly new tech, and similar features and apps have been added to our personal devices before. For example, several 'remote mouse' apps exist that let you use your phone's touch screen to control the mouse connected to your PC – a useful feature if you have your rig set up with a big living room screen, for example.

Plus, it's great that Google will extend this update to Android TV. If you're big into Android, you might one day be able to do away with your remotes once and for all, instead controlling everything through one handy interface on your phone.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Writer

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Rhys has a strong love for all things gaming, including everything from triple A blockbusters to hidden indie gems. For Rhys, the highlights of the work are being able to test out top-notch gaming hardware, from controllers and headsets to VR and beyond. When he's not on the clock, you'll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14 and Sea of Thieves. Or taking massive Ls in Mario Party Superstars.