New Google TV app turns your iPhone into a virtual remote

YouTube on a television
YouTube on a television (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Google has rebranded the Play Movies & TV app — it's now called Google TV.
  • Users can now ditch their streaming stick's remote and use the new Google TV app instead.
  • Remote control functionality works with all Google TV and Android TV devices.

Google has updated its Play Movies & TV app, giving a new name in the process. That name is Google TV and the refresh is more than skin deep. Users have some new features to enjoy!

The rebrand brings with it a number of changes including the ability to "select your streaming services to browse movies and shows from across your apps all in one place," which sounds cool. There's support for content recommendations and more, too, but the big improvement is one that will help people do away with all of those silly little remotes they got with their streaming sticks.

That's because with this new Google TV app, owners of Google TV or Android TV devices can now use their iPhone or iPad as a remote control, doing away with all the hassle of those sub-par controllers. It's a small change with a big impact and one that's worth the price of admission alone — free!

  • Add interesting shows and movies to your watchlist to keep track of your new discoveries and pick right up on the big screen later.
  • Control your Google TV or other Android TV OS device with the built-in virtual remote.

Those who already had the Play Movies & TV app installed will see the new Google TV app in the App Store, ready to be updated. Everyone else can download it for free right now. If you own a Google TV or Android TV streaming stick or set-top box, this really is a no-brainer!

You learn more about the cool stuff the new Google TV app can do in the announcement blog post, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.