The other day I was wondering if there’s a way to use my phone as an AC remote. So, I went on a Google adventure to learn more, and I came across some possible methods. In this article, I’ll share everything that I discovered about how to use your phone as an AC remote.
Can I Use My Phone as an AC Remote?
Unless your phone has an IR (Infrared) blaster, you can’t use your phone as an AC remote. The only way to use your phone as an AC remote is through a Smart IR and Wi-fi Hub.
The Smart Hub connects to the AC’s IR sensor, and your phone connects to the hub through Wi-fi. I’ll walk you through the steps below.
Now if your phone already has an IR blaster, you won’t need a smart hub. You can simply download an app like this Remote AC Universal (Android), select your AC manufacturer from the list, and point your phone at the AC. It should be able to at least turn the AC on and off.
Most modern phone’s no longer come with IR blasters, even though it was a pretty practical feature to have on your phone.
Don’t worry, there are some other options you can try. Before you know it, you’ll be able to control your AC from your phone with no problems. The future is now!
How to Use Your Phone as an AC Remote:
Let’s walk through the steps. First, it’s important to understand that IR controllers can be a bit messy, and some IR devices are just not compatible.
It can also be a bit of a hassle to find the right location to place the smart IR blaster so that it can send the signal to your AC’s IR receiver.
There will likely be some small troubleshooting involved to get the devices to communicate, but it shouldn’t be too complicated. Nevertheless, the steps below should at least point you in the right direction. Let’s get started.
1 – Buy a Smart Infrared Blaster Control Hub
There are lots available, but one I found that works really well is the Switch Bot Hub Mini Smart Remote. It’s pretty cheap too, and it’s compatible with most IR devices, not to mention it works with Alexa and Google home too.
That particular model requires an active internet connection which is good because it lets you control the AC remotely from outside your home.
But the downside it requires an internet connection. So if the internet in your home goes down for some reason, you won’t be able to control the appliances through the Switch Bot app. Nevertheless, it’s still a great budget-friendly IR smart hub.
I’ll walk you through the basic setup steps. Other IR Control Hubs have similar setup instructions.
2 – Connect IR Blaster Hub to Wi-fi and Your Phone
If you want exact instructions on how to set up this device, you can read the official documentation from Switch Bot.
The process will be a little different depending on the IR blaster hub you choose, but most involve downloading an app, and setting up the hub through the app on your phone. Make sure the hub is plugged in and powered on.
In the case of the hub recommended above, the app you’ll need to download on your phone is SwitchBot App. From there, you simply follow the on-screen instructions for setting up the new device. The setup steps are quite similar to setting up a Chromecast (old gen) from your phone.
3 – Pair AC Remote to IR Hub
The process can be a little tricky depending on your AC model. Usually, you will have to enter a setting on the AC remote, and then send that setting to a template on the Hub through the mobile app.
It can take a few tries to get all the settings you need. If the AC is on the list of compatible devices, it should pair automatically.
The steps will also vary depending on the IR hub you choose, some automatically detect IR signals while others need to be manually paired.
Most of the time, what the IR hub will do is replicate the IR commands from the remote and save them as a template. So what basically happens is the IR Hub becomes your new remote.
Here’s a tutorial on how to pair the AC controller to a Switch Bot Hub.
As you can see, it was not that hard for me to use my phone as an AC remote. I highly recommend an IR hub if your a fan of automating household appliances.
The IR blaster recommended earlier, Switch Bot Hub Mini Smart Remote, also works with TVs and other IR-compatible devices.
I hope that helps with your search to use your phone as an AC remote! What do you think? Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.