10 Remote Control Apps You Can Use Right Now

Any-Device Anywhere

One of the best side effects of the Internet age has been the ability to do something from somewhere else. "PC Anywhere"-style apps have been available for almost as long as computers themselves, and are now becoming pervasive on tablets and smartphones as well. Here's a look at some of the better remote control apps we've found.

Dell Pocket Cloud

Among the most mature, stable and versatile mobile apps for controlling Windows machines from afar is PocketCloud, which Dell inherited with its acquisition of Wyse Technology in 2012. This free app for Android and for iOS connects over any network via Microsoft RDP or open source VNC protocols to control all functions of a Mac OS X or Windows PC. It simplifies navigation of large screens from small ones with a unique circular nav tool (shown) that invokes key features with a tap. Also supports VMware View.

Controls Mac OS, Windows from Android, iOS. Free.

Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop for Android and for iOS lets tablets and smartphones connect and remotely control desktops, laptops and servers running Windows Professional and Server editions using Microsoft's RDP. Remote users are authenticated against credentials stored on the machine being controlled or the domain of which it's a member. Remote gestures are interpreted through Microsoft's RemoteFX, which also streams audio and video to the remote device. Microsoft also makes a Remote Desktop client for Mac OSX.

Controls Windows from Android, iOS, MacOS. Free.

Chrome Remote Desktop

Any machine that can run Google's Chrome browser can be controlled using Chrome Remote Desktop for Android. This free app works with a Chrome plug-in installed on the host machine, which can be running Linux, Mac OS X (10.6 or higher) or Windows. Chromebooks also are supported. For remote support scenarios, sessions are secured using a numeric code that appears on the host machine and is given to the remote user prior to access. There's also a secure unattended mode. A version for iOS is reportedly in the works.

Controls ChromeOS, Linux, Mac OS X, Windows from Android. Free.

Remote Control Collection

Why use the whole pipe when just a trickle is needed? For scenarios that demand minimal bandwidth usage or absolute simplicity, Remote Control Collection for Android presents a laundry list of single-function remotes for controlling Windows systems over a LAN, turning any Android device into a wireless remote. The free version includes remotes for mouse/touchpad, keyboard, speech recognition, scrolling and shutdown. The touchpad supports multitouch gestures for scrolling and zooming. The keyboard remote provides a Windows key and support for multikey sequences.

Controls Windows from Android. Free.

Easy PC Control

When the need is simply to have a wireless touchpad and keyboard for a Windows machine that's across the room, Easy PC Control for Android might be just the ticket. This free app connects via LAN to an agent running on any Windows system and presents a fully functional touchpad or keyboard on the Android screen. All PC functions are supported, including point and tap-to-click, double-tap, drag and drop, left and right mouse click, and Windows-style key mappings. The app also provides dedicated buttons for Esc, Alt, Tab, system volume, mute, screen on/off, suspend and shutdown functions.

Controls Windows from Android. Free.

SlashTop 2

Here's one that covers most of the bases that the average IT worker is likely to come across. SlashTop 2 for Android and for iOS can control all functions of a Mac OS X or Windows computer from either mobile platform. For use on a LAN, the Android version is free for noncommercial use; the iOS version costs $2.99. For business use and for access over the Web, Android and iOS users will pay $4.99 through an in-app purchase. The LAN version supports audio, video and game-play streaming, and access to all resources of the host machine.

Controls Mac OS X, Windows from Android, iOS. Varied pricing.


RemoteTap for iOS is a VNC-based app for remotely controlling Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 machines with a few nice touches. It replaces the usual VNC client-side server with an agent of its own buried within a Mac-like Preferences panel. This panel permits a remote user to wake the host Mac for activities and put it back to sleep afterward. It supports multiple host-side monitors, able to toggle between them or scroll to show both. A clever, space-saving interface (shown) permits selection between running apps, those in the Dock or all. The host desktop otherwise occupies most of the iPhone or iPod and instantly magnifies the tapped area for precise cursor work.

Controls Mac OS X from iPod, iPhone. $5.


For a simple app to remotely control a Mac over a LAN from across the room, we like the no-nonsense interface of Control. This straightforward app turns any iPhone, iPad or iPod into a wireless remote for Intel Macs running 10.6 or higher. Control can wake a sleeping Mac, launch and control iTunes and the QuickTime Player and put the Mac back to sleep. In its role as a touchpad, it can browse files, bring up images and other documents for viewing, launch AppleScripts, drop snippets to the iPhone, record and send voice messages, and control volume and other system settings and functions. Works over a LAN and the web.

Controls Mac OS X from iOS. $4.99.

SideSync 3.0

SideSync 3.0 connects Samsung PCs and tablets to nearby Samsung GS4 or GS5 smartphones (which also must be running the app) via Wi-Fi Direct for remote controls of all functions of the phone. This app can be used for answering calls, transferring files or performing other phone tasks remotely from the connected PC or tablet. The remote phone is virtualized and appears in a floating resizeable window on the PC or tablet. Buttons around its perimeter replicate the remote device's home, recent and back keys. Remote functions, notifications and sounds operate regardless of window size.

Controls Samsung smartphones from PCs and tablets. Free.

Yosemite Continuity

When Mac OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 are released later this year, pairs of Apple devices running the two will deliver a set of so-called Continuity features that will include the ability to make and receive calls and text messages, and receive caller ID info on the Mac from the iPhone. Such devices also promise to seamlessly connect and disconnect via Bluetooth so that the Mac can use the iPhone as a hotspot for web access; connect a Mac to iOS devices for direct file transfers without a network; and pass tasks from one device to the other seamlessly.

Controls iPhone from Mac OS X. Free.