The latest update to the Google TV app, in many areas still known as Play Movies & TV, gives us our best look yet at the upcoming phone-based remote for Android TV devices.

Update: As of version 4.28, we’re now able to preview the Quick Settings tile for the Google TV app’s upcoming remote.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Google TV / Android TV remote app

Original 7/8: Earlier this year, Google announced a new remote control experience for Android TV and Google TV devices, allowing you to use your phone instead of necessarily needing to dig for your physical remote. On Android, this was already possible through a long-outdated dedicated app, but soon, it will be available through the Google TV app as well as your Quick Settings.

In the original announcement, we were given an animated teaser showing off the upcoming on-phone remote.

We originally uncovered the company’s efforts toward a new remote for Android devices in the Google TV app, and progress is continuing there. With version 4.27, rolling out now via the Google Play Store, we’ve once again enabled the upcoming Android TV remote, which has seen a significant amount of progress since we last saw it.

Unfortunately, while we were able to get a preview of the remote’s layout, the app was unable to properly connect to my Google TV. Since Google last showed us the upcoming remote, it’s seen some tweaks, including rounded corners for the volume buttons at the bottom.

Now that the remote appears to be more fully developed, it shouldn’t be too much longer before Google launches it. That said, we’ve not yet seen any signs of the remote being incorporated into Quick Settings as was promised.

Update 9/16: Two months after first being enabled by our team, the Google TV remote has still yet to launch on Android. With Google TV / Play Movies version 4.28 rolling out now, we took another look at the remote to see what progress has been made.

While not yet live in the app today, we were able to enable the Quick Settings tile for the Google TV remote, which appears as “TV Remote.”

Tapping on the new tile brings you directly to the new remote control UI and starts searching for a TV to pair to. Unfortunately, it’s still not possible to pair an Android TV or Google TV with the remote app, even enabling it manually as we have.

By comparison to the previous update, the remote UI has been tweaked slightly. The biggest change is a new overflow menu in the top-right corner, which is used to switch between swiping controls and a more traditional D-pad.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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