I am looking at making a budget media centre. I am new to Linux and have not yet installed it but think I can manage. I want to use Ubuntu and would like to use my Android phones to control or work as a remote for media playing to a TV.

My setup will be the media box to TV via HDMI (no keyboard or mouse connected) then to my Wi-Fi router via Ethernet.

So I want to be able to turn this PC on and after it's booted directly from my phone control the PC remotely to open the media application and run videos and open photos directly to the TV.

I am using a Samsung Galaxy S II and soon a new Sony for the wife.

  • 3
    Not an answer at all, but some geeks may smile at the fact that I love using PuTTy on my mobile to connect via SSH to my laptop instead of standing up from a comfy chair, and walking few meters to turn the volume down ;) Apr 17, 2012 at 19:32

17 Answers 17


If you install the xbmc packages (and use that environment), you can control your machine from android, because there is an app called xbmc remote in google play. It works flawlessly for me.


You can use anyRemote too

  • 1
    Works very well... as a remote. You can control Video players and stuff very easily, but it does not rally work as a mouse or keyboard...
    – Wilf
    Dec 23, 2013 at 14:24

There's actually an Android app written specifically for this use case. It's called Couch Potato. In addition to providing a virtual mouse and keyboard, it allows you to register your machine, and subsequently boot it by sending a Wake-on-LAN packet.

Full disclosure: I'm the developer.

  • 2
    Wake on LAN is a nice feature :) Jul 31, 2017 at 19:45
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix Thanks! Glad you like it! :-)
    – Blank
    Aug 1, 2017 at 1:35
  • I just tried it... Ubuntu package depends on Java7 which is no more available. Even though I downloaded java binary ant tested with Java 8 and 9. In both I could use mouse which I must say it works perfectly. But, sadly, in tha android app I wasn't able to open the keyboard. Am I missing something?. Thanks.
    – bitifet
    Feb 10, 2018 at 15:59
  • @bitifet Sorry for the trouble! I've filed two issues based on your comment, which can be found here and here. Firstly, the Java 7 dependency should only kick in if your default Java package is older than that. I'm honestly surprised you even got a notification about it, but in any case, it isn't necessary anymore, and will be removed. As for the keyboard issue, that sounds like something device-specific. What model of phone are you using?
    – Blank
    Feb 26, 2018 at 1:51
  • Thank you for your response. My device is an BQ Aquaris M5 running Android 6.0.1. My Keyboard is MessagEase (play.google.com/store/apps/… ) even I'm pretty sure I tried temporary switching back to device's default with no look (not at 100% because I was testing other alternatives too but I'm almost sure I did).
    – bitifet
    Feb 26, 2018 at 13:28

If you use VLC (a popular video/music player) in Ubuntu you could use one of the apps from the Google play store.

  • ... and VLC has a web interface too Sep 24, 2012 at 11:32

I found only one app that is free, generic (not written specifically to work with a certain program), doesn't require installing special custom server software for that app, and is able to connect to my computer (well… after working with the author to find and fix an unreasonable restriction).

It is XMouse and it is open-source. No ads and no nags. You can use it as a mouse, keyboard, or remote control with programmable buttons (execute any command you want). Maybe not the greatest user interface (takes some time to understand and get used to it), but it works well.

The only requirements are ssh and xdotool (well, xdotool is not 100% required, but I think it's at least needed for the mouse and keyboard functionality).

  • 1
    exactly what I wanted! Feb 27, 2017 at 10:36

I used the standart VNC server (Desktop Sharing app in Ubuntu) and PocketCloud.

It's easy to setup and works well.

You can find instruction here: click.



There is a way to do it and its free plus also no need to use the Internet.

  1. Install any VNC server from the list like TightVNC, UltraVNC, TigerVNC, or RealVNC, although encryption is not supported with the latter.

  2. Create a hotspot without internet if you want and connect your laptop and your Android phone in the same network.

  3. Install bVNC Secure VNC Viewer on your Android phone.

The bVNC app is a VNC viewer.It can also emulate a touchpad or let you use Android as a mouse with support for touchscreen gestures. You can save sessions, zoom and scale the Linux desktop on the Android screen, and share the text in the clipboard between Android and PC.


GSConnect/KDE Connect

GNOME Shell Connect (GSConnect) lets you use the KDE Connect mobile application to control (recent) versions of Ubuntu running GNOME Shell.

In my experience it works very well OOTB and is quite configurable, with support for custom launchers, two-way push notifications, message replies, file sharing, media control, etc. in addition to keyboard and mouse support.


An application that comes close to doing this is RemoteDroid. It makes your touchscreen phone work like a wireless touchpad + keyboard combination.

There are two separate applications you need to download for this - one for your linux machine (server) and another for your Android Phone.


I have good experience with Home Remote Control. Works good with linux.

You can control:

  • media (play, stop, volume, ...)
  • mouse, keyboard,
  • browse folders, upload / download files to smartphone
  • run a command

All those are "shortcuts" organized to "shotcut groups" and are implemented / can be configured with custom commands.

There is no need to install anything on Ubuntu (just xdotools for media control by commands). The connection is by username/password or by ssh-key/passphrase


I would also recommend


Which uses XBMC and has configured shares for easily coping media to the media center. It is a very simple install and requires minimal hardware.


Kore to control OSMC/Kodi

Kore and Yatse are what I use for my OSMC setup on Pi.

  1. Install kodi on Ubuntu.

     sudo apt install kodi
  2. Launch kodi and navigate to

  3. Services option under it and set the Settings level to Advanced / Expert.

  4. Navigate to the Control option then Allow remote control via HTTP and also Allow remote control from applications on another system.

  5. Go back to Settings Menu on Kodi as shown in Step 1 and navigate to System info

  6. Navigate to System info and under Network note the IP Address and MAC Address. You will need them to set up on Application on the iPhone / iPad/Android.

  7. and then install the app on your android phone.

After Kore/Yatse 's installation, all you need to do is enter the ip into the app and you will be good to go.



you can use Remote Computer Over Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.polytech.remotecomputer free and without ads


I believe AndroMouse offers a dead-easy setup and is full of features. You just have to run a java app in your server (your Ubuntu desktop) and the Android app on the client (your phone). Then, you have two options to connect the client to the server: Wi-fi or Bluetooth. Then the app auto-searches for the server; if it's not found, you can insert the easily-visible server IP on the client to connect.


Install the Chrome Remote Desktop extension then the Debian binaries. Connect and you are good to go.

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. Sep 4, 2016 at 8:52

I have developed the Linux Remote Android app exactly for this purpose.


You can use TeamViewer. This simple and easy tool to control your pc using your android device. You need to install teamviwer in ubuntu and android mobile.

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