There are quite a few apps available in the App Store that allow you to control your Mac. Likewise, there is an equivalent number of apps in the Mac App Store that allow you to control your iOS device. We have covered a fair number of both, but if your desktop computer is a Mac and your preferred phone runs Android, you might not find many apps to bridge this gap. Mac Remote is an Android app that lets you control iTunes, VLC player, iPhoto, Spotify, Quicktime, MPplayerX, and Preview on your Mac. You can also use it to put your Mac system to sleep, shut it down, and increase or decrease its brightness and volume levels. Mac Remote works over your Wi-Fi network and requires you to manually connect your Mac to the app. No Mac app is required in the process.
Before you can start controlling your Mac with your phone, you need to first set it up to connect with Mac Remote. The app gives you a brief tutorial on how to do just that. It’s simple, and requires you to enable Remote Login on your Mac.
Go to System Preferences>Sharing and enable the ‘Remote Login’ option from the ones listed on the left. Once turned on, it will give you an IP address with an IP number. Next you need to find out what your user name is. To do that, open Terminal; the first word in the address bar preceding the hyphen is your user name. That’s all the information you need.
Make sure your Android device and Mac are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and launch Mac Remote on your Android device. Go through the tutorial if you want; once finished, the screen will show media control buttons and two options at the top, one for selecting an app to control, and the other to connect your Mac. Select the connect option first. Enter the user name you identified from the Terminal window, the IP address you got when you enabled Remote Login, and your system’s password, if you have set one, and click Connect.
Once the connection has been established, click Applications at the top and select an app to control from the list that slides open on the left. You can change the app any time, and the buttons that you see on Mac Remote’s home screen will change accordingly. Other than the app specific controls, there are four global buttons available as well, two for managing the brightness, one to put your Mac in mode, and one to shut it down. When controlling apps like iTunes, VLC, or Spotify, scroll the media controls down to see the pause button and volume control.
Mac Remote is ad-supported, and you can pay to remove them. The app works great at what it does, and there is no noticeable delay between sending a command from your Android and the operation being performed on your Mac. The only improvement we can think of is to make the Play, Forward & Back buttons a little smaller so that all available controls can fit easily on the screen without having to scroll down.