How to remote-control Spotify with your iPhone or Android

Follow these steps to turn your cell phone or tablet into a Spotify remote control, allowing you to skip a song or queue up a new playlist on your computer without leaving the couch.

If you're one of the 15 to 26 million people who use Spotify to listen to music on the regular, you'd probably appreciate being able to control it remotely from your iPhone, Android, or other device, so you don't have to walk over to your computer, Android, or iPhone in order to skip a song, queue up a new playlist or album, and so on.

Luckily for you, we've found several apps that let you do exactly that, whether you're trying to control Spotify on a Mac, Windows, or even an iOS or Android device. It's not lazy; it's practical.

If you have an old computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch laying around -- say, like, after you've upgraded to a new smartphone -- you can leave the old one connected to some speakers running Spotify and use your new one to control it. However, there are many other reasons to control Spotify on one device using another (parties, the couch, the bed, or even the car, in the case of the Android-to-Android app we found).

Feel free to tour all of these Spotify remote control options, or jump straight to the specific configuration you need:

Control Spotify on Windows from iOS

Connect your Windows PC to some speakers and control it from anywhere else in your house. This works whether or not you pay for Spotify.

1. Install Remoteless' "helper" app on your PC. You can download it here, or if a new version has come out since we wrote this tutorial, check for that here. Once you have that installed, the app automatically run when you start Windows, so you won't need to deal with it in the future. We recommend listening to something in Spotify at this point, because installing software without music playing is a losing proposition.

Install Spotify Remoteless Helper
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

2. Next, you'll have to drop three bucks on the Remoteless iOS app. There is currently no Spotify remote control that is available for free on iOS (please let us know if you find one), so there's really no way around this at the moment. However, if you listen to a lot of Spotify on your computer this is easily worth it -- especially considering the cost of traditional hardware remote controls.

3. Run the app and select 'New Connection.'

Spotify Remoteless Helper app
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

4. Find your Spotify username and the name of your computer. In my case, that means eliotvb (my Spotify name) and PHEEDOT (the name of my Windows machine... long story).

Spotify Remoteless Helper app
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

5. Boom, you should see your currently-playing song, with the option to skip, pause, rewind, or adjust the volume.

Spotify Remoteless Helper app
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

6. When it comes time to play something else, tap the Browse button at the upper right, where you can see your playlists and favorites, as well as searching for any other artist, album, or track on Spotify.

Spotify Remoteless Helper app
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Note: If this screen takes a while to load, as it does for us, there's a simple fix. Just tap one of the sections at the bottom of the screen, and the list will appear right away.

Another hiccup which we encountered, and which you might not (we know this feature is working for some users): The "Play all of album" and "Play all of Playlist" commands did not appear to be working properly. You can play songs one at a time and skip between already-playing playlists just fine, but if you want to play a whole album or playlist in a row, you might need to walk over to the computer. Evolver.fm has contacted the developer, and we hope to have more on this soon.

7. Check out all the other options by scrolling up and down. See why we like Remoteless so much? It lets you:

  • Post your currently playing track to Facebook, Twitter, or email;

  • Browse the current track, album, or artist in Spotify;

  • Toggle Shuffle and Repeat;

  • Find out more about what you're listening to on Last.fm, Wikipedia or Lyrics.com

  • Find similar tracks on MoreTracksLikeThis.com

  • Activate radio based on the track via Echofiapp;

  • And find new stuff to listen to on Topsify's popularity charts or Spotifylist's categorized playlists.

8. You can keep the Remoteless app running on your iPhone, so that you don't need to start it up from scratch every time you want to control the music. To do this, simply start the app once, then go about your business in your other apps. To access Remoteless in a flash, double tap the Home button on your iOS device and choose Remoteless from the sidescrolling list at the bottom of the screen:

Spotify Remoteless Helper app
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Control Spotify on a Mac from iOS

We'll use the same program we used on the Windows side here, Remoteless ($3). Another option is Spot Remote (also $3).

1. The first order of business is to install the "helper" app on your Mac that can control Spotify, which we recommend you already have running. (The Remoteless mobile app actually controls this helper software.) You can download it here (or if a new version has come out since we wrote this tutorial, check for that here). Once you install the app, it will start running in the background automatically and invisibly, and should automatically start every time you fire up your Mac.

2. Next, you'll have to drop three bucks on the Remoteless iOS app. There is currently no Spotify remote control that is available for free on iOS (please let us know if you find one), so there's really no way around this at the moment. However, if you listen to a lot of Spotify on your computer this is easily worth it -- especially considering the cost of traditional hardware remote controls.

3. Run the app and select 'New Connection.' (In this example, I have already connected the app to my Windows machine, eliotvb@PHEEDOT -- yes, Remoteless works with multiple computers on the same Wi-Fi network.)

4. Select your Spotify username and the name of your Mac.

5. Boom, you should see your currently-playing song, with the option to skip, pause, rewind, or adjust the volume.

6. When it comes time to play something else, tap the Browse button at the upper right, where you can see your playlists and favorites, as well as searching for any other artist, album, or track on Spotify. (Unlike with the Windows version, we encountered no hiccups here -- score another win for Apple.)

7. Check out all the other options by scrolling up and down. See why we like Remoteless so much? It lets you:

  • Post your currently playing track to Facebook, Twitter, or email;

  • Browse the current track, album, or artist in Spotify;

  • Toggle Shuffle and Repeat;

  • Find out more about what you're listening to on Last.fm, Wikipedia or Lyrics.com

  • Find similar tracks on MoreTracksLikeThis.com;

  • Activate radio based on the track via Echofiapp;

  • And find new stuff to listen to on Topsify's popularity charts or Spotifylist's categorized playlists.

8. You can keep the Remoteless app running on your iPhone, so that you don't need to start it up from scratch every time you want to control the music. To do this, simply start the app once, then go about your business in your other apps. To access Remoteless in a flash, double tap the Home button on your iOS device and choose Remoteless from the sidescrolling list at the bottom of the screen:

Spotify Remoteless Helper app
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Control Spotify on Windows from Android

You can use Spotimote for this, because it's the highest-rated Spotify remote in the Google Play store. Plus it's free, and we love free apps as much as the next person.

However, there are two potential problems with Spotimote. 1) It only works with the premium version of Spotify, so most Spotify users can't use it, and 2) Norton security software identified it as a threat to our machine and deleted it immediately after it downloaded, which is the first time that has ever happened. If you're a premium subscriber, go for it -- but just know that Norton fears it like the plague.

With that in mind, we recommend Remoteless instead. Even though it costs $2 for Android, it doesn't appear to be a threat to your computer, and it can control the free version of Spotify too. (Plus, Spotify recommends it.)

1. Install Remoteless' "helper" app on your PC. You can download it here, or if a new version has come out since we wrote this tutorial, check for that here. Once you have that installed, the app automatically run when you start Windows, so you won't need to deal with it in the future.

Install Spotify Remoteless Helper
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

2. Next, you'll have to drop two bucks on the Remoteless Android app. There is currently no Spotify remote control that is available for free on Android (please let us know if you find one), so there's no way around this at the moment. However, if you listen to a lot of Spotify on your computer this is easily worth it -- especially considering the cost of traditional hardware remote controls.

3. Run the app and select 'New Connection.'

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

4. Find your Spotify username and the name of your computer from the list.

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

5. Now the app is connected to Spotify on your Windows machine. You can choose music in two ways: by searching all of Spotify for it, or by selecting playlists you've already created within Spotify.

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

6. In this case, we'll select a playlist.

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Note: The "Play all of album" and "Play all of Playlist" commands did not appear to be working properly, and the problem appears exclusive to the Windows version of the Remoteless helper app. You can play songs one at a time and skip between already-playing playlists just fine, but if you want to play a whole album or playlist in a row, you might need to walk over to the computer and get it started manually, after which the remote works just fine. Evolver.fm has contacted the developer, and we hope to have more on this soon.

You can also search. Here's what it looks like if you search the app for My Bloody Valentine:

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

7. If you want to share a link to any Spotify song you're listening to within the app with someone; repeat the song; or shuffle within a playlist, simply tap the middle of the now-playing screen:

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Option will appear to shuffle, repeat, or share (using whatever standard sharing features are available on your Android):

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Control Spotify on Mac from Android

This one is academic, to a point, because who has a Mac and buys an Android? However, you might find yourself at a party or somewhere else where this might come in handy. Crucially, you can in fact control Spotify on a Mac with Android

1. Install Remoteless' "helper" app on your Mac. You can download it here, or if a new version has come out since we wrote this tutorial, check for that here. Once you have that installed, the app automatically run when you start your Mac, so you won't need to deal with it in the future.

2. Next, buy the Remoteless Android app for two bucks. There is currently no Spotify remote control that is available for free on Android (please let us know if you find one), so there's no way around this at the moment. However, if you listen to a lot of Spotify on your computer this is easily worth it -- especially considering the cost of traditional hardware remote controls.

3. Run the app and select 'New Connection.'

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

4. Find your Spotify username and the name of your computer from the list.

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

5. Now the app is connected to Spotify on your Mac.

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

6. You can now choose any playlist in your Spotify account and play it:

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Or, you can search for any artist, track, or album:

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

7. If you want to share a link to any Spotify song you're listening to within the app with someone; repeat the song; or shuffle within a playlist, simply tap the middle of the now-playing screen:

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

...and the option will appear to shuffle, repeat, or share (using whatever standard sharing features are available on your Android):

Setting up Remoteless on an Android phone.
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Control Spotify on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with Another iOS Device

Here, we'll show you how to remote control the Spotify on one iOS device with another iOS device. If you have an old iPhone and a new iPhone, or more than one type of iOS device, this is a crucial trick to know -- and it only became possible this week. We'll use two apps for this: SpotQueue on the iOS device that's connected to the stereo, and SpotQueue Remote for the one that you're using as the remote control.

1. Install SpotQueue (free) on the "receiver" iOS device -- the one you're connecting to your stereo system, powered speakers, or whatever. Run it by tapping the app's icon.

2. Install SpotQueue Remote (free) on the "remote control" iOS device -- the one you'll use to control the "receiver."

3. Run SpotQueue Remote, and enter the password if you elected to specify one in SpotQueue. We didn't, but it's nice to have the option to avoid rogue control at parties. Then, tap the name of the "receiver" device you want to control. In our case, this is "iPad."

Setting up SpotQueue on an iOS device
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

4. Voila! You can see all of your Spotify playlists, choosing to play any of them over the "receiver" device. Note the bottom of the screen, where you can also search all of Spotify or browse all of the artists and albums available there.

Setting up SpotQueue on an iOS device
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

5. Tapping on any playlist or other element brings up a great array of options. You can choose to play it now, play it after whatever is currently playing, add the entire playlist, or star the track.

Setting up SpotQueue on an iOS device
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

After you select something to add, SpotQueue asks you to confirm your choice:

Setting up SpotQueue on an iOS device
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

6. After you've added stuff to the queue, you can view it, skip between songs, and remove songs. The app is incredibly responsive, in that the lag time between tapping something on SpotQueue Remote on one device and hearing the change on the other "receiver" app (running SpotQueue) is negligible. Nice!

Setting up SpotQueue on an iOS device
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Control Spotify on an Android with Another Android

Setting up DroidRemote on an Android device
Screenshot by Eliot Van Buskirk/Evolver.fm

Okay, you caught us out. Out of all six of these techniques for remote-controlling Spotify, this is the only one we were not able to test, because we only have one Android device in our New York office. However, we did install the app, and it's solid enough; besides, the developer includes helpful videos.

Note: This app uses Bluetooth, not WiFi. On the plus side, this means you can use it even in the absence of a wireless network (like in the car). On the negative side, it limits connectivity to 30 feet or so, which isn't enough in some home/party scenarios.

1. Install DroidRemote on both Android devices. Here's the configuration wizard that you will encounter at that point:

2. In that configuration wizard, make one of them the server. (This would be the one you want to act as the "receiver" -- the one you want to connect to your stereo system or powered speakers.)

3. On the other Android, go into the configuration wizard and make that one the client. (This would be the one you want to act as the "remote.")

4. Using the client/remote version of the app, you'll be able to skip, play the previous track, or pause playback. We don't consider this a dealbreaker (especially because the app is free), but it does mean you'll have to set up a playlist or album to play on the "receiver" Android (the one that's configured as a server).

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