Apple makes iTunes. Android comes from Google.
That doesn’t stop you from controlling iTunes using an Android phone or tablet, because iTunes is compatible with something called DACP, which you can use without knowing what it is. Once you run one of these apps, it’ll generate a four-digit code; enter that into iTunes once, and you’re good to go forever.
Remote controlling iTunes with Android comes in handy for all sorts of reasons: not having to get out of bed, off the couch, or away from the dinner party in order to switch up the jams, tweak the volume, skip an objectionable song, and so on.
Bonus: You could even rig up iTunes to send its audio to your speakers with AirPlay, then use your Android to control iTunes, and you’d end up with a wider selection to choose from than if you went directly from Android to AirPlay.
Onward! We explored every option in the Google Play store, and tested every Android remote control for iTunes on Mac and Windows, so that you don’t have to. After all of that, we recommend (and do not recommend) the following:
1. Squally Doc Studios’ Retune (free)
Pro: Where to begin… Well, it’s 100-percent free and unlimited. It also has more options for navigating your library than anything else we tested (playlists, artists, albums, songs, genres, composers, and Genius mixes). You can reorder the play queue. The search function is lightning-fast. You can rate songs and make a playlist of related songs right from the Now Playing menu. Also, it includes AirPlay controls, so you can connect iTunes to your AirPlay speakers without walking over to your computer. It can even stream to multiple outputs and remember multiple iTunes libraries.
Con: In the default mode, it severs the connection to iTunes when the screen goes dark, but you can change this in settings. Besides, it doesn’t take long to reconnect. Essentially, there is nothing wrong with this app at all.
Pro: It does everything you need it to do, with browsing by genre, artist, album, and playlist. You also get a play queue. It worked flawlessly.
Con: It’s expensive, and the free trial only lasts 30 minutes. You don’t get more time, even if you restart. It looks a little hokey.
Tengai’s iRemote FREE – iTunes remote (free, no limit)
We wanted to love this one, because it’s free to use forever (with ads), and it has a sweet feature for creating on-the-fly playlists. However, there’s no artist or album browsing — just songs and playlists. And the search function completely choked before we could even type the “Abbey” in “Abbey Road,” so we couldn’t search for albums or artists that way, either. Sorry, but this just doesn’t cut it, even for free.
K Soft’s Remote for iTunes Remote DACP ($2, five-day trial)
This app is pretty, but it hung up a few times. There’s also no way to get back to the “now playing” screen from the music library, so once you start browsing songs, you have to pick something new to play. Strike three: It showed us a weird “no tracks for this album” message when we re-opened the app.
iTunes 11 disabled the DJ function that made it so neat, although that wouldn’t have been a dealbreaker. A bigger issue: Google Play wouldn’t let us install it in our country (the U.S.).
These ones require you to run server software on your PC, which is lame, because it’s not needed in order to control iTunes. Besides, some people have Macs.
(Image courtesy of Flickr/Thunderchild7)