Google confirms it’s ending support for the old Android TV remote app as it disappears from the Play Store

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Google has dropped visibility for the “old” Android TV remote app from the Play Store, following the rollout of the new Google TV app-based solution, which landed last week. For many, the Android TV Remote Control app listing no longer appears on either the Play Store’s desktop site or when navigating to the listing via an external link in the Play Store app on mobile. With Google recently rolling out a method that replaces the old app, we have to assume the removal was intentional, and Google confirms to us that it’s ending support for the older app.

Gone on both the Play Store app (above) and site (below) for accounts that didn’t download it previously. 

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Your experience may vary — for a few of us at Android Police, the app listing continues to appear, though it isn’t following the usual rules in this sort of situation for everyone. Typically, when an app is no longer publicly visible but still technically available, those that downloaded it previously can still access and reinstall it. At least one of us at Android Police is unable to do so. However, others still see the app and can reinstall it (though not from the Play Store’s desktop site).

Screenshot 2021 09 27 11.14.42 AM

We can’t precisely pinpoint when the app’s visibility was changed, but we can confirm that it happened after August 1st.

Google recently rolled out a new app-based remote via the Google TV app, which was long-awaited and even teased by the company prior to release. Given the timing, we can’t help but assume this change in visibility for the “old” method must be related. What’s particularly curious, though, is that not everyone has been able to use the new remote reliably yet. Some of the software components that it relies on seem to be in the process of rolling out still, so this change in visibility for the older app might be a little premature.

Android TV software remote 2

The new Google TV remote control. 

We’ve reached out to Google for more information about the Android TV Remote Control’s removal from the Play Store, and the company provided us with the following statement:

“We’re making the experience of using your phone as a virtual remote control faster to access and easier to use by upgrading the UI and integrating the feature directly into the Android mobile OS as well as the Google TV app. After the new remote feature is widely available, the Android TV remote app will no longer be supported and available for use. This transition will happen once a user’s Android TV OS device receives Android Remote Service: 5.0. or higher.”

The details provided don’t outright state that the Play Store visibility change is intentional, but the company does explain that the older app will soon lose support, which this sort of change in visibility is often tied to, and that customers are being pushed to the new (and frankly much better) solution.

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