Accessing the PlayStation console remotely from any smartphone, iPad, or internet-enabled device. Who knew? Well, let me rephrase that. Most of the game-playing public knew about this, but no one felt the need to inform this grandma of that feature. No worries! I found out all about it by myself.
No, I’m Not a Gamer
Let me clarify things. I’m not a gamer! I’m far from being a gamer, but I am a grandma and grandmas have little gamers. So, finding out about this remote access juicy nugget sent me down yet another tech rabbit hole. It seems I like rabbit holes.
I think I need to clarify things further. This post is dedicated to the other unaware grandmas and grandpas out there who have little gaming grandchildren. Consider this a “we-grandparents-have-to-look-out-for-each-other” post. I’m going to explain in detail how to gain remote PlayStation access so the next time your little gamer comes over, you can wow him/her with your PlayStation prowess.
Why Remote Access?
I got excited about remote access because now I don’t have to go behind the credenza, unplug the PlayStation to set it up elsewhere when grownups (aka dad and grandpa) want to watch sports on the large TV. With remote access, the PlayStation game stays put. Kids can play their games and grownups can watch their sports simultaneously. It’s a win-win!
Setting Up for Remote PlayStation Access
There are three things you’ll need to accomplish this task:
- An internet-enabled device such as a smartphone or tablet.
- PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5. This only works on PS4 or PS5.
- PS Remote Access app which is free and downloadable from the PlayStation website for both Android and iOS.
Warning #1: It’s best to go to the PlayStation website for the app. Don’t be tricked into purchasing a similar-looking/sounding app like this one, for example:
Prepping the PlayStation Console
The first thing to do is to set up the console to receive remote commands. To do this turn on the PlayStation, and navigate to Settings. While in the Settings menu, scroll down to Remote Play Connection Settings. Place a check in Enable Remote Play box and you’re done setting up the console.
Next, download the PS Remote app to the device of your choosing, preferably an iOS or Android device.
Warning #2: Although the PlayStation site says remote access is possible with any PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet, I’ve found that’s not the case. Or at least, not for me. It doesn’t seem to be compatible with PCs running Windows 10. I tried and it wouldn’t work. It also will not work on the Amazon Fire HD tablet or the Amazon Fire TV. Not to worry…there are workarounds.
Working with the PS Remote App
Now that you’ve downloaded the app from PlayStation, open it and sign in to the PlayStation Network. But, before you sign in, make sure to double-check the data the app will collect (or as they say, the Data You Provide).
It’s best to click Modify to adjust the data collection option. I tend to share as little as possible so I clicked Limited. It’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable sharing.
Pairing the Controller
The app will ask you to pair the controller. However, it’s an optional step, depending on your device. I’ll go into pairing later. For now, the important task is to connect with the PlayStation.
PlayStation Network Connections
The app will request approval to access your network. Click Allow to let it do so. Then select your gaming version whether PS4 or PS5. The app finds and connects to your console, that’s if all goes smoothly (ask me how I know what happens if things don’t go smoothly).
If for some reason, the app cannot find the PlayStation console, you can connect it manually. To do so, go to the console and navigate to Settings – Remote Play Connection Settings – Add Device. Once you choose Add Device, the console will display a code number. Go to the app and insert the code number. Don’t tarry, you only have 300 seconds (5 minutes) in which to insert the code number.
With the code inserted, click Link on the app, and Bob’s your uncle. The app and the PlayStation are connected.
With remote access you can control the game one of two ways:
- On-screen controls, which are visible when using a device with a touch screen. The controls will appear as a ghosted overlay of the actual controller. I find it to be easy and intuitive to use.
- Pairing the actual controller to the device.
How to Pair the PlayStation Controller
In essence, pairing the controller to the device is pretty much like pairing any Bluetooth device. The tricky part is getting the controller into pairing mode.
To enable pairing mode on the controller, make sure the controller is off and unattached to any USB cable. If the controller is “on”, depress and hold the “Home” button until the light turns off. Now, to put it into pair mode, depress and hold the “Home” and “Share” buttons simultaneously until the light starts to blink. Once it’s blinking, it’s in pairing mode.
Unpairing the Controller
The controller will remain paired to the device until you unpair it. If you want to use it on the actual PlayStation console (and not remotely), you must connect the controller to the PlayStation console using a USB cable. Once the game recognizes the controller, remove the cable.
Remote Access WorkArounds
As I mentioned earlier, the PS Remote app doesn’t seem to work on Windows 10 or the Amazon Fire TV. For this workaround, you’ll need another device such as a smartphone or tablet. In my case, I have an old unused iPhone 6. The old phone does not have a SIM card nor is it connected to a phone plan. It’s a wi-fi only phone.
The other item needed for this workaround is an adapter. What type of adapter depends on the type of device you have. In my case, I have the Apple Lightning to Digital AV adapter (Amazon affiliate link). In other words, you need something that will enable you to share the device’s display with the TV/monitor.
Here’s what I do:
- Install PS Remote on the iPhone 6
- Connect the iPhone to the PlayStation remotely
- Use the adapter to connect the phone to either the Fire TV or to the computer monitor.
- Play games (Bob is my uncle again)
Remote Access – How Far is Too Far?
Well, I can say that I was about 70 miles away from the PlayStation console and was able to access it and play games. The distance doesn’t seem to be a problem, but the quality of the internet connection might be.
Connecting to the device from a location with poor internet strength makes it difficult to remain connected to the console. As such, it’s not a good experience. However, if you’ve got a strong internet connection, all goes well.