XBMC is the go-to media tool these days, but whether you’ve built a dedicated media center using the XBMCbuntu variant or run it ad-hoc from your PC or Mac, having to control it using your mouse and keyboard can be a finicky thing.

This is where XBMC Remote comes into play. This officially sanctioned app lets you press your iPad or iPhone into a fully functioning remote control, letting you browse your libraries for content to play or flick through the XBMC options using the fully featured remote control.

Tap the settings button, and you can alter the volume, bring up an on-screen keyboard, use a button pad for controlling XBMC via gestures. Install the latest version of XBMC – Gotham – and you can even access XBMC’s own settings from your phone or tablet.

The app recognises multiple instances of XBMC, so switch between them by simply tapping the version you wish to control. From here you can also access power settings as well as options for updating and cleaning both audio and video libraries.

The app is reasonably intuitive to use – the user interface is simpler on the iPad where more screen controls are visible at once, but ironically we prefer the smaller, more cluttered view on the iPhone. One thing we would like to see, however, is an option for locking the keypad when you’re watching media – too many times we’ve accidentally brushed the app interface and screwed up playback.

But despite this personal niggle, if you’re using XBMC to watch media, you’ll want this free app to ensure you never have to leave the couch again.

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If you’re an XBMC user then this app is utterly indispensable.