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Android TV 14 could finally offer remappable shortcut buttons for your remote

Android TV 14 beta build indicates that Google is working on letting you open your favorite app with one click.

Published onJune 8, 2023

Chromecast with Google TV HD remote 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Android TV 14 beta includes strings that indicate that users will be able to remap a blank “star” button on their remote.
  • The button can be remapped to open favorite apps or switch between inputs for your TV.
  • This feature is likely to be made available to new TV remotes that have blank buttons. Existing branded buttons are unlikely to be remapped.

Android TVs have found their place in millions of homes around the world, and that’s not very surprising. As an OS, Android TV is functional and feature-rich, serving you great content recommendations and getting out of your way when you sit down to watch. It seems Google wants to make it easier for you to get to your favorite apps and content, as the latest Android TV 14 beta builds indicate that remappable shortcut buttons are finally coming to Android TV remotes.

As spotted by Mishaal Rahman, Android TV 14’s beta builds include strings that indicate that the OS will soon let you create shortcuts to your favorite apps, which can then be mapped to a blank button on your remote. Users could also choose to use the custom button to view and switch inputs for the TV or other connected devices instead.

The feature is currently disabled by default in the beta build but has been forcefully surfaced for screenshots.

It is also interesting to note that neither the Google TV remote nor the Google G10 reference remote has a blank “star” button. The presence of these strings indicates that we could see TV remote hardware in the future that would sport a blank button. There have been leaks in the past that showed off a Google TV remote with a star button.

Before you get too excited, it’s unlikely that you will get to remap existing branded buttons on your existing Android TV remote. Those branded buttons are mapped and locked as part of licensing deals between the TV OEM and the brand, and Google is unlikely to open up that part of the remote to users. Plus, it would also be a poor user experience if pressing the Netflix button would open up YouTube, for example. You need blank buttons for remapping to be a good exercise.

Even if your TV gets the update to Android TV 14, you will likely not get this feature if your TV remote does not already have a blank “star” button. You will very likely need new hardware to get this feature.

We hope TV makers offer new remotes compatible with older TVs so that everyone can open their most accessed app without wandering through a sea of menus and options.

Other changes spotted in the Android TV 14 beta include the ability to take calls from supported apps. Google is also skipping Android 13 for Android TV and jumping straight to Android 14.

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