A common question I get when I show someone how easy it is to use my Samsung Phone (I currently have the Note Edge) as a universal remote is “can my iPhone do that?,” to which I awkwardly have to explain that certain Android phones are able to do this because of the infrared blaster, which iPhones lack. However, with the purchase of an additional device (in this example, a small device known as Pronto) you can get similar functionality with an iPhone (or iPad).
In this case, your iPhone connects to Pronto via Bluetooth, which in turn connects to your TV, top box, media player, and or other devices via infrared. It’s an extra cost, but it’s not unreasonable when compared to a really good universal remote.
I recently purchased a Pronto from Amazon so my wife and sister-in-law (both stubborn Apple/iPhone users!) could have the sort of functionality I have with my Edge. The setup was less complicated than I expected. One quick note: The Peel app is also available on Android and I’ve found it more useful and intuitive than the other TV/Universal remote apps I’ve used.