One of the big attractions of Apple products is the way they seamlessly share information between devices. It's always felt like Microsoft has been playing catch-up in that regard, and that's further highlighted by the discontinuing of Windows smartphones.
Windows 10's October 2018 update attempted to bridge the gap, with the launch of Microsoft's Your Phone app. This now means you can access your phone's calls, texts and notifications without ever leaving the desktop. Crucially, this works across all of the latest Android devices, as well as iOS.
Why should I use Your Phone?
We all know how distracting your phone can be when you're trying to work. It feels much easier to ignore a notification in the corner of your laptop screen as opposed to front and centre on your phone. Also, many desktop apps won't send you notifications unless you have the program open, with should further reduce distractions.
When you are ready to check Your Phone, there's a good level of functionality. In addition to getting notifications, you can also make and receive phone calls, send texts and use a selection of phone apps.
A recent update has added the ability to control the music that's playing on your phone. This means you can play/pause, skip tracks and easily change your music provider without leaving your desktop. Read all the details here.
According to Windows Latest, there are plenty more features coming in the near future. Chief among these is a Picture-in-Picture mode, which will allow users to keep individual text conversations separate from the rest of the app. There will also be the option to call contacts directly from the messages tab, for a more seamless desktop experience.
Elsewhere, Your Phone will now offer the ability to intelligently copy text directly from a picture, simply by right-clicking on it.
These features are set to be available to members of the Windows Insider Program in the coming weeks. Windows Latest's good track record means we have no reason to doubt what they're saying here.
How to use Your Phone with Windows 10
Firstly, you'll need to download the Your Phone Companion app on the Google Play Store. This may already be on your phone if you have a Samsung device, while the Windows 10 version comes pre-installed on your device.
- On your Android device, go to www.aka.ms/yourpc.
- This should direct you to download the app from the Google Play Store, although it might be pre-installed if you have a Samsung phone.
- Once downloaded, open the app and sign-in with your Microsoft account. You must ensure this is the same as the one signed into your PC for it to work.
- Open the Your Phone app on your PC and select Android phone.
- The two devices should recognise each other, but if not scan the QR code that appears with your phone's camera and ensure you sign in on desktop too.
- A notification should appear on your phone requesting permission, tap allow.
- Check the box to say you've installed the app and then the app will open.
- That's it! Now you should see tabs for Notifications, Messages, Photos, Phone screen and Calls
Want to know more about using each section of Your Phone? Check out the in-depth guide on our sister site PCWorld.