In 2017, Microsoft made the painful decision to end its Windows Phone. With its own mobile operating system out of the way, the American giant has since accepted its role as arbiter of elegance between the two largest mobile ecosystems, iOS and Android. The Redmond firm now offers a wide selection of applications and mobile services, including an application called “Your Phone”, whose mission is to integrate the functionality of smartphones in Windows 10.
In the Apple brand ecosystem, Macs, iPhones and iPads work together through a set of features known as “Continuity.” If Microsoft succeeds in achieving this integration, it would, in theory, bridge the gap between the ecosystem of Windows 10 PCs and that of Apple. However, the application “Your phone” initially aroused a lot of disappointment among its users, so much it seemed then superficial. It certainly didn’t live up to the smooth experience that Apple customers get with Continuity.
In 2020, Microsoft announced major improvements to the app’s feature set. On iOS devices, the only integration with Windows 10 available through this feature is the ability to open pages in Microsoft Edge from your mobile device. If that’s enough to get your heart racing, go for it.
A star on Android
However, if you have an Android device, and in particular an up-to-date Samsung Galaxy smartphone, or a Surface Duo that supports the new “Link To Windows” feature, the result is purely magical. The open nature of the Android platform means that users can expect deep integration between their smartphone and their Windows 10 PC. After a few simple setup steps, you can leave this portable device on the sidelines while you work on your computer. PC.
After successfully connecting the Samsung device to your Microsoft account, the experience changes dramatically. The Your Phone app on Windows 10 now displays notifications, messages, and photos in a window on your PC screen. It even offers the ability to reply to text messages and make or receive voice calls directly from the PC. And since this device supports the latest Link To Windows features, it is possible to work directly with Android apps in a window on the Windows 10 screen.
Establishing the connection between an Android phone and Windows 10 is a three-step process. First, check if your device supports Link To Windows and other advanced integration features. Most of Samsung’s current Galaxy series phones are on this list, as is the Surface Duo. If your device is on this list, you can enable Link To Windows features from Android settings. If it is not, you must install the Assistant Your Phone application on your smartphone.
On your marks
Next, verify that your phone and PC are connected to the same network. The Android device needs a Wi-Fi connection for most functions, but uses bluetooth to handle phone calls from your PC. Finally, on your Windows 10 PC, go to Settings> Your Phone, click on “Add a phone” and follow the instructions.
Make sure to sign in using the same Microsoft account for both the phone and the Windows 10 PC. You can connect multiple phones to your PC, and at the end of the setup process, Windows 10 will give you the options to continue on the phone. You’ll also need to adjust some permissions on your phone – to allow you to mirror your screen and see notifications on the PC screen, for example.
With all of that sorted out, you can place your phone in its charging cradle and work from your desk.
How to use the app
On a phone that doesn’t support Link To Windows, you’re limited to the integration features that are part of Android itself. Opening the Your Phone app essentially provides an alternate window for you to keep your phone in your pocket and continue to see notifications, continue texting conversations, and browse photos in your camera list. smartphone. You can also route this call to the computer’s microphone and speakers.
While it’s not immediately obvious, there is another new feature available on a Link To Windows compatible device. Click on the phone screen above the navigation pane on the left to mirror the phone’s display to your PC screen, where you can click, tap or swipe to navigate your phone screen remotely . Link To Windows also allows you to drag and drop content between phone and PC, a feature that is not available with basic Android functions in Assistant Your Phone.
If you open an app remotely, it displays in the same type of remote screen. Either way, the magic happens with your phone’s ability to broadcast to a remote device. In this case, the remote device is your Windows 10 PC, and you need to grant permission before the connection works.
Once everything is set up correctly, clicking on a notification in the Your Phone app opens it in its own app window. You can also adjust things in your phone’s Settings so that clicking on a notification displays the notifications page instead. In the Messages tab, you can have real-time conversations by SMS or MMS. You have the ability to add attachments, including GIFs. You can also scroll through your message history, without having to take out your phone.
Perhaps the most useful feature of Your Phone is its integration with your Android phone’s camera roll. Click “Photos” to browse all the photos you have taken recently on your phone. You can drag a photo from the app and drop it into File Explorer to save it to your PC, or drop it as an attachment in a draft email or Slack message.
You can also right-click to open the photo in an application on your PC for editing, or use the “Share” tab to send it to a specific destination. This last function is a real time saver, as it eliminates the need to copy a photo from the phone to a shared location and then open it in a compatible app.
However, do not try this solution on an iPhone, as none of these functions are available. And don’t expect these features to appear on generic Android devices anytime soon. But for anyone with a device that is compatible with the new features of Link To Windows, this option is worth checking out.