Here’s how to control your Android phone from a PC

You have probably wished at times to be able to control your Android device from your PC. Maybe your phone is at the bottom of your pocket, or maybe you’re in class and subtly want to message someone. Or maybe you need to type a lot of text or look at something on a bigger screen.

Fortunately, your Android phone is easy to access from a computer. Here are the best options, from one that’s already built into Windows to a full-screen mirroring app.

1. Control your Android phone from Windows 10

If you’re using Windows, you already have one basic way to access your phone from your computer. This works through the Your Phone app in Windows 10.

Your phone is a built-in app that lets you view your 25 most recent photos, send and receive text messages, and manage calls on your PC. Microsoft also offers a screen mirroring feature that supports a limited number of devices.

To set up your phone:

  1. Update and install the Your Phone app in Windows Your phone companion on Android.

  2. Sign in to your Microsoft account on both devices.

  3. Launch the app on your phone and PC, then follow the on-screen instructions to link the two.

The set up process can be a little spirited, but once it’s up and running it works pretty well. If all you need is a quick way to answer texts on your laptop, it’s worth a try.

2. Access your phone on a computer using AirDroid

AirDroid is like a much more powerful version of Your Phone. It gives you desktop access to most of your phone’s important functions and you don’t even have to create an account to use it. While AirDroid is free, you can subscribe to the premium version for even more features.

The service offers a desktop app for Windows and Mac, but you don’t need one as it works in every major web browser on every platform. It’s super easy and makes it safe to use on a shared computer.

AirDroid allows you to control your Android phone from a PC over the internet or over WiFi when both devices are connected to the same network.

To get started with AirDroid:

  1. To install AirDroid on your phone. If prompted, accept the permission requirements.

  2. Open a browser on your desktop or laptop and go to web.airdroid.com. A page with a QR code is loaded.

  3. Launch AirDroid on your phone and tap the scan Icon at the top of the screen next to AirDroid Web.

  4. Scan the QR code.

  5. Tap log in (even if you have not created an account).

  6. You are now connected. The functions of your telephone are accessible in the browser window.

The AirDroid web interface is similar to a desktop and looks great when you switch to full screen mode. On the left you can see your available apps and functions, on the right you can see tools and information about your phone. At the top is a control panel that you can use to search for apps, make calls, set alarms, and so on.

AirDroid features

AirDroid doesn’t work with third party apps, so you won’t be able to use it Snapchat on your laptop. But that’s the only major caveat. It packs a lot of functionality elsewhere.

You can make calls, send and read text messages. It also provides access to the photos and videos stored on your phone, as well as locally stored music.

In addition, there are plenty of tools that will seamlessly connect your phone and desktop. You can transfer data wirelessly from your PC to your phone, enter a url on the desktop and open the webpage on your phone and install APK files remotely.

Some features require an account, and some are restricted with the free version. Upgrading to AirDroid Premium costs $ 3.99 per month or $ 29.99 for a year, but aside from the most advanced users, the free option should be sufficient.

Download: AirDroid (Free, subscription available)

3. Access Android remotely from a PC using AirDroid Cast

AirDroid supports a basic mirroring feature, but for more control you can use AirDroid Cast which allows you to control your phone from your desktop.

To begin you have to Download AirDroid Cast for Windows or Mac, as well as Android AirDroid Cast app on your phone.

Now start the apps on both devices. In your desktop app you will see a QR code; tap the scan Icon, scan the code, then tap Start pouring. For security reasons, you will be asked to Allow on your desktop and start now on your phone.

After that you will be connected. AirDroid Cast only allows basic mirroring on the free version, but if you want full touch control from your Windows PC or Mac, you can upgrade for $ 3.49 per month. There is also a free trial available so you can make sure it suits your needs.

Unlike AirDroid, Cast lets you work with third-party apps and move files to and from your phone. Since the app mirrors your phone’s screen, you’ll need to keep the screen on to use it.

Download: AirDroid Cast for Android | window | Mac (Free, subscription available)

4. Control an Android phone from a PC with Vysor

Vysor works similarly to AirDroid Cast. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux Chrome Operating system. It comes in free and paid versions. The free version is good enough to give you a taste of what’s on offer, but it’s limited – it has ads and you can only use a wired connection.

But what makes Vysor so great is that there is almost no setup or configuration process. You need to enable USB debugging, but that’s all. Just install Vysor on your computer and connect your phone. Everything happens automatically.

An app is transferred to your Android device en route. If you ever want to uninstall this, you can do so by clicking on Settings> Apps & notifications on your Android device.

Vysor functions

Once the installation is complete, your phone’s screen will be mirrored in a window on your desktop. There are handy buttons to take screenshots, record your screen, and adjust the volume. You can do everything else with the mouse on the virtual touchscreen.

Since Vysor is a screen mirroring service, there are no app compatibility concerns. Anything running on your phone can be used on the desktop. This includes games, although delays will be a problem in games that require quick responses.

Download: Vysor for window | Mac | Linux (Free, subscription available)

Other ways to control your phone from a PC

There are a few other apps you can check out to access your phone from a computer. Powerful text mainly based on messaging, much like your phone. In the meantime, Pushbullet is closer to AirDroid, albeit a more expensive option.

There is also ApowerMirror, a screen mirroring app similar to Vysor. It comes with a standalone app for Windows and Mac, with the limitations of the free version. Upgrading to the full app is more expensive than Vysor.

There is also a free, open source app called Scrcpythat has features similar to what you would have to pay for in Vysor. That sounds perfect, but unfortunately it is far from being user-friendly. The setup process is more complicated and you can only adjust the app’s settings from the command line. Still, it is worth a look if you are an advanced user.

Use Android on a desktop with an emulator

Now that you know the best options for using your Android phone from a laptop or desktop. They allow you to control your devices from what works best at the moment.

Another option is not to control your phone directly, but to use an emulator instead. That way, you can use your favorite mobile apps or play smartphone games on your laptop by running Android in an app.

Image source: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock

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