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Home / Tips and Tricks / Better than Google: Text, call, take pictures from your Android phone without leaving Windows 10

Better than Google: Text, call, take pictures from your Android phone without leaving Windows 10



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Take complete control of your phone from your computer.

Angela Lang / CNET

Apple users are quick to brag about how seamless theirs is iPhone, iPad and Mac everyone works together. And for the longest time, they have certainly had the right to brag. But Microsoft your phone app on Windows 10 ($ 158 on Amazon) is fast catching up and in some ways surpasses Apple.

Google has tried to fill the gap with Messages for Web, allowing Android owners to send and receive text messages from any computer. But that’s where the service ends.

To view notifications, make phone calls, or even access your camera roll, you need to turn to a Microsoft app called your phone. Below I follow how to configure it and explain what each tab in the app allows you to do. If you are using a newer Samsung Galaxy phone, like Not 20 Ultra, you can even run Android apps on your computer – that’s pretty cool.

Overall, it’s pretty good, and something I’ve been using for the past week. After my time using it, one thing is clear: Google’s messaging options are good but have nothing on the overall package that Microsoft has built into Windows 10.

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Your phone works with all Android phones running Android 7 or later.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Set up the Your Phone app on your PC and Android device

The app Your phone is already installed on your computer as long as you have the Windows 10 October 2018 update installed. It’s not a bad idea to make sure your computer is running the latest version of Windows by clicking Start > settings > Update and security > search for updates and install any pending updates.

Open the Your Phone app on your computer and sign in to your Microsoft account.

Your Android phone must be on Android 7.0 or later, as if your phone was made in recent years you should be good to go. You can double-check which version of Android it is running in the Settings app, usually under System or About phone.

Open the browser on your Android phone and enter www.aka.ms/yourpc in the address bar. Your phone will either take you to the Your Phone app in the Play Store or if you have a compatible Samsung Galaxy phone, you will be taken to the link to the Windows app in the Play Store.

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Installation on your Android phone requires that you only follow the instructions and give permission to your device when you request it.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Download and install the app, then sign in with the same Microsoft account linked to your Windows 10 computer.

Follow the instructions in the app Your phone on your computer and on your own phone. There will be a series of permissions that you must approve, ranging from access to notifications to giving your phone access to your text messages and phone calls.

Once the app has been installed, you are logged in and all permissions are approved, you are ready to completely control your phone from your computer.

Triage your Android notifications

Instead of checking your phone to see if you have any new notifications, use the Messages tab to triage alerts on your phone. The first time you open the tab, you have to go through a little extra installation, but as long as you follow the instructions on your computer and your phone, it’s a breeze.

You can control which app notifications may be displayed on your computer and which will remain on your phone in the settings panel for the app on your computer.

your phone text messages

You can send and receive text and picture messages with your computer.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Continue the text conversation

By far my favorite feature of using your phone is the ability to send and receive text messages on my computer. It works in the same way as Google’s messages for the web, but instead of having to use a website, you get access to your messages directly in the app Your phone.

You receive notifications of new messages, complete with a text field for quick replies, and you have the ability to send GIFs and photos and videos, whether they come from your phone or your computer.

You can even view all the photos that someone sends you, but you have to use your phone to watch videos.

The best part? It does not matter which SMS app you use on your Android phone. Google Messages for Web requires you to use the specific app, but your phone works no matter what.

So far, I have encountered two potential disadvantages. If you use the Google Messages app, all archived conversations will still appear in the Your Phone app as an active conversation. And randomly, my phone and PC will sync, which means that messages do not appear on my computer. If you click the Refresh button at the top of the screen, you can usually fix it.

your phone photos

Pictures and screenshots are available.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Access your photos and screenshots

Select the Photos tab to view photos and screenshots stored on your phone. You can drag and drop everything from this tab to your computer’s desktop or open it in another app on your computer.

Your phone limits what it shows to the last 2000 articles, but that should be more than enough for most cases. If you have recently taken a photo or screenshot and it does not appear, click the refresh button at the top of the window.

phone call

Make and receive phone calls via your Android phone on your computer.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Call, receive phone calls

Use your computer instead of picking up your phone to make or answer a call. Before you can make or receive a call, click the Phone tab in the Your Phone app on your computer and follow the instructions. You must have Bluetooth enabled on both your phone and computer for phone calls to work as well.

When the additional setting is complete, all incoming calls are displayed as notifications on your computer. In the same way, you can dial a number by dialing a number or selecting from your contacts in the phone tab.

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Duo also lets you run Android apps on your desktop.

Run Android apps on Windows 10

Probably the biggest benefit of using your phone is that you can use apps installed on your Android phone directly on your computer. So if you want to browse through TikTok or get access to an app to control your lights, you do not need to pick up your phone.

Right now, the feature is limited to Samsung phones, but we know that Microsoft Surface Duo will also support the feature when it starts September 10th.

For those with a Samsung Galaxy phone, you can access your Android apps by clicking the App tab in the Your Phone app on your computer. For more information on the feature, be sure to check out our complete guide to uses your phone to run Android apps on your computer.






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Adjust your settings as needed

Finally, click the Settings tab. There you will find options to check which notifications are displayed on your computer, enable or disable photo access, disable phone calls if it is just too much for you, and check when notifications are marked as read.

If you use a Samsung phone, you also have the option of copying and pasting information between your phone and computer.

Now that you have complete control over your Android phone on your Windows 10 computer, take a few minutes to fine-tune your computer so that it runs smoothly. We also has some tips and tricks for Windows 10 that are worth checking out. And be sure to check out our top features in Android 11, the next major update from Google.


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