Why does Microsoft think you need the Windows 10 Your Phone app? Because it retains the most important features of a phone: access to your photos, messages, messages, calls and even the phone's home screen – without having to remove the phone from your pocket.
It may sound ridiculous, but think again: Once you have taken your phone out of your pocket, you are instantly lost in messages, emails, Instagram – all this distracts from your focus and flow when you work on your computer. Theoretically, you can refuse to open Outlook on your PC and use your phone instead. But you haven't, right? Because the computer is much more comfortable ̵1; and in some situations it is also quite rude to play with your phone.
The functionality of your phone is essentially complete, but the landing has been a little rough. You need to mix and match the right computer and phone hardware to get the most out of your phone, but the most useful basic features are already available to the world. We can also show you what the final vision looks like and what (if anything!) You need to get there. Your phone is surprisingly simple and effective, and it is much longer than during our first look at your phone experience.
Setting: What you need
Because of the "walled garden" that Apple brings with iOS, your phone is essentially tied to Android. (Although your phone technically supports iPhones, Microsoft has stopped listing them among supported phones.) Even then, not all phones support your phone feature right now. You get the best experience right now with a Samsung Galaxy or OnePlus phone.
All the latest Android phones should be able to connect to your phone and get the phone's basic features: photos, SMS texts and notifications. The newer, more advanced features – making calls and interacting with the phone's home screen – are limited to a smaller subset of devices (Galaxy phones and new OnePlus phones, in principle). Unfortunately, your phone can only link to one single phone at the moment.
Here is a more detailed list of hardware and software requirements for each of your phone features, currently:
Photos, messages and messages:
A Windows 10 PC running Windows 10 April 2018 Update or later, and an Android phone running Android 7.0 or later.
Phone calls (calls) from your computer:
A Windows 10 computer with build 18362.356 or later, and an Android phone running Android 7.0 or later.
Interacts with the phone screen (phone screen) from your computer:
A Windows 10 Insider PC that supports Low Energy Peripheral Mode, including Surface Laptop 2, Surface Pro 4-6, Surface Book 1 -2, and also Surface Go. A list of supported phones can be found here here, with most Samsung Galaxy and new OnePlus devices supported.
In general, I have had good luck with calls and phone screen while running the latest previews of Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring, which are optimized for the latest iteration of your phone. But the basic features (texts, photos and messages) should work well with a regularly updated Windows 10 PC. Remember that all this should open up to a wider unit of units over time.
How to set up your phone on your smartphone
While your phone app should be downloaded in advance or automatically downloaded on most computers, I need to download the companion app for your phone, known as your phone companion. Your Phone Companion for Android can either be downloaded via the link, or you can enter your phone number in the Your Phone app in Windows. Microsoft sends a text to your phone with the download link inside it.
Note that you need to configure your Phone Companion on your phone as well as your Phone on your PC at the same time, make sure your phone and PC are up to date, turn on Bluetooth on both devices and start both apps. You will quickly go through a short series of steps that will allow your phone and computer to connect.
The installation requires a decent amount of back and forth, and there may be some violin that needs to be done. The installation is likely to ensure that Bluetooth is turned on on both devices, but not always. The installation process will probably also pair both devices for you, but when I switched test phones I had to perform these steps manually. Make sure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network for easier communication. And when it's finally up and running, you probably have to approve separate permissions for your phone companion for SMS, since calls, since messages, and so on; It's a hassle, but the permissions are there to make sure apps don't abuse your privacy.
Not turned off by the obvious complexity. We have detailed many of the steps that Windows should take behind the scenes, and some of this goes only through the normal privacy approvals.
How to use your phone
When the installation is complete, it's time to actually use your phone. Here is a quick guide to input and output for all apps.
A potential gotcha has to do with your smartphone's on-screen keyboard. Your phone is designed so that you can access your phone from your PC using your physical keyboard to connect to it and respond to messages. I was shocked to find that when I picked up my phone (in the habit) to respond to a text, the on-screen keyboard had disappeared. If this happens, try searching for the "keyboard" in the Android settings menu on your phone and make sure there is an option to activate the on-screen keyboard even if your computer is typing. It gives you the freedom to use your phone the way you want, even when connected to your computer.
Remember to check the setup equipment for your phone app in the lower left corner, where there are options, for example, to allow SMS texts but not MMS images.
The Photos tab The Photos is similar to the Photos app in Windows: if you take a photo with your phone, your phone's photos make it available for you to share or edit. You can see an array of up to 25 photos and screenshots on the Your Phone Photos tab, which you can copy, share or save from the tab. Frustratingly, you cannot edit them directly with photos unless you save them on your hard drive, since edit them with photos.
In this context, "Messages" is only brief for SMS / MMS text messages, not any specific app on Android or anywhere else. As a result, it is a summary of the text messages you and your contacts have exchanged, nothing more. Most messaging apps, including Skype, offer a "call" option and usually also a video chat option. Messages do nothing, although you can again claim that only the leg is necessary to maintain the flow.
The Settings option for downloading images sent via MMS texts automatically needs some clarity. First, when I specifically connected to it, a test photo sent to me via text was not saved on my PC – even though my phone is not configured to automatically save photos sent to my phone. (The photo seemed inline as a text message, but it should have.) It would also be good to know exactly where MMS images are saved, and whether they are automatically backed up to OneDrive. That's why people use Snapchat, after all.
Unfortunately, messages still display all the message threads that you have archived on your phone, including automated, one-time password texts that a web service can send you for two-factor authentication. (Keep in mind that using a 2FA Authentication app is safer instead.)
Similarly, notifications represent nothing but Android messages that apps are already sending to the home screen of your phone. There is not much to do here, even if you have the ability to filter these notifications so that only a subset is transferred to your PC.
As new e-mail messages, they slide into the bottom right corner of your Action Center. Therefore, it is enough to consider the filtering options, as you can now see a message slip in for a new email on your phone, and another from the Mail or Outlook app on your PC.