If you’ve ever dared to ask an Apple user why they like it so much, one of the answers you’ll get to real quick is the seamless integration of their iPhone, Mac, and iPad. For a good while now, they have been able to claim that crown. Coming up as challenger is the Microsoft Your Phone app for Windows 10, which you can get for $158 from Amazon. It’s getting Android up to speed and possibly ready to take poll position.  

With Messages for Web, Google tried to fill a gap and let Android owners use texting options on computers. That was about all that was possible though. 

To get all your notifications, use calling features, and check out your camera roll, you need to open the Microsoft app called Your Phone. Jason Cipriani went through a full set up in his article for cnet, so we can bring you how to do it and what you can do within the app. For more up to date Samsung Galaxy users, you even get to have your Android apps running on your desktop, which is pretty neat.  

It’s a pretty good system to use and the Google Messages attempt to integrate phone and computer is sadly lacking a great deal in comparison.

Get the Your Phone app downloaded across your devices

You already have Your Phone installed on your computer if you’ve got the Windows 10 update from October 2018 installed. It’s not a bad idea to make sure your PC is running the latest version of Windows by clicking Start > Settings > Update & Security > Check for updates and installing any pending updates. 

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

As long as your Android device is running on Android 7.0 or later, you’re going to be able to use Your Phone. Check out which version of Android it’s running in the Settings app, usually under System or About phone. 

Open the browser on your Android phone and enter www.aka.ms/yourpc into the address bar. Next, you’ll be directed to the Your Phone listing in Play Store, or if your Samsung Galaxy is compatible, you’ll go through to a link for the Windows app on Play Store. 

Next, download and install the app, then sign into it with the same Microsoft account linked to your Windows 10 computer. 

Do the necessary actions on the Your Phone app on your computer and on your phone, too. You’ll need to grant a range of permissions, such as access to notifications and to your messages and call history.

Once you’ve got everything set up and installed, with all permissions given, you can now control your phone using your computer.  

Streamline your Android notifications

You can send and get pictures using your PC. Image credit: cnet.com

There’s no need to glance over your phone to check your notifications when you can access the Notifications tab and check out what’s important and what can be dealt with later. When you go into the tab for the first time, there’s a few setup steps to go through. Just go through the steps on both your devices and you should have no problems. 

You’ve got control over which apps can pop notifications up on your computer and which ones get left on your phone. Head to the settings panel on the computer app to choose your apps.

Keep on chatting

You are able to watch photos through your computer. Image credit: cnet.com

The thing that you’ll really love about the Your Phone app is how you can send and receive SMSs over your computer. Yes, Google Messages can do this too, but you don’t need to use a website because it’s all done through the Your Phone app. 

When you get new messages you’ll be notified, you can do quick replies, and there’s even the option to send GIFs, photos, and videos from your phone or computer. Your computer can even display the photos you receive, but you’ll have to revert to your handset to watch any videos.  

What’s really handy is that it doesn’t matter which SMS app you use on your phone, it all works with Your Phone, as compared to Google Messages which required that particular app to work on your computer.  

Cipriani did note that there were a couple of potential issues. If you do use Google’s Messages app, any archived conversations still show up in the Your Phone app as an active conversation. Another random glitch was that sometimes your phone and computer can get out of sync and some messages won’t display on your computer. A quick click of the Refresh button is an easy fix. 

Get hold of your screenshots

In the Photos tab, you can check out your photos and screenshots that are stored on your phone. Drag and drop them from the tab on to your desktop and even open them up with other apps on your computer.  

Your phone limits what it shows to the last 2,000 items, but that should be more than enough for most instances. Can’t see a pic or screen grab on your computer? Click on the Refresh button to get things synced.

Use all your call functions

You don’t even need to pick up your phone to make or take a call now, you can do it all on your computer. You’ll need to click on the Phone tab in the Your Phone app and follow some setup actions before you can use it for the first time. You’ll need to have Bluetooth enabled on both your phone and computer for phone calls to work, as well. 

Following the completion of the prompts, you’ll get a notification on your computer whenever a call comes through. Using the phone tab you can even call out with the dial pad or access to the phone’s contacts. 

Android apps come to Windows 10

Possibly the best thing about the Your Phone app is that anything you’ve got install on your Android device can be used direct on your computer. Need to obsess over TikTok? Want to control your home lighting through your app? It’s all possible without picking up your phone, now. 

This only works with Samsung phones as it stands, and when the Microsoft Surface Duo lands on Sept 10 it’ll also be available on there. 

If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, you can access your Android apps by clicking on the App tab in the Your Phone app on your computer.

Change settings

It’s worth having a poke around the Settings tab in the app. There are options for controlling which apps can push notifications to your computer, you can switch off access to your gallery, disable the ability to take calls, and even fix up how to determine when a notification is marked “read”.  

Samsung users will even be able to copy/paste information between phone and computer. 

Now you’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to get your phone and computer set up fine-tuned so that it runs how you need it to.