How to remotely access a PC from a cell phone
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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to work from home. This includes the need to remotely access computers using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Tool, which most people use to connect their home and office computers. But when you’re on the go, you can also access a remote PC from an Apple or Android device. You can view the screen, open files and use applications on your mobile device as easily (if not as quickly) as if you were in front of this computer. How to use the Remote Desktop mobile app to access a remote computer.
A standard mouse and keyboard application does not transmit video or sound and functions more or less like a TV remote control for your computer. All require an active connection on the local network (preferably Wi-Fi, but you can connect your computer to the router via Ethernet). Most remote desktop clients also provide Internet control.
Chrome Remote Desktop (Free: iOS and Android)
It’s probably the easiest remote desktop app we’ve ever had the pleasure of using. With Chrome Remote Desktop (iOS and Android), you can remotely access a Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chromebook computer. All you need to do is download the Chrome Remote Desktop app for the computing platform of your choice, run it, and follow the instructions to set it up. Then run the app from your mobile device. This app has proven to be quite reliable and Google has some smart solutions to make something like Windows 10 work from a tablet or smartphone screen. Chrome Remote Desktop is so easy, you’ll find yourself using it without hesitation.
Microsoft Remote Desktop App (Free: iOS and Android)
Since Windows is the world’s most popular operating system, you can’t go wrong with a remote desktop app created by the same people who brought us the ubiquitous software backbone of the PC world. Microsoft’s mobile app is available on Android and iOS and there is plenty of documentation to help you make it all work. This is also its main weakness. Setting up your computer and the remote access app can be a bit tricky compared to the nifty setup you get with something like the Google app.
However, advanced Windows users and power users alike will appreciate the reliability and power of the app. Better yet, since Windows 8+, you can use a direct native touch mode. This will turn your iOS or Android tablet into a Windows tablet.
TeamViewer for personal use (free: Windows Mobile, Blackberry, iOS and Android)
TeamViewer is practically a household name in the remote desktop world, and the company offers enterprise-level remote services for a license fee. The good news is that people who want to use the software for personal, non-commercial use can do so for free. The downside is that the software has code that detects commercial use and then blocks it. This is fine considering the terms of the license, but when you come across a false positive detection, you should contact them to unlock things. It’s weird, but annoying.
However, in terms of technology and features, Team Viewer is hard to beat. It is built on a premium infrastructure and can do more than just remotely control desktops. There is a long list of devices that you can access remotely using the iOS or Android apps. If you have a Windows Mobile or Blackberry device, this may be your only option. Everyone should try TeamViewer at least once if they are looking for a great remote desktop experience.
Splashtop Personal (Free: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone)
Like TeamViewer, the folks at Splashtop decided to make their software free for personal use. However, they will sell you professional features through in-app updates.
Unlike TeamViewer, business functions can be paid for monthly, while TeamViewer only sells annual subscriptions. The software is compatible with many mobile devices, and you can choose one on the Splashtop Personal download page that matches the hardware you are using.
LogMeIn Pro ($ 349.99 per year: Android and iOS)
LogMeIn discontinued its free offering in 2014, but it remains one of the most recognizable names in the remote desktop market.
The annual plan for LogMeIn Pro is admittedly high for individual users, but it also includes a subscription to LastPass Premium. You also get a terabyte of cloud storage. The individual level only allows two computers to register for access. For most people, this will likely include your PC at home and at work.
LogMeIn is a professional product that includes high levels of security and specialized features that you won’t find in free products. At least not all at the same time. For example, if the remote machine has multiple monitors, you can match them correctly to the device you are using to control it.
You also get better service and uptime guarantees with a paid product like this. So if you need remote access for critical reasons, LogMeIn may be the right choice.
NoMachine (Free: iOS and Android)
The motto of NoMachine is “NoMachine for everyone”, which is true for its main non-commercial product. It’s free, secure, and fairly easy to set up. Although it’s a relatively unknown name in remote desktop software, NoMachine has more than a few pens on its cap that could sell you its products. Its main objective is performance. While most remote desktop software allows you to perform basic tasks on the remote machine, lagging and low-quality streaming are no substitute for presence. NoMachine claims to be the fastest, lowest latency remote desktop software.
At the same time, they also claim the best transmission quality. Good enough for you to watch HD videos or play video games on the remote machine. It clearly depends on your bandwidth at both ends of the connection, but if your primary domain with other remote desktop software is too long and ugly, NoMachine is definitely worth a try.
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