Remote Desktop apps mirror your PC screen on your Android phone or iPhone – without the cable. You can then operate your Windows PC or Mac as you normally would, using either your phone’s touch screen and virtual on-screen controls (or any external peripherals). Here are the best apps to do just that.
Chrome Remote Desktop
Google Chrome Remote Desktop is the most straightforward way to control your PC or Mac using your Android phone or iPhone. It connects your computers through your Google account and allows you to access them remotely on any other device with the click or tap of a button.
Since most of the app runs via a browser, there isn’t much you need to do to configure it – apart from installing a small plugin and granting a few permissions. Once you connect a computer to the Chrome Remote Desktop section of your Google profile, it automatically appears on your phone, and you can simply launch it without worrying about any access credentials or long codes.
To get started, head over to Chrome Remote Desktop website on your computer, and sign in with your Google account. Under “Set up Remote Access,” click the blue circular arrow icon to download it and double-click the saved file to install Chrome Remote Desktop on your Mac or PC.
Return to the website, this time select the “Run” option. Follow the onscreen instructions to give Chrome Remote Desktop permissions to display your computer screen on another device. You will also be required to set up a PIN for authorized remote access to your computer.
Next, download the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your device Android phone or Iphone Log in with your Google credentials. As long as your computer is turned on, it will automatically appear when you launch the mobile app for the first time. Touch the name of your workstation, then enter the PIN you set earlier, and in seconds, you’ll see its screen on your phone.
There are two ways you can interact with your computer. You can of course use your finger, but that may not be ideal because your computer works better with a file keyboard And the mouse. Chrome Remote Desktop provides virtual alternatives to these peripherals.
While in a workstation, click the three-line button in the lower right corner to reveal the “Trackpad mode” and “Show keyboard” options. Additionally, you have to go to Settings and toggle on Resize Desktop to Fit so that your PC content is automatically adapted to your phone’s screen size.
Microsoft Remote Desktop
If you have Windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro PC, you will have a better experience with Remote Desktop software from Microsoft. Compared to Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop, Microsoft’s solution sends a smoother and clearer stream of your Windows PC to your Android phone or iPhone. The steps to set it up are minimal, too. You can be up and running in minutes because Microsoft Remote Desktop comes built into Windows PCs.
Go to Settings > System > Remote Desktop and activate the “Remote Desktop” option. Choose “Confirm” in the next pop-up window. Make a note of the name of your computer under the “How to connect to this computer” section and grab your smartphone.
Go to Google Play Store or Apple App Store To download the free Microsoft Remote Desktop app. On the main page, click on the plus button in the upper right corner, and select “Add a computer” in the submenu. Fill in the Computer Name field with the field you noted earlier. You don’t necessarily have to use any other field, but you can add the account you use on your Windows PC in User Account. Otherwise, you will have to enter your username and password every time you want to access your workstation remotely. Touch the orange “Save” button once you’re done.
Back on the app’s homepage, click on your computer’s name and authorize access with the account you use to log into your Windows computer. By default, Microsoft Remote Desktop puts you in mouse mode, which means you have to drag your cursor with your finger to move around your computer. To switch to touch mode, tap the button to the left of the keyboard icon, then select the finger button. To adjust the screen resolution, you will have to return to the main page of the application and go to the three-dot button > Settings > Display.