The 6 Best iPhone Apps to Supercharge Your MacBook or iMac

ios-apps-powerup-mac

One of the best accessories for your Mac is something you’ve probably never thought of: an iPhone or iPad. iOS offers tons of apps that can enhance your macOS experience. Here are six great apps that combine the power of your iPhone (or iPad) and Mac for a better experience during work and play. 1. Duet Display Using a dual-screen monitor setup can help you be more productive while working. But there’s no need to go out and make an expensive monitor purchase. With Duet Display, you can quickly and easily turn any iPhone or iPad into a second touchscreen…

Read the full article: The 6 Best iPhone Apps to Supercharge Your MacBook or iMac

ios-apps-powerup-mac

One of the best accessories for your Mac is something you’ve probably never thought of: an iPhone or iPad. iOS offers tons of apps that can enhance your macOS experience.

Here are six great apps that combine the power of your iPhone (or iPad) and Mac for a better experience during work and play.

1. Duet Display

Using a dual-screen monitor setup can help you be more productive while working. But there’s no need to go out and make an expensive monitor purchase. With Duet Display, you can quickly and easily turn any iPhone or iPad into a second touchscreen display for a Mac.

After downloading the companion app on your Mac, start the iOS app on your device and you’ll be ready to go. Unlike similar apps, you’ll need to connect your iPhone or iPad to the Mac with a Lightning cable. That will help provide the fastest and most stable connection possible.

You can interact with your Mac using gestures familiar to any iPhone user, including two-finger scrolling and pan/zoom. For even more control, you can add a Touch Bar-like interface to any iPad.

Duet offers two optional subscriptions to take advantage of. Artists should take a look at Duet Pro. Using an Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, the app offers pressure and tilt sensitivity, hover, and palm rejection for a true drawing tablet experience.

The other option, Duet Air, allows the use of the app without being attached to a Mac or even when you’re on a different wireless network.

Download: Duet Display for macOS (Free) | iOS ($10, subscription available)

2. Screens

Screens App iPad

If you’re looking for a full-featured way to control and interact with your Mac from an iPhone or iPad, Screens should be on the top of your list.

The app allows you to securely to connect to a Mac anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Just download the free Mac app from the Screens site. Once connected, you can select from a touch or trackpad mode to remotely control your computer.

As another nice option, a shortcuts toolbar allows quick access to important keys. Thanks to support for multi-display setups, you can select one screen to work on or view everything at once.

You can even play tech support for friends and family. They can download a special app for their Mac, and you can connect to their computer using Screens on your iPhone or iPad to troubleshoot issues or even install software updates.

Optional in-app purchases can provide a dark mode for the app, plus a mobile trackpad mode. That will allow you to use an iPhone or iPad as a trackpad to control another iOS device using Screens.

Download: Screens for macOS (Free) | iOS ($20, in-app purchases available)

3. Chrome Remote Desktop

For a simple alternative to Screens, check out Chrome Remote Desktop. While it doesn’t offer as many features, the app is free and allows you to remotely connect to any Mac.

As you could probably tell by the name, you have to install Google Chrome on your Mac for the app to work. After installing a Chrome extension, you’ll be ready to go. Each computer you set up needs a PIN to connect. On your iOS device, you can sign into the remote computer using that PIN.

For quick and easy to access a Mac, this app is hard to beat. But if you need to interact with a Mac for longer remote sessions, or want to use a keyboard, definitely consider making the upgrade to Screens.

Download: Chrome Remote Desktop for Chrome | iOS (Free)

4. Keynote

Keynote Remote

Using Keynote on your iPhone or iPad is a great way to build presentations. But the iOS app also has another notable feature for Mac users. Instead of needing an external remote to control slides, you can just use your iPhone or iPad.

You need to do a little work beforehand to get everything working. Start up the iOS app first. Then open up the Mac version and go to Preferences > Remotes to enable the feature and link with your iOS device.

This remote function offers a number of features. It’s easy to pull up presenter’s notes and see a combination of the current or next slide. You can even annotate the presentation using a number of colored pens. To complete the package, there’s even a virtual laser pointer to highlight important information.

If you want to up your presentation creation skills, follow our great tips and tricks for making the most of Keynote on Mac.

Download: Keynote for macOS | iOS (Free)

5. BTT Remote Control

BTT Remote Control allows you to control a Mac and its apps from your iPhone or iPad, as long as both use the same Wi-Fi network. Make sure to have BetterTouchTool installed and running on your Mac first.

One of the best features of the tool is the ability to trigger a keyboard shortcut or a predefined action on the Mac. For example, one touch on the app allows you to capture a screenshot or video of what’s happening on the Mac’s screen and start the editing process.

It’s also possible to assign an icon to each customized action for easy access on your iPhone or iPad. A built-in trackpad in the app (which also supports multi-touch gestures) allows you to easily interact with a Mac.

The integrated file browser and launcher make it simple to browse and select files. An in-app purchase unlocks all the features of the iOS app, while the Mac app offers a 45-day free trial before needing to buy a license.

Download: BetterTouchTool for macOS (Free trial, subscription required)
Download: BTT Remote Control for iOS (Free, premium version available)

6. iTunes Remote

The iTunes Remote app is useful for more than just controlling an Apple TV when you’ve lost your Siri Remote under the couch cushions. As long as iTunes is open on your Mac, and Home Sharing is active, you can use the app to interact with your library of music and even control the volume.

You can view music by artist and album and even search for a specific track. It’s also easy to edit and create new playlists from your iPhone or iPad. Apple Music subscribers can also access songs they’ve stored locally.

Beyond music, the More tab allows you access to other iTunes content like movies, TV shows, music videos, and podcasts.

Download: iTunes Remote for iOS (Free)

Working Better Together

With these apps, you can harness the power of your iPhone or iPad to work even better with your Mac in a wide variety of tasks.

And you don’t even need to download apps for your Apple devices to work in harmony. Make sure to take a look at handy ways to use your Mac and iPhone together.

Read the full article: The 6 Best iPhone Apps to Supercharge Your MacBook or iMac

Microsoft Remote Desktop: How to Access Windows From Your Mac

widnows-remote

It’s easy to access and work on your Windows PC from a Mac. Microsoft offers a free tool to do the job. Read on to learn how to set up and use Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac. Remote Desktop for Mac is relatively simple to set up. It lets you use your Windows apps, work with files, or doing anything else you’d normally do on Windows directly from your MacBook or other macOS machine. Step 1: Prepare Your Windows PC Microsoft Remote Desktop requires Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, or Windows Server. The software runs on Microsoft’s proprietary RDP protocol,…

Read the full article: Microsoft Remote Desktop: How to Access Windows From Your Mac

widnows-remote

It’s easy to access and work on your Windows PC from a Mac. Microsoft offers a free tool to do the job. Read on to learn how to set up and use Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac.

Remote Desktop for Mac is relatively simple to set up. It lets you use your Windows apps, work with files, or doing anything else you’d normally do on Windows directly from your MacBook or other macOS machine.

Step 1: Prepare Your Windows PC

Microsoft Remote Desktop requires Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, or Windows Server. The software runs on Microsoft’s proprietary RDP protocol, which isn’t available on the standard Windows 10 Home Edition. If you need to connect to a PC running Home, one of the best remote access tools will help you out.

The first steps to set up Remote Desktop for Mac occur on your Windows computer.

On your Windows 10 machine, open the Start menu and go to Settings > System > Remote Desktop. Set Enable Remote Desktop to On, and click Confirm when prompted.

enable remote desktop on Windows 10

Your PC needs to be on and awake for you to connect remotely. You might therefore want to activate the Keep my PC awake option. To do this, click Show settings alongside it and set Sleep to Never. You should probably only do this if you need constant remote access to the computer. If you don’t, then allowing it to sleep is wise.

Next, scroll down to User accounts. By default, the account you’re logged into will automatically have remote access permissions. To allow other users to log in remotely, click Select users to add their usernames.

remote desktop settings keep awake

Get Your PC Name and IP Address

Finally, you need to grab a couple of pieces of info before you switch over to your Mac. On the same Remote Desktop menu, under How to connect to this PC, make a note of your PC name.

If the current name is generic and you’d like to make it something that’s easier to remember, switch to the About tab and click Rename this PC.

find pc name windows

Next, you need to find your computer’s IP address on your network. Go to Settings > Network & internet. Select Wi-Fi (or Ethernet if you using a wired connection), then click on the network you’re connected to.

This opens the network connection properties screen. Scroll to the bottom of the page and locate the IPv4 address in the list. Make a note of this number.

find ip address windows

Step 2: Install Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac

Now, switch to your Mac and install Microsoft Remote Desktop, available free in the Mac App Store. Microsoft also offers versions of the app for iOS and Android.

The instructions for those platforms are the same as the ones we use here.

Step 3: Add Your PC to Microsoft Remote Desktop

Launch the Remote Desktop client on your Mac. Click Add Desktop to begin.

In the dialog box that opens, type in the PC Name that you checked earlier. If you find that you’re unable to connect with this name, use the IP address you made note of instead.

add desktop mac

By default, User Account is set to Ask me every time. This means it will prompt you for a username and password each time you connect. If you don’t want this, click the dropdown list and select Add account.

Add your username in the format domain\[username]. You can add your password as well, for an automatic login. Leave it blank and you’ll get a prompt to enter it each time.

That’s all you need to do to set up a connection. Click Save and you can connect. However, you might want to adjust a few other settings before you go any further.

add windows user account mac

Step 4: Configure Your Remote Connection

Click Show More to change your settings. Here, you’re able to configure how your remote connection works:

  • In the General tab, add a Friendly Name to make a computer recognizable if you’ve got more than one connection set up.
  • Under the Display tab, click Fit session to window if you aren’t planning on using the remote connection in full screen mode. Also, set Optimize for Retina Displays if you’re working on a high-res monitor.
  • In the Sound tab, choose which computer should play sound (if either), and whether you want to be able to use your Mac’s microphone.

However, the most important option is Local Resources.

add local resources

This enables you to make certain folders on your Mac accessible within your remote Windows session. You can access these folders through the Windows File Explorer, where you’ll find them under This PC. You can work on files stored on your Mac in a Windows app, or copy files between the machines.

shared local resource

It’s all contained within the remote session, however. Sharing a folder in this way does not make the folder accessible on the physical Windows computer.

Click Save to finish setting up your connection.

Step 5: Connect!

You’re now ready to connect. Your PC must be turned on and awake, and connected to the same network as your Mac.

The Remote Desktop app will list your computer, with a thumbnail preview, under Saved Desktops. Double-click it to connect.

If you didn’t change the settings, you’ll need to enter your username and/or password now. Remember, the username must be in the format domain\[username]. Click OK.

Security Warning

certificate warning remote desktop mac

You’ll now see a security warning relating to an unverified certificate. If you’re at home, or working on a small business network, you can click Continue and ignore the message. If you’re on a large network with public access, be wary about doing this.

Once You’re Connected

When your Mac establishes the remote desktop connection, your Windows PC will lock and switch to the login screen. If anyone tries to use the PC, your remote session will end. You can’t have two people using the same computer at once.

Using Windows on Your Mac

windows remote desktop mac

Unless you changed the setting, your remote desktop session opens in full screen. To use it in a window instead, move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen and click the green window button at the top-left.

Using Windows through Remote Desktop is pretty much the same as using it on a dedicated computer. One of the few changes—and a possible point of confusion—is that the app maps the keyboard shortcuts for cut, copy, and paste to the ones used in macOS, using the Command key. However, some other shortcuts continue to use the Control key as they do in Windows.

You can launch apps, work on files, or even play games if you want to. There may be a little lag during heavy use, but most of the time it’s fast and responsive.

use windows apps with remote desktop

You can’t drag and drop files between Mac and Windows. They share the clipboard by default, though, so you can copy and paste between them instead.

For a greater level of file sharing, set up a shared folder using the Local Resources setting, as we outlined above.

Disconnecting and Deleting Your Desktop

To disconnect and end the session, simply close the Remote Desktop window on your Mac. You can edit your settings at any time by hovering your mouse over the thumbnail in Saved Desktop and clicking the Pen icon.

To delete a desktop, right-click on it and select Delete.

Remotely Access Your Computer From Anywhere

Microsoft Remote Desktop is an easy way to access Windows from a Mac. But what if you need to do it the other way around, or perhaps need to bring a Linux computer or a Chromebook into the mix?

The quickest solution here is to set up Chrome Remote Desktop, Google’s remote access tool that runs on any desktop computer that has Chrome installed. We’ve also shown how to remote access your Mac from any platform.

Read the full article: Microsoft Remote Desktop: How to Access Windows From Your Mac

How to Remote Access Your Mac

mac-remote

Did you know you can connect to your Mac remotely over a local network, or the wider internet? You don’t need expensive software like Apple Remote Desktop to do this, since so many great free options exist. You can use your Windows PC, iPhone or iPad, and even Android smartphone to perform remote tasks on a Mac at home or in the office. All you need is a solid network connection and the right tools. Remote Access Your Mac From Another Mac The easiest way to access your Mac remotely is from another Mac via the wonders of iCloud. This…

Read the full article: How to Remote Access Your Mac

mac-remote

Did you know you can connect to your Mac remotely over a local network, or the wider internet? You don’t need expensive software like Apple Remote Desktop to do this, since so many great free options exist.

You can use your Windows PC, iPhone or iPad, and even Android smartphone to perform remote tasks on a Mac at home or in the office. All you need is a solid network connection and the right tools.

Remote Access Your Mac From Another Mac

The easiest way to access your Mac remotely is from another Mac via the wonders of iCloud. This also works great over a local network, which is ideal if you’re using an old Mac as a fileserver and don’t have it connected to a monitor.

The feature is called Back to My Mac, which uses your Apple ID to tie all your Mac hardware together. You don’t even need to be logged in, provided the computer is powered on.

To set up Back to My Mac and make your computers accessible:

  1. Head to System Preferences > iCloud and make sure you’re logged in with your Apple ID.
  2. In the same menu, enable Back to My Mac toward the bottom of the list.
  3. Head to System Preferences > Sharing and make sure Screen Sharing is checked.

macOS Sharing Preferences

Do this for every Apple computer in your house, at your office, or anywhere else you’d like to remotely connect to. In order to connect from another Mac:

  1. Make sure you’re logged into the same Apple ID under System Preferences > iCloud.
  2. Open a Finder window and look in the sidebar for the Shared section.
  3. Click on the Mac you want to connect to, then click Share Screen in the top-right corner of the window.

Back to My Mac

You’ll then connect to your Mac either over the local network or via the internet. If you can’t see the sidebar, click View > Show Sidebar in Finder. And if you can’t see the Shared section, head to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar and enable Back to My Mac under Shared.

Remote Access Your Mac From a Windows PC

The easiest way to remotely access your Mac from a Windows PC is using an app like TeamViewer. While TeamViewer is the choice we recommend using, you have many screen sharing and remote access tools to choose from.

TeamViewer has many benefits: it’s free for personal use, available on many different platforms, and generally has excellent performance. Ultimately, performance of any remote access solution will hinge on the speed of your internet connection and the distance between the two computers.

To make your Mac accessible via TeamViewer:

  1. Sign up for a TeamViewer account, then download and install TeamViewer for Mac.
  2. Run the app and log into your TeamViewer account.
  3. Look for the Unattended Access heading and click each of the three checks in order to make your Mac available even when you’re not using it.

TeamViewer Mac

In order to connect to your Mac from a Windows PC, download and install TeamViewer for Windows. Log in and look for your Mac under the My computers section. Double-click on your Mac and wait. You should soon see your Mac screen in a window on your PC desktop, with full control.

The first time you log in to TeamViewer on your Windows PC, you’ll need to verify it by clicking a link in your email.

Remote Access Your Mac From an iPhone, iPad, or Android Device

Remotely accessing your Mac from a mobile device running iOS (iPhone, iPad) or Android is also possible using TeamViewer. The most important step is making your Mac available while unattended, so you can gain access whenever you want.

In order to do this, make sure you’ve run through the first part of the Windows tutorial above. Once you’ve installed TeamViewer on your Mac, logged in, and set it up to receive incoming connections, grab the mobile app of your choice.

Either download the iOS TeamViewer app from the App Store, or the Android TeamViewer app from Google Play. Just like on Windows, the first time you log into your TeamViewer account on a mobile device, you’ll need to verify it by following a link in your email.

Download the TeamViewer mobile app, log in and verify your device, then select your Mac from the list of computers. Tap Remote Control to connect to your computer and control it remotely.

Can You Remote Control an iPhone?

So you can remote control your Mac from pretty much any device, but what about your iPhone? The short answer is no. Apple doesn’t allow you to install system-level software that would allow for remote control. Apple may argue it’s a security feature, but it’s also a symptom of the tightly controlled iOS ecosystem.

However, if you jailbreak your iPhone, you can remote it. Jailbreaking provides you with the system-level access required to install deep tweaks to iOS. It opens your iPhone up to all sorts of potential security threats, and it voids your warranty. Thus, you probably shouldn’t jailbreak your iPhone.

There are a few tasks you can do without jailbreaking your iPhone, like sending SMS messages and making phone calls via your Mac. You can also access your iOS Safari tabs from Safari for Mac, but none of these are true remote control. With that in mind, we’ve got a tutorial detailing how to remote control your jailbroken iPhone from any device.

Veency for iPhone

Use Your Mac, Wherever You Are

Back to My Mac is the easiest way to get access to your Mac, but it requires another Mac to use. If you have a Windows PC or mobile device that you want to use instead, you’ll have to resort to TeamViewer. Thankfully, you can set up both of these solutions and use them at a later time.

Remote access is great, but if you want to make your Mac even smarter, you should check out Automator.

Read the full article: How to Remote Access Your Mac

How to Use Screen Sharing on a Mac

share-mac-screen

Getting support for a computer issue is much easier when you can share your screen. Compared to describing your issue over the phone, the difference is night and day. Your Mac already comes with the software required to make this happen between two users on Apple computers. You can also share your screens across your own Macs, thanks to iCloud. And if you happen to need support from someone running Windows or Linux, we’ve got that covered too. Use iMessage for Screen Sharing on a Mac The easiest way to share your screen, or request to view another user’s screen,…

Read the full article: How to Use Screen Sharing on a Mac

share-mac-screen

Getting support for a computer issue is much easier when you can share your screen. Compared to describing your issue over the phone, the difference is night and day.

Your Mac already comes with the software required to make this happen between two users on Apple computers. You can also share your screens across your own Macs, thanks to iCloud.

And if you happen to need support from someone running Windows or Linux, we’ve got that covered too.

Use iMessage for Screen Sharing on a Mac

The easiest way to share your screen, or request to view another user’s screen, is to use Apple’s iMessage chat. Through the Messages app on macOS, you can share your screen with another party provided they are using a Mac and are signed into iMessage with an Apple ID.

iMessage Screen Sharing on Mac

While sharing your screen, the other party will have the opportunity to control your computer by requesting access. This requires you explicitly provide permission via a popup dialog box. You should never relinquish control of your Mac to someone you do not know or trust absolutely.

To get started, launch the Messages app and make sure you’re logged in to your Apple ID under Messages > Preferences. To share, or request a screen share:

  1. Start a new chat with the person you want to share with.
  2. Click Details next to their name in the top-right corner of the window.
  3. Click the screen sharing button (it looks like two overlapping rectangles).
  4. Choose Invite to share my screen to share your own screen, or Ask to share screen to request to see the other person’s screen.

The other party will need to agree to your request. Once they’ve confirmed it, a FaceTime audio call will begin alongside screen sharing. You can then chat with the other party and discuss the problem (or whatever it is you’re sharing).

You can allow the other party to control your screen via the screen sharing app icon in the menu bar. Look in the top-right corner of your Mac’s screen for the two overlapping rectangles. Click it, then choose Allow [contact] to control my screen.

Screen Sharing macOS

To undo your decision but still keep screen sharing active, click the screen sharing menu bar icon again and uncheck this option. We’ve covered more on sharing your Mac’s screen via FaceTime if you need additional info.

Access Other Apple Computers With Back to My Mac

You might also want to share a screen with yourself. This is particularly handy if you have more than one Mac in your house, or if you’re at work and you need to access something on a home computer.

This feature uses an iCloud tool called Back to My Mac. You’ll need to enable the feature on any computers you want to access and control before you can use it. Here’s how you set up Back to My Mac on a computer you want to control:

  1. Make sure you’re logged in to iCloud under System Preferences > iCloud.
  2. On the same screen, make sure Back to My Mac is enabled by checking it in the list of iCloud services.
  3. Now head to System Preferences > Sharing and enable Screen Sharing.

macOS Sharing Preferences

Any computer you wish to access must be powered on, but not necessarily logged in. You can log in with Back to My Mac as if you were using the computer directly.

To access a computer you have set up with Back to My Mac, launch Finder and look for the computer in the sidebar under the Shared heading.

If you’ve disabled the Finder sidebar, use View > Show Sidebar to enable it. If you can’t see the Shared section, head to Finder > Preferences. Click Sidebar and enable Back to My Mac under the Shared heading.

Back to My Mac

Once your computer appears in the Finder sidebar, click on it. You should now see the Share Screen button at the top of the window. Click on this and wait.

You’ll soon see your computer’s screen show up in a new window on your desktop. As soon as the connection establishes, you can control this computer.

Mac Screen Sharing With Third-Party Apps

If you want to share your screen with someone who doesn’t use iMessage or someone who hasn’t got a Mac, you’ll need to rely on third-party apps to do so. Check out our roundup of easy screen sharing and remote access tools for a comprehensive list.

By far one of the easiest third-party tools to use is TeamViewer. You don’t need an account to use it—just download the Team Viewer remote control app to get started. This is all you need to receive support or offer support to others using the service.

TeamViewer on Mac

Once you’ve got the remote control application, you’ll have a user ID and a password. Give your user ID and password to someone else and they’ll be able to view your screen and control your Mac. The usual advice rings true as always: be careful who you trust!

Get Support and Work Remotely on a Mac

The easiest way to get help with a Mac computer problem is to use iMessage and its built-in Screen Sharing function. For working remotely, enable Back to My Mac on your home or work computers and get access whenever you need it, no matter where you are.

And if you’re really stuck, you can always get computer support from a Windows user via TeamViewer. If you can’t get anyone to take a look at your computer, consider consulting the web’s best support forums and websites to enlist the help of a complete stranger.

Read the full article: How to Use Screen Sharing on a Mac

How to Remotely Control Your Computer From Your Phone

remote-control-pc

Need to connect to your home PC from an Android device? If the PC is running Windows, you’ve got a couple of good options to make this happen. But no matter what mobile or desktop OS you use, remote access is possible. In just a few moments, you can have remote access to your home PC from the comfort of your phone or tablet, from anywhere in the world. We’ll show you how. What Is Remote Desktop? Remote desktop is a means to remotely control another computer. Several variations on the idea are available, using either proprietary software or one…

Read the full article: How to Remotely Control Your Computer From Your Phone

remote-control-pc

Need to connect to your home PC from an Android device? If the PC is running Windows, you’ve got a couple of good options to make this happen. But no matter what mobile or desktop OS you use, remote access is possible.

In just a few moments, you can have remote access to your home PC from the comfort of your phone or tablet, from anywhere in the world. We’ll show you how.

What Is Remote Desktop?

Remote desktop is a means to remotely control another computer. Several variations on the idea are available, using either proprietary software or one of two mainstream technologies:

  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP): Created by Microsoft, this requires client and server software on the home and remote computers. Clients are available for most operating systems, and the server software is built into Windows 10. RDP server software for Linux is also available.
  • Virtual Network Computing (VNC): Relying on the Remote Framebuffer (RFB) protocol, VNC works with Windows, macOS, and Linux desktop environments that use the X Window System.

Other popular technologies that you might have used include ICA (Independent Computing Architecture, developed by Citrix), HP Remote Graphics Software, or even SSH with X11 forwarding if you require remote access to a Linux desktop.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of a remote desktop connection, however, the engineer might have used TeamViewer or LogMeIn, or any number of other services. These will typically use a proprietary technology (one developed purely by or for that service) or one of those mentioned above.

But it isn’t just PC-to-PC connections you can set up. It’s even possible to remotely control your PC using the Android device in your pocket.

Reasons to Remote Desktop Between Phone and PC

I first used remote software from a mobile device to my PC back in 2006, using a Windows Mobile phone to access my computer over mobile internet. In those days, it was less about productivity and more about the novelty factor.

But why might you want to remotely control your PC from your phone? It could be any number of reasons:

  • Grabbing an email or attachment that was sent to the wrong address
  • Accessing a forgotten file (perhaps to email it to yourself, or sync to your cloud storage)
  • Enable a media server, such as Plex
  • Playing a PC-only video game
  • Update software
  • Help a loved one with some remote technical assistance
  • Switch off or reboot your PC

Whatever your use case, using remote desktop software between Android and a PC is simple enough that anyone can do it.

Set Up Remote Desktop on the Same Network

Just want to easily access your PC from the comfort of your bed or sun lounger? You’ll need a computer with RDP or a VNC server installed.

Remotely Control Your PC With Android Using RDP

RDP server software is part of Windows 10 and is also available for Linux (using xrdp). You’ll also find xrdp for macOS.

If you use Windows, you can use Remote Desktop to control Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. This also applies to Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise and Pro, and Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise. However, you can’t access Home editions (such as Windows 10 Home) using the RDP method.

To install an X-compatible RDP server on a Linux PC, open the Terminal and enter:

sudo apt install xrdp

You can install xrdp on macOS, but it requires a lot of work. The xrdp GitHub page will guide you.

Once you’re confident that RDP is running on your PC, you’ll be able to use the free Microsoft RDP app for Android (there’s also an iOS version) to connect.

Using the mobile app, tap the Plus symbol to start a new connection. Input the IP address or hostname of your computer in the PC name field. (Here’s how to check your IP address.) Add your PC’s username and password, set a Friendly name, then tap Save.

Just tap the icon for the connection to commence. Moments later, you’ll be remotely controlling your PC from your phone!

Remote Connections Between Android and PC Using VNC

Meanwhile, VNC server software is also readily available for Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions.

In fact, if you don’t have Windows 10 or macOS, VNC is the ideal solution as it has no restrictions. You can choose from various VNC server and client software packages; RealVNC is arguably the most popular.

VNC Connect from RealVNC is the VNC server software you’ll need. It’s available for Windows, macOS, and various Linux distros. You’ll even find a version for the Raspberry Pi.

Once downloaded and installed, you’ll need the VNC Viewer app for Android. There’s also a version for iOS if you need it.

Installing VNC Connect requires creating (with email confirmation) or signing into an existing account. When prompted, select Home subscription (which allows up to five computers), then create a password for remote access to your computer. Click Done when finished, then check the VNC Server window.

VNC Server on Windows 10

Here, you’ll find details, such as the computer name, and some security details. The Identity check section lists some details you’ll need to match with the client software if prompted. There’s also a Change password button should you need to set a new password.

When you’re ready to remote connect to your PC, open the VNC Viewer app on your phone and sign in with the account credentials. Note that you’ll need to verify this action, so check your email inbox again.

Once confirmed, the app will display the laptop you set up, so tap this to commence the remote connection. On this occasion, you’ll be prompted to match the catchphrase and signature from the Identity Check section in the VNC Server window on your computer, with an option to Warn me every time you connect.

You’ll need to do this quickly, as the connection will time out if you don’t confirm with the Continue button right away.

Enter the password to establish the connection. The app will display some control details (finger-based gestures), but once you’ve familiarized yourself with this, you can exit and start remote controlling your PC.

To end the connection, tap the X button in the top-right corner, or close the app in the usual way.

VNC remote control session in progress

How to Connect to Your PC Across the Internet

Looking for a solution that you can use from outside your home network? While RDP and VNC both work beyond your network, it’s unlikely that you pay for a static IP address from your internet provider.

Instead of worrying about setting up a personal VPN and forwarding router ports to your PC, a smarter solution is employing a third-party service to connect remotely to your computer from your smartphone.

Android users can enjoy apps from TeamViewer, Splashtop, LogMeIn, GoToMyPC, and various other remote services that work with a desktop PC.

You’ve possibly seen these in action at work, when tech support uses remote software to fix problems on your computer. The beauty of these tools is that they’re easy to set up.

Simply install the remote server software on your computer, download the client app on your phone, and initiate a remote connection. Note that you may need to configure a few settings to automatically accept those connections.

Remote Control a PC With Chrome Remote Desktop

Use Chrome Remote Desktop to control your PC remotely on Android or iOS

With the Chrome Remote Desktop browser extension for Google Chrome on your PC, and the companion app installed on your Android phone (or iOS device) you have another option for remote connection beyond your home network.

Using a PIN-based authentication system, you can remote control your PC if it’s running Google Chrome. It’s also possible to use this method from other computers, as long as the Chrome Remote Desktop app is installed.

Our guide to using Chrome Remote Desktop features full steps for setup and using it with Android and iOS.

How to Remotely Control Your PC With Your Phone

These two methods of connecting to a Windows PC from an Android device let you maximize your productivity.

It’s ideal for getting hold of a missing file, enabling media server software on your PC, and much more. Better still, this works whether you’re on the same network (using RDP or VNC) or you’re in a completely different location (thanks to specialist remote access software).

Whatever your reasons for wanting remote access to your PC, be sure to use a secure internet connection. If this isn’t possible, consider using a VPN to keep your connection protected. Our recommended option is ExpressVPN, which is available for a 49% discount to MakeUseOf readers using this link.

Read the full article: How to Remotely Control Your Computer From Your Phone

How to Run Linux on Android Devices

linux-android

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably used Linux before, and know that works on almost any piece of hardware. Meanwhile, you’ve got a phone in your pocket, and you know it’s versatile. So can your Android phone run Linux? Yes, it can. Here’s what you need to know about running Linux on your Android smartphone or tablet. Wait, Isn’t Android Already Linux? Well, it is… and it isn’t. Android is built upon the Linux kernel, a software stack that interfaces with the hardware of a device. It basically enables an operating system to communicate with the device, whether that be…

Read the full article: How to Run Linux on Android Devices

linux-android

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably used Linux before, and know that works on almost any piece of hardware. Meanwhile, you’ve got a phone in your pocket, and you know it’s versatile. So can your Android phone run Linux?

Yes, it can. Here’s what you need to know about running Linux on your Android smartphone or tablet.

Wait, Isn’t Android Already Linux?

Well, it is… and it isn’t.

Android is built upon the Linux kernel, a software stack that interfaces with the hardware of a device. It basically enables an operating system to communicate with the device, whether that be a PC, a smartphone, or other hardware.

The Linux operating system should really be referred to as GNU/Linux. But over time, the word “Linux” has come to interchangeably describe the kernel as well as the various operating systems that use it, such as Ubuntu, Gentoo, and many others.

So while Android uses the Linux kernel, it doesn’t offer a desktop environment. This is what most people are thinking about when considering ways to install Linux on Android.

Why Run Linux on Your Android Device?

So why might you want a Linux desktop environment on your Android phone or tablet?

You may want to run an app that isn’t available on Android. But in most cases, you’ll simply want to gain access to some sort of desktop environment. Current Android devices have ideal hardware for a PC-like experience, and installing Linux is a great way to enable this.

Of course, you may find that the tasks you want to perform in Linux also work in Android. The only hurdle holding you back might be simultaneous app multitasking. Fortunately, this is a feature that is available in Android since 2016’s Android 7.0 Nougat.

Getting Linux running on your Android device isn’t easy, so if it’s multitasking you’re looking for, try upgrading to a modern version of Android instead.

To run Linux on Android, you have several choices. Which to use is determined by whether your Android device is rooted or not.

How to Run Linux on Android (Without Root)

The best way to get Linux running on your phone with minimum fuss is with Debian Noroot.

While useful, unfortunately this app is no longer maintained. It only runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread to Android 5.0 Jellybean.

The benefit of Debian Noroot is that it will install Debian Jessie on your phone with a compatibility layer. This allows you to run Debian apps without having to root Android. Given how difficult rooting can be for some devices, this is useful.

Performance with Debian Noroot is not great, but it’s usable. For the best results running Linux on Android, consider rooting your device first.

Download: Debian Noroot (Free)

How to Run Linux on Android (With Root)

If you have a rooted device (here’s how to root Android), you can install various versions of Linux on Android using the Linux Deploy tool. This is best done by first connecting your phone to a Wi-Fi network.

Start off by installing BusyBox, which provides some enhanced root capabilities.

Next, install Linux Deploy. When you run it for the first time, tap Start to ensure the root permissions are enabled, then tap the Settings button in the bottom-right corner.

Use this options menu to select your preferred Distribution. Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora, and many more are available to install. We used Arch Linux.

You’ll need to check the Enable box under GUI to view a Linux desktop on your phone, and ensure that VNC is selected for the Graphics subsystem. Next, check the screen resolution under GUI settings, and check you’re happy with the Desktop environment.

Finally, find the User name and User password entries, and either make a note of them, or change them to something more memorable for you.

Back out of this menu, then tap the three dots in the upper-right corner and select Install, then OK.

When this is done, install VNC Viewer from the Play Store. In Linux Deploy, tap Start to run Linux. Then open VNC Viewer, and connect to localhost:5900 to view your Linux desktop with the credentials you entered earlier.

Once up and running, you can install Linux software using the terminal in the usual manner.

Congratulations: you now have Linux running on Android!

ArchLinux running on Android

How to Install Kali Linux on Android (Root Required)

The Linux Deploy method above for running Linux distros on Android is probably the best one you’ll find. A good choice of Linux versions is available, including Kali Linux.

Fancy using Android as a penetration testing device? While various useful Android networking tools are available, the best option is a portable version of Kali Linux. Simply follow the instructions above using Linux Deploy, and select Kali Linux to install on Android.

Once installed, you’ll have a portable pen-testing solution in your pocket, ready to check the safety of any network your phone connects to.

4 Other Ways to Run Linux on Android

Desktop mode on Samsung Galaxy devices with DeX

While we’ve covered a few good options to run Linux on your Android device, you have some other methods available too:

  1. DeX: If you own a modern Samsung device, you have the option of switching your hardware to desktop mode with DeX. While not exactly a Linux operating system, this is a desktop environment with a Linux kernel, so it’s close enough.
  2. Remote Desktop to a system running Linux with Splashtop or another Android-to-Linux remote solution.
  3. Limbo: This is a Linux emulator for Android, based on the QEMU emulator. However, it is difficult and time-consuming to set up, and the results are often not worth the effort.
  4. Dual boot Android with Ubuntu Touch. Connect the device to an HDMI display to see the Ubuntu Touch desktop environment.

Or Just Install a Custom Android ROM Instead

Not sure installing Linux is such a good idea, but want to change the way you use your Android device? You could simply try a different version of Android with a built-in desktop. We’ve looked at Maru OS, which you can install on some devices as a custom ROM. This comes with a standard phone mode and a desktop mode, with good results.

However, another Android ROM may prove more useful to you. Need help? Read more about how to install a custom ROM on Android.

Read the full article: How to Run Linux on Android Devices

How to Remote Connect to a Windows PC From a Raspberry Pi

connect-remote-raspi-windows

Working hard on your Raspberry Pi but need to access your Windows computer? But wait, it’s at the other end of your house, or even upstairs… It isn’t convenient to stop and switch to the main PC. Wouldn’t it be great if you could access your PC while staying where you are? Well, you can! Just remote connect to your Windows PC from your Raspberry Pi instead. Note: If instead you’re looking to remotely control your Raspberry Pi from a PC, you should check our guide to SSH, VNC, and RDP with Raspberry Pi.) How to Remote Connect From Raspbian…

Read the full article: How to Remote Connect to a Windows PC From a Raspberry Pi

Working hard on your Raspberry Pi but need to access your Windows computer? But wait, it’s at the other end of your house, or even upstairs…

It isn’t convenient to stop and switch to the main PC. Wouldn’t it be great if you could access your PC while staying where you are? Well, you can! Just remote connect to your Windows PC from your Raspberry Pi instead.

Note: If instead you’re looking to remotely control your Raspberry Pi from a PC, you should check our guide to SSH, VNC, and RDP with Raspberry Pi.)

How to Remote Connect From Raspbian to Windows

Perhaps you need to check an email, or some other application that you can only access on your PC. Whatever the case, you’ll need to configure a remote connection from your Raspberry Pi.

While straightforward to do, the steps seem to be shrouded in mystery. We’ll clear it up for you. Here’s an overview:

  1. Configure windows to accept remote connections
  2. Find the IP address of your Windows PC
  3. Install Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) software on Raspbian
  4. Install a remote desktop app on Raspbian
  5. Connect to your PC via your Raspberry Pi

In just five steps you can set up a remote desktop connection from your Raspberry Pi to your PC.

Step 1: Configure Windows for Remote Connections

The first step is to ensure Windows can accept incoming remote connections using the RDP protocol. To ensure this, you’ll need to enable the Remote Assistance setting.

Open Windows Explorer, then find This PC. Right-click, then select Properties; in the System window, find Remote settings.

Enable Remote Assistance in Windows 10

Here, you’ll find the Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer checkbox. Click to add a check, then Apply to confirm. Note that there is an Advanced button, which you should also click. Check the Allow this computer to be controlled remotely box, then OK.

Click OK to close the Properties box, then exit the System window.

Step 2: Find the Windows Device IP Address

Next, you need to find the IP address of your Windows computer. You have several options here.

Perhaps the easiest is to ask. Right-click the Start button and select Windows PowerShell. When the blue command line window opens, enter

ipconfig

Check the list for your current connection; Wi-Fi will be listed as a Wireless LAN Adapter, whereas Ethernet will be listed as such.

If this is too complicated, the alternative is to access your router through your web browser. You’ll need to check the router documentation for how to do this, but once connected it’s possible to see a list of devices connected to your home network.

Look for the hostname of your PC (via the System window that you opened earlier to enable Remote Assistance) and you’ll find the IP address. It will typically be in the format 192.168.0.x or 192.168.1.x.

When you’ve found the IP address, jot it down for later.

Step 3: Install RDP Software on Raspberry Pi

It’s time to turn your attention to your Raspberry Pi. With the little computer booted up (presumably with a keyboard and mouse attached) and connected to your local network, open the Terminal and update Raspbian:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Enter these commands in turn, and follow any prompts that are displayed. When done, your Raspbian system will be up-to-date. Once complete, restart the Pi with:

sudo reboot

When the little computer reboots, start a new Terminal session. This time, install xrdp with:

sudo apt install xrdp

Once again, follow the prompts until the software is installed.

Step 4: Find and Install a Remote Desktop App

Several remote desktop tools are available for Linux distributions. These can handle one or many of the various protocols that can be used to remote control another machine.

However, the best option—certainly for the Raspberry Pi—is probably Remmina, which supports RDP, VNC, SPICE, NX, XDMCP, SSH and EXEC.

To install Remmina, return to the Terminal and enter:

sudo apt install remmina

Follow the prompts, and wait for completion. You can find out more about Remmina at remmina.org.

Step 5: Connect to Your PC With Remmina

You’re about ready to start accessing your Windows PC remotely from your Raspberry Pi. To do this, open Remmina via the single Terminal command:

remmina

You might even launch it from the Internet menu.

Open the Remmina remote desktop software

A new window will appear, so find the space to enter the IP address, ensuring that RDP is selected as the protocol.

Connect to your Windows PC with Remmina

When you’re ready, click Connect, and wait as the connection is established. A few moments later, you’ll be accessing your Windows desktop from within Raspbian (or whatever your chosen Raspberry Pi operating system might be).

Tweaks to the connection (including adjusting quality) can be made via the Edit > Preferences window.

Remote Control a Windows PC With Raspberry Pi

Remote control your Windows PC using Raspbian

With your Windows 10 computer now accessible from your Raspberry Pi, any number of options are available. You might check emails, or access the PowerShell command line remotely. You might need to access game settings if you’re managing a game server on your Raspberry Pi.

Basically, any task that requires your presence in two places can be completed. However, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to attempt play video games on your PC via your Raspberry Pi in this way. The frame rate will prove a problem. (If you want to do that, try streaming from PC to TV via Raspberry Pi.)

Meanwhile, it’s also possible to remote connect from Windows to other Linux computers.

Read the full article: How to Remote Connect to a Windows PC From a Raspberry Pi