Access key features on your Android phone from your Windows PC using Your Phone app for PC and Your Phone Companion for Android. Make calls, send texts, see notifications, browse photos.
Apple fans often point to the brilliant way that their devices work together, like a Mac and an iPhone, and that this offers a superior experience. However, a Windows PC and Android phone can work together in a similar way and you can access many phone features and functions from a PC just as easily.
There is no need to get your phone out of your pocket when you sit at your computer and notifications can be seen on the PC as they appear on your phone. You can see incoming text messages and reply to them or create new text messages on the PC.
You can even make phone calls from your PC without even touching your phone. Phone contacts can be browsed and you can view a contact and then message them or place a call. The photos stored on a phone can be browsed, copied, deleted, edited and shared. How is this all possible? With a Microsoft app on the computer and the Android phone.
Install and set up Your Phone Companion
If you have not yet linked your Windows PC and Android phone, you should try it, it is pretty good and there are many benefits. There are many Android phones and many versions of Android in use and while it worked perfectly on mine and most other people’s, there may be some that it is not compatible with. Try it and see.
Look for the Your Phone app at the bottom of the Start menu on your Windows PC. If it is not there, open the Store app, search for it and install it. It is by Microsoft, so ignore any similarly named apps.
Look for Your Phone Companion app on your Android phone. It may already be installed because it is bundled with some types of phone. If it is not there, open the Google Play Store app on your Android phone and search for Your Phone Companion by Microsoft Corporation. Install it.
Make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled on both the PC and phone and then start the two apps. You are guided through the process of connecting the phone and computer and it is straightforward, if a bit tedious. A QR code appears on the computer screen and you simply point the phone at it. They instantly connect. That is just the start of the process though.
Security and privacy are big deals these days and you must give permission for all the activities and functions of both apps, mostly the phone app though. There are a lot of permissions and the first 15 minutes or so with the apps was spent enabling various permissions. The PC app is actually quite clever and it would say you need a particular permission on the phone and then the appropriate page in the phone’s Settings app would automatically appear on the phone’s screen, once you have given it permission to access the Settings app.
You may use multiple computers, such as one at work and one at home, or a desktop and a laptop. Multiple computers can be added by going to the Your Phone Companion settings on the phone. The QR code method of adding a computer worked perfectly for the first one, but didn’t work for the second one. However, there are alternative methods and a PIN can be generated on one device and entered into the other. That worked for my second PC.
Send texts from your computer
Your Phone app on the PC mirrors the text messaging app on your Android phone. It lists all the message conversations and selecting one shows the messages sent and received. You can simply select a conversation and type a message to continue chatting. You can also create a new text message conversation by creating a new message and choosing a person from your contacts or by entering a telephone number.
Emoji, animated GIFs and photos can be sent using messages, but you do need to be aware that sending pictures and other things may cost you money. This is nothing to do with the app and the charges depend on your phone contract. SMS texts are free on phone contracts, but MMS, used when images and other media are sent, are usually not free. Check your phone contract.
Browse and edit phone photos
Your Phone on the PC enables you to browse the photos on an Android phone. Thumbnails of the images are displayed in a scrolling grid and clicking an image opens a larger version. The photo can be opened in the Windows Photos app on the PC, copied to the PC’s clipboard, shared to any of the Windows share options, like Mail, OneNote and others. The image can also be deleted from the phone.
It works well enough, but photos are easily viewed and managed on the phone. It could be useful if you need to copy a photo or two from the phone to the PC or if you want to edit a photo. However, I prefer to sync photos with a PC using the OneDrive app on the phone and then view and edit them on the PC in the OneDrive Pictures folder.
Make calls from the computer
Phone calls can be made and received on the PC using the Your Phone app. It lists your call history and clicking a person enables you to call them or send a text message. A number pad enables you to dial any number and you can also search your contacts. Just type a few letters and it shows matching contacts from your phone. You can browse contacts in another part of Your Phone too.
With the large number of phones and versions of Android, this might not work for everyone. It worked for me and my Samsung phone without any problems.
Extra phone functions
Being able to see phone notifications on the computer without having to touch your phone or get it out of your pocket is very useful. Not all notifications are useful, so you can choose which ones you see. It also saves time and effort seeing them on the screen too.
Your Phone on the PC shows the phone’s Wi-Fi, mobile signal and battery levels. Bluetooth and the speaker can be turned on or off from the app. Notifications are shown as they appear on the phone and can be cleared from the app and phone. All these functions are useful and save having to take your phone out of your pocket.
I could not see music playing in Spotify on the phone, but I could see and control music playing in the Samsung Music app. It shows the track title and there are play/pause, next and previous track buttons so you can control the playback and skip tracks.
A lot of people stream music these days rather than play it from the phone with the phone’s music player app. It does not control streamed music, which is a bit disappointing.
You should be able to share a URL in a browser on the phone and then access it on the computer. Your Phone Companion on the phone did not appear as a share option in Chrome though. It may be my phone and this feature may work for you. Maybe it would work with Edge browser on the phone.
Is Your Phone useful?
It is not an essential app, but some people could find it useful and it is free. Your Android phone can be left in your pocket and the computer can then be used for text messaging and calls. If you need a photo on your PC, you can browse the phone’s gallery and copy it to use on the computer without having to use transfer software or USB cables. You can quickly check the phone battery level, silence the phone, and see and dismiss phone notifications.