Many people use a Windows PC and Android phone throughout the day. Making these two platforms work together is important, which is where Microsoft Phone Link—formerly known as “Your Phone”—comes in. We’ll explain why you should use it.
What Can Phone Link Do?
Microsoft Phone Link is part of a two-pronged approach to connecting your Windows 11 or 10 PC to an Android device. “Phone Link” is the Windows app, while “Link to Windows” is the companion Android app. They talk to each other over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The feature that most people are probably interested in when it comes to Phone Link is syncing notifications. Once connected, notifications from your Android device will appear on your Windows PC.
Notifications from your phone appear in the Notification Center like any other Windows notification. In some cases, you can take action on the notification without touching your phone. When you dismiss a notification in Phone Link, it’s dismissed on your phone as well.
The second big feature is the ability to receive and reply to text messages on your Windows PC. This works essentially the same as notification syncing. The main difference is messages live in their own tab and you can see full conversation histories from the Phone Link app.
It’s not just about replying to messages that come in, either. You can begin new conversations from the Phone Link app. Phone Link knows the contacts from your phone, so you can find a specific person or enter a phone number.
The next tab in the Phone Link app is for photos. Here’s where you can see photos from your Android device. More importantly, you can easily save them to your Windows PC and even simply drag and drop them into other Windows apps.
Since the Phone Link app connects to your phone over Bluetooth, your Windows PC can essentially act as a Bluetooth headset. This makes it possible to make and receive calls from Windows when your Android device is connected.
As with the messaging feature, you can see your call log and make calls by searching through your contacts or entering a phone number manually.
You can control media that’s playing on your connected Android device from the Phone Link app. This is handy if you’re casting music from your phone and you want easy-access controls or maybe your Bluetooth headphones are connected to your phone.
This last feature was in beta and only available on select Samsung Galaxy devices at the time of writing in April 2022. App Mirroring makes it possible to wirelessly mirror apps from your phone on your Windows PC.
Windows 11 has support for Android apps, but this is different. App Mirroring displays your phone’s screen on your PC, but it’s more than just “mirroring.” You can actually interact and control the app from Windows. It can be used to mirror your entire display or open specific apps directly.
Samsung Galaxy devices that support this feature don’t use the typical “Link to Windows” companion app. Instead, it’s integrated more deeply into the operating system and can be turned on or off from a Quick Settings toggle.
The Artist Formerly Known as “Your Phone”
Microsoft Phone Link was originally branded as “Your Phone.” It was released in October 2018 as part of Windows 10’s October 2018 Update. The Your Phone app was a replacement for the underutilized “Phone Companion” app.
At launch, the Your Phone app supported syncing text messages between Windows and Android—including the ability to send messages from your PC. It also synced photos from your Android device and showed notifications from your phone on the PC.
That was the basic feature set for a while, but Microsoft added a few more goodies over the years. In March 2022, Microsoft rebranded the Your Phone app to “Phone Link” and the Android companion app to “Link to Windows.”
Your Modern Windows PC Already Has It
Phone Link may only work with Android devices, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from pre-installing it on all Windows 11 and Windows 10 PCs. If you want to use Phone Link, it’s already on your computer. Check the Microsoft Store listing for updates.
That’s one of the big advantages of Phone Link. There are plenty of third-party services that have brought similar functionality to both Windows and Android. Phone Link is already installed and it’s better integrated than any third-party app can be.
The only thing you need to do to get started is to download the Link to Windows app from the Play Store. If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, you don’t even need to do that. After you’ve got both apps installed and updated, check out our full walkthrough on getting it set up. This is a great feature to use if you live in Windows and Android.
Originally posted 2022-11-11 13:23:11.