Control your computer with your phone

Have you ever found yourself searching for a file in class or a work meeting, only to realize what you need on your home computer? That problem can feel insurmountable, especially during a time crisis.

You may be able to get someone else to find it and send it to you, or if you are a computer expert you may know a complicated method of retrieving it. But there has to be an easier, safer way. After all, choosing the wrong remote desktop app can spell disaster (and hard-to-remove ransomware).

The reality is that there are countless reasons why you should be able to access your desktop if you are not in front of it. You may have files stored on the hard drive instead of the cloud, or you need access to a media file that is not stored elsewhere. There are ways to safely access and control your computer from your phone – you just need to know what they are and how to use them.

Chrome Remote Desktop

Google Chrome Remote Desktop is one of the options to access and control your computer remotely. This free service makes it easy to access what you need on your computer from your phone.

You just need to add the Remote Desktop extension to your computer to make it accessible from another device, and all Remote Desktop sessions are fully encrypted.

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You can use Google Chrome Remote Desktop if you need to sign in to your personal or work computer from another location, and you can also use it to sign in to someone else’s computer. This can be a useful tool if you are the computer genius of the family and need to solve a problem plaguing someone else.

You can use the Chrome browser and the Remote Desktop extension to get started. And you can download the Chrome Remote Desktop app for: iOS or android

To set up Remote Desktop on your computer:

Before using Remote Desktop, you must add the extension to your computer to allow access from your other devices.

Open Chrome. Type in the address bar the download button that looks like a down arrow under Set up remote access. Follow the onscreen instructions to download and install Chrome Remote Desktop.

To access a computer remotely:

Open Chrome on the secondary device you are using to access your computer. Type in the address bar Access to select which computer you want.Enter the PIN needed to access another computer.Select the arrow to connect.Close your tab or go to Options > Disconnect to end your remote session to stop when you are done.

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Microsoft Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop works the same way as Chrome Remote Access. If you need to access another computer from a remote location, Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection utility gives you the ability to do that.

You can use this service to grab a file, open an app, or do anything else you need to do. This service also gives you access to multiple computers over the same network and works with VPNs.

This service is built into Microsoft Office. You can also access and control a computer from a non-Windows device if you download the RDC app from Microsoft. The app is available for: maciOSand android

Set up remote desktop:

Make sure you have downloaded Windows 10 Pro or the app. Select Start > Settings > System > Remote Desktop. Tap Enable Remote Desktop. Write down the name of the PC under Connect to this PC.

To use Remote Desktop on your mobile device:

Open the Remote Desktop app. Add the name of the PC you want to connect to. Select the remote PC name you added and wait for the connection to complete.


TeamViewer is another good option for controlling another computer remotely from your phone, and in most cases it’s free for non-commercial users. This software provides Internet-based remote access and support, and you can connect to any PC or server to control it from wherever you are.

To install the TeamViewer software:

Install the TeamViewer app on your android or iOS device. On the computer you want to connect to, download TeamViewer QuickSupport† Enter the ID of the QuickSupport app in the ID field and connect.

To connect to TeamViewer remotely:

Launch TeamViewer from the secondary device and sign in. Choose the computer you want to access from the My Partners list. Close the window to end the session.

Being without critical files when you need them most can be super inconvenient. But don’t panic. Use one of these handy remote access tools and you’ll have the files you need in front of you in no time.

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