Use the Your Phone app for Windows 10 to view photos from Android, or send text messages
Microsoft is actively working on an ecosystem of apps that allows Windows 10 users to interact with their smartphones from their PCs. For example, with the new Your Phone app for Windows 10, you can view the messages and pictures from your Android smartphone, and interact with them from Windows 10. You can also use it to send text messages straight from Windows 10. Here is how to set it up, and how it works:
How to install Your Phone on Windows 10 and link your smartphone
In order for the Your Phone app to work, you need to link your Android smartphone with your Windows 10 PC. You can see full instructions on how to do that, in this guide: How to link your Windows 10 PC with your Android smartphone (or tablet). You also need to log in using a Microsoft account.
Then, on your Windows 10 PC, go to Your Phone app, in the Microsoft Store, and install it. If you have Windows 10 October 2018 Update installed, the app should be preinstalled with Windows. Open the app using its shortcut in the Start Menu (under letter Y), or search for "your phone" and click the appropriate search result.
If you have not linked your smartphone to your PC, the app recommends that you do this now. Press Link phone.
You are asked to enter your phone number. Choose your country code, type your number and press Send.
You are notified that Microsoft has sent you a text message to the number you provided. Press Close and go to your Android smartphone.
Install the app recommended by Microsoft, on your Android smartphone
Open the Messages on your Android smartphone, and see the message you received. It includes a link to a Microsoft app like Your Phone Companion, Microsoft Apps, Cortana for Android, or Microsoft Launcher. This is different based on your region and Android smartphone.
After you install the app recommended by Microsoft, on your Android smartphone, launch it and connect with the same Microsoft account that you are using on your Windows 10 PC.
Give the necessary permissions for Your Phone to function
Go back to your Windows 10 PC and the Your Phone app. First, it needs your permission, on your Android smartphone, to connect and access data. Press the Send notification button.
On your Android smartphone, you should see a notification similar to the one below, asking for permission to connect the app with your phone. Tap Allow.
Now you can start using the Your Phone app, but you still need further permissions. Click or tap the Photos button on the left, and then on See photos.
You are informed that the app needs permissions to access the photos from your Android smartphone. Click or tap "Send notification" and, on your Android smartphone, tap Allow when you see the permission request.
Then, you can finally see the photos from your Android smartphone.
To continue with giving all the necessary permissions, click or tap the Messages button on the left, and then on "See texts."
You are informed that the app needs your permission to access your text messages. Press "Send notification" and, on your Android smartphone, tap Allow when you see the permission request.
Now you can finally see the text messages from your Android smartphone. The app takes a while to sync everything, so be patient.
View the pictures from your Android smartphone, on your Windows 10 PC
When you click on Photos, in the left side column, Your Phone synchronizes the pictures from your Android smartphone to your PC. This process can take a while if you have many pictures. They are shown in a gallery with the newer pictures first, and the older ones last.
When you double-click or tap on a picture, it is opened in your default picture viewer. You can then edit it, or save it somewhere on your computer. Another thing you can do is right-click on a picture (or press and hold), and choose where you want to copy it to the clipboard or share it.
View the messages from your Android smartphone, on your Windows 10 PC
When you click on Messages, in the left side column, Your Phone synchronizes the SMS messages from your Android smartphone to your PC. This process can take a while if you have many messages. To view a conversation, click on it, in the column on the middle. Then, on the right, you see the conversation. To send a reply, type it in the "Enter a message" field and press the Send button.
To start a new conversation with someone you have not talked with, press New Message, and in the To field, type the name or the phone number of the person you want to talk with. Then, enter your message and press Send.
Unfortunately, you can yet use this app to view and send MMS messages, only standard text messages. If you want to send MMS messages from your PC, use this solution: How to send messages (text, SMS, MMS) from my computer with Android Messages.
The problems with Your Phone
This app is its early versions, and it behaves like a product in beta stages of development. This means that you might encounter errors. For example, sometimes the app is slow to synchronize data. Other times, it says that it cannot connect to your phone because of internet connection issues. However, the internet works just fine, and other apps work well.
Another problem is that the text messages that you send from Windows 10, do not show up in the Messages app from Android. They only show up in Your Phone, even though they are sent correctly to the other person.
The app feels underdeveloped right now. Microsoft is working on adding more features to it, and you should see the app evolve in upcoming months. Another issue is that it has limited support for the iPhone, and can only be used to send web pages from your iPhone to your PC.
Do you like Your Phone for Windows 10?
Try the new Your Phone app for Windows 10, see how it works, and let us know what you think. Does it offer a quality user experience? Is it useful to you? Do you want Microsoft to add some specific features to it? Comment below and let's discuss.