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 Your Phone app for Windows 10, you can get notifications, view the pictures from your Android smartphone, and interact with them from Windows 10. And, of course, you can also use it to make phone calls and send text messages straight from Windows 10. Here's how it works:
How to install Your Phone and link your Android smartphone with your Windows 10 PC
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 connect Android to Windows 10 with Your Phone Companion. You also need to log in using a Microsoft account.
Once you've got everything set up and configured correctly, launch Your Phone on your Windows 10 computer or device. You should see something like this:
How to view and manage your Android phone notifications using the Windows 10 Your Phone app
The first thing you get to see in Your Phone is a section called Notifications. This is where you can see all the recent notifications you've received on your Android smartphone.
If you want to dismiss a notification, from both your Windows 10 PC and from your Android device, click or tap the small X button found on its right side.
By default, Windows 10 also shows a banner for each notification you get on your Android device. You can tell that a notification came from your phone by looking at the footnote on the banner: it should say the name of the app on your Android device and "via Your Phone."
If you don't want to receive all your Android notifications on your Windows 10 PC, click or tap the Customize button from the Notifications tab of the Your Phone app. Alternatively, you can also go to the app's Settings and scroll until you get to the Notifications section.
The Notifications settings that you can control are:
- Display in the Your Phone app: shows the Notifications tab in the Your Phone app
- Show notification banners: whenever you receive a notification on your Android phone, you also get that notification on your Windows 10 PC
- Badge on taskbar: if you've pinned Your Phone to your taskbar, on its shortcut, you get to see a small badge with the number of notifications received
You can turn each of these settings on or off as you please, by enabling or disabling their switches.
Next, you can "Choose which apps show notification banners" and "Choose which apps notify you."
The first link launches the Settings app and takes you to the Notifications & actions section. There, if you want your Windows 10 PC to be able to show you notifications from your Android device, make sure that the Your Phone app is allowed to do so.
Then, Your Phone lets you select which of the apps on your Android smartphone can notify you. For each of them, you get a switch to turn it on or off. Unless you want to get all the notifications from every app on your phone, which can quickly add up, we recommend disabling the ones you don't need.
How to view and send text messages from your Windows 10 PC, using the Your Phone app and your Android phone
When you select Messages on the left side of Your Phone, the app synchronizes the SMS and MMS messages from your Android smartphone to your Windows 10 PC. This process can take a while if you have many messages.
To view a conversation, select it, and, on the right side of the window, you should see the entire 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 previously, press New Message, and, in the To field, type the name or the phone number of the person you want to talk to. Then, enter your message and press Send.
You can also use Your Phone to view and send MMS messages, not just standard text messages. When sending an MMS message, you can use emojis, add photos, or even GIFs, by using the matching buttons beneath the text field. 🙂
NOTE: If you don't like how Your Phone works for sending and receiving text messages, you might prefer this solution instead: How to send messages (text, SMS, MMS) from my computer with Android Messages.
How to view the pictures from your Android smartphone with the Windows 10 Your Phone app
Your Phone also syncs and lets you view the photos found on your Android smartphone. This process can take a while if you've taken many photos with your phone. They are shown in a gallery with the newer pictures first, and the older ones last.
When you double-click or double-tap on a picture, it is displayed in the built-in picture viewer from the Your Phone app. If you want, you can then Open it with the default image viewer app on your Windows 10 PC, Copy and paste it wherever you like on your PC, directly "Save [it] as" a file on your PC, or Share it using the options available on your Windows 10 device. Additionally, if you click or tap on the … (three dots) button, you can also choose Open, which lets you open the photo using the app or program you specify.
NOTE: You can also right-click or press-and-hold on a picture and choose from the contextual menu whether you want to copy, share, or save that photo.
How to use Your Phone to make and receive phone calls from your Windows 10 PC
Finally, Your Phone also lets you pick up or make phone calls directly from your Windows 10 PC. However, this feature is only available if both your Android smartphone and your Windows 10 PC have Bluetooth enabled.
To make a phone call from your Windows 10 PC, in the Your Phone app, select the Calls tab on the left side of the window. In the panel from the right side of the window, type the phone number that you want to call. Alternatively, start typing the name of the person you want to call, in the Search your contacts field from the top-right corner, and click or tap on his or her name once you've found the one to call.
After entering the phone number or choosing the contact, start your phone call with a click or tap on the Dial icon beneath the dial pad.
Once you've initiated a phone call from Your Phone, on your Windows 10 PC, you should see a small window acknowledging it on the top-right area of the screen. When you want to end the call, press the red button. If you want to mute the call, use the dial pad - useful when talking to robots :), or switch to using your Android phone instead of your Windows 10 PC, press the button that resembles a downward pointing arrow.
This enlarges the phone call window and gives you access to all the options we mentioned.
The problems with Windows 10's Your Phone app
The Your Phone is no longer in its early versions, as it's been developed and improved for quite a while now. However, there are still times when it behaves like a beta product. In other words, there's a high chance you're going to encounter errors rather often. In our case, there are many times when the app is slow to synchronize data. On other occasions, Your Phone keeps saying that it can't connect to our phones because of internet connection issues. However, the internet works just fine and other apps have no issues.
Another problem is that the text messages you send from Windows 10 sometimes seem to hang as Your Phone keeps saying it's Sending them. In our experience, they are sent although Your Phone says they failed. Also, the messages you send from Windows 10 don't 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 third issue with Your Phone that feels too big to be left unnoticed is that it has limited support for the iPhone and can only be used to send web pages from your iPhone to your PC.
All in all, the Your Phone app feels underdeveloped right now. Microsoft is working on adding more features to it and improving it, so we expect to see the app evolve over time. When writing this article, we know that some people can use Your Phone to access their Android apps on Windows (directly access Android apps from their Windows 10 computers). However, this feature is only available for Samsung Galaxy owners, not for everybody. We'd like to see Microsoft roll out an update to the Your Phone app that lets all of us do that.
Do you use Your Phone for Windows 10?
Try the Your Phone app for Windows 10, see how it works, and let us know what you think. Do you feel that it offers a good user experience? Is it useful to you? Do you want Microsoft to add some specific features to it? Comment below and let's discuss.