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Remote Desktop to Your Windows Computer From Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

There might be times when you need to access your Windows computer at home or the office, but all you have is your iOS device. Here we take a look at RDP Lite which provides access to your Windows PC.

Here is an excerpt from the Developer’s description:

“It enables you to have full, secure access to your work computer through Wi-Fi or the phones network (EDGE). Using your iPhone, you can connect to your Windows Computer and see the files, programs, and resources exactly as you would if you were sitting at your desk, just on a smaller screen.”

Setup Windows for Remote Desktop Connections

In Windows 7 or Vista make sure you’re allowing Remote Control of the machine…right-click Computer and select Properties.

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Then under the Remote tab select the level of security for Remote connections.

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In XP right-click My Computer and select the Remote tab. Then under Remote Desktop check Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.

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If you don’t allow Remote Desktop you’ll get a connection error when trying to connect. Of course this error could be for other reasons like no Wi-Fi Connectivity or the machine you’re trying to connect to is turned off.

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Install and Setup RDP Lite

Simply download and install RDP Lite from the App Store on your device or from the iTunes App Store.

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After it’s installed, tap Menu then Edit Connections…

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Now enter in the IP address of the machine you want to connect to. Notice it uses port 3389 by default so you might need to set that in Port Forwarding on your router.

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Like with using RDP on a desktop, you can change the display options so it runs faster.

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If you have several machines on your network, then RDP settings will be saved for each of them in the Host List.

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After connecting to one of your machines you’ll just need to log in just like RDP on the desktop. Tap on the keyboard icon to start the login.

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Then type in your password and login.

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Here is a look at it in Landscape View.

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Now you can access anything on your desktop right from your iPhone or iPod Touch! You can move the screen around and make it larger for easy access to what you want on the desktop.

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During the remote session, the machine you’re logged into will show the login screen.

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Here we accessed the Control Panel and tapped on Date and Time.

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Then we were able to adjust the Time and Time Zone on out Windows 7 machine. When you’re done doing what you need to do on the system, tap on the Menu icon at the bottom of the screen.

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Then tap on Disconnect to close the session.

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Or if you log into the machine you’re having a remote session with, you’ll see the following message telling you the session has been closed.

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Here we did a remote session into an XP Pro machine. Click on the third button to zoom in and out of a specific view.

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Connect to Windows Home Server

If you have WHS you’ll be pleased to find that you can remote into it as well.

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Then you can open up the Windows Home Server console and manage the server.

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There is a handy help section built in so if you’re having problems or need to know how to do a certain task you can pull it up for more information.

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One caveat we ran into is sometimes the RDP Lite controls for Menu and Keyboard would disappear and it there wasn’t an easy way to get them back. We had to disconnect the remote connection and log back in to get them back. They also offer a Pro version which we didn’t try out, but it touts better keyboard controls, better mouse functions, and can handle 20 different Host configurations.

This can come in handy if someone on your network needs help with troubleshooting or if you want an easy way to access different machines on your network. If you need a way to remote into your computers from your iOS device from a Wi-Fi connection, RDP Lite does a pretty good job. We weren’t able to test it out on the iPhone over 3G, but according to the description you can do it. Then you can access your machine at work from where ever you have your iPhone.

If you’ve used the iPhone or iPad version of RDP Lite leave us a comment and let us know.

RDP Lite on iTunes Preview

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/26/10

Comments (23)

  1. SkrabakL

    what about mac ? is there any tut for this ?

  2. TLV

    Ahem….the secret sauce is in the step “..Now enter in the IP address of the machine you want to connect to.” What am I missing? I am traveling around town with my Ipad, and I forgot to send an email that was sitting in Outlook on my work computer. So I will use this to “remote access” to get in and send it.

    When I get to this step….how do I know the IP address of the work computer????

  3. Loser

    This is magnificent!
    But a don’t have a iphone..

  4. Fabrice Meuwissen

    I prefer Teamviewer, because it is much easier to setup the server part, no need to change the routeur settings, no need to know the IP when you move your computer
    but I think Teamviewer is a little bit slower than a Terminal Server solution.

  5. Radical Edward

    teamviewer all the way.

  6. J

    I like Jaadu RDP, but I haven’t tried RDP light so I can’t say which one is better.
    I don’t use it often though, the screen is too small. Perhaps on an ipad it would be legendary?
    I use it for emergencies, like if I need a document that’s on my computer but not in my dropbox. Sometimes just to keep me awake during a boring lecture, making sure all the torrents are seeding, cleaning the desktop, starting a virus scan, etc.

    “During the remote session, the machine you’re logged into will show the login screen.”
    Not necessarily. That only happens if you log in to the same user, thereby stealing the session. You could log on to another user account, or even run multiple instances of the same account simultaneously with some tweaking. Google “windows 7 concurrent sessions” if you’d like to know how to enable it.

  7. sercasti

    logmein rulz

  8. SLLFFC

    Everything seems fine except one point; My System Properties box does not contain an option for remote desktop. Mine is an administrator account, being the only account on my laptop. My Help menu has plenty of information on how to remotely access /other/ computers, but nothing that can tell me why it is not showing up the Remote Desktop dialogue, or if I’m just plain not allowed for some odd reason.

    I’m running Vista basic, with Symantec for my protection.

  9. Salim

    SLLFFC: Vista Basic and Windows 7 Home Basic are missing these features.

  10. Guru

    I have this on my Nokia 5800 ‘the iphone killer…!!’ ;)

  11. HijoProdigo

    LogMeIn is good, but premium users only. I like Teamviewer. Might be slow, but easy to set up and free. Also saves partners (computers you connect to), so easy to remember.

  12. Brandon

    I am currently running Win7. and have an iphone4.
    I downloaded RealVNC for my desktop, and Mocha VNC Lite for my iphone.
    Before I leave for work in the morning, I email myself a Remote Assistance Invite. When I get to work, I open the email on my work computer, accept the invite, then use my iphone to accept the incoming connection and the “Request Control”. So instead of working on my home desktop through my iphone all day, I can use my work computer.

  13. Ryan

    I cannot get multiple monitors to work on my win 7 with jaadu rdp and iphone 4. It’s lame it’s grayed out to where I can’t click on it. I don’t know if I need to tweak some settings or what. Please feel free to enlighten me J.

  14. Geekrawker

    This is/was a great app. I was able to use it combined with hssvss to monitor my security web cams but after the last update, the rdp lite no longer plays video. So when tempting in and clicking on my hssvss I just get a black screen. Has anyone else tried a similar setup and discovered the app no longer supports a video stream? I suppose it was a fluke that I was able to see my cam before the update. Any suggestion?

  15. Geekrawker

    Skrabakl

    Mac uses a program called screen share. Very easy to setup, just search screen share in google. It’s a bit more advanced than remote desktop and has some nice features. I recentally discovered I could edit video remotely because screen share does a great job adjusting quality depending on your connection speed and uses all your onboard hardware before dumping the stream to your remote device. This is different than remote desktop as rdc won’t mount several pci hardware devices when your remoting. Also, to remote into your pc from a Mac, u just need the free remote desktop connect (rdc) from Microsoft. It also works great, but no remote video if your hoping to do video work remotely.

  16. managah

    Mine still won’t connect after allowing any device to connect in the remote tab need more assitance

  17. Xana452

    Oh this accursed Windows 7 Home Premium! I cant do this, and it would be very useful!

  18. boy_kulot

    i already configure all the settings using wi-fi, it works perfect. bat can you give me a configure using edge.

  19. dalzmc

    I have Windows XP professional, and this app is awesome! Only it doesn’t work! I get that Error message shown even when I have set it up perfectly…. help?

  20. Peter

    Seems simple and effective but has never worked for me on ipod touch nor ipad, nor android. On my version of Vista there is simply no Remote Desktop option, only the upper panel ‘remote assistance’.

  21. suga37

    Hi I just install this on my iPad 2 it works great. I only have a issue why can’t I use it remote from 2 different networks. I would like to log in to my iPad from home to my work laptop but they are on different network.

  22. mike

    LogMeIn is much better. It works on all of the computers.

  23. pierz

    I’m a web developer/admin and use RDP lite on my my iPhone. Yeah, it’s awkward getting about on that little screen, and to be honest it’s not something I use every day or anything, but it is invaluable when I’m out and about and there’s some problem with our web server needs fixing. And it works a treat on 3G too.

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