Windows 10’s Your Phone app links your phone and PC. It works best for Android users, letting you text from your PC and wirelessly transfer photos back and forth. Notification sync and screen mirroring features are on the way, too.
Android Users Get the Best Integration
The Your Phone app is a powerful and often overlooked part of Windows 10. If you’re an Android user, you can use it to text right from your PC, see all your phone’s notifications, and quickly transfer photos. If you have the right phone and PC, you can even use the Your Phone app to mirror your phone’s screen and see it on your PC.
Unfortunately, iPhone users won’t get any of that. Apple’s restrictions prevent that level of integration. iPhone users can set up the Your Phone app to send web pages back and forth between their phones and PCs—but that’s it. Don’t even ask about Windows phones, which Microsoft gave up on long ago.
Texting from your PC and transferring photos work right now on current stable builds of Windows 10. The notification and screen mirror features are only available for some Windows Insiders right now, but they should arrive for everyone soon.
How to Set Up Windows 10’s Your Phone App
The linking process is simple. The Your Phone app comes installed with Windows 10, but you can download it from the Store if you’ve previously uninstalled it. Launch the “Your Phone” app from your Start menu to get started.
Select “Android” and click “Get started” to link the app to an Android phone. You’ll be prompted to sign into the app with a Microsoft account if you aren’t already signed into your PC with one.
If you aren’t already signed in with your Microsoft account, sign in when prompted. The setup wizard will ask you to download Microsoft’s Your Phone Companion app to your Android phone and click “Continue.”
Launch the Your Phone Companion app on your Android phone and sign in with the same Microsoft account you use on your PC. Go through the quick setup process. On the final screen, tap “Allow” to link your PC to your phone. The text messages and photos from your phone will start showing up in the Your Phone app.
How To Transfer Photos to Your PC Using Your Phone
Windows 10’s Your Phone app shows recent photos and screenshots you’ve taken on your Android phone. The last 25 photos or screenshots you’ve taken will show up when you click on the “Photos” in the right sidebar.
From there, you can either drag photos to a folder in File Explorer or right-click and choose “Copy” or “Save as” to move them to your PC. Additionally, you can select “Share” to send the photo via text or email.
It sounds minor, but avoiding the hassle of connecting your phone to your PC or jumping through hoops with Google Photos or OneDrive is a feature that can save a lot of time. Every mobile screenshot in this article went through this photo transfer process to get from phone to PC for editing.
If you need to transfer an older image, you’ll have to connect your phone to your PC via a cable, transfer them with a cloud service like OneDrive, or send them via email.
How to Text From Your Windows 10 PC With an Android Phone
The Your Phone app displays all your text message conversations from your phone. You can send responses and see incoming text messages all in one place, similar to MightyText or Pushbullet. Microsoft tried to accomplish this with Cortana, but it lacked a unifying interface and convenience, and eventually, the feature was shut down in favor of Your Phone. Your conversations update to match your phone, so if you delete a thread from your phone, it will disappear from the PC as well.
Texting from the Your Phone app is straight forward, and the general layout may remind you of email. Click on “Messages” in the left sidebar, and you should see all your current text messages. If you don’t, try clicking on “Refresh.” Click on the message thread you want to respond to (like you would the subject of an email), and type into “Enter a message” box to respond.
You can also scroll through your text message history if you want to refer back to an older message. In updated Insider builds, contact pictures you set on your Android phone will sync to the Your Phone PC app, as seen in the above image. Microsoft says soon you’ll be able to reply from the Windows notification that appears when you receive a text, but we weren’t able to test this.
How to Mirror Your Phone’s Screen to Your PC
The most exciting feature is one most people can’t use—yet. Microsoft is bringing screen mirroring for Android to your PC. But right now the requirements are incredibly strict. Not only will you need a specific phone (a handful of Samsung and OnePlus devices), but you’ll also need a rare Bluetooth specification on your PC— at least Bluetooth 4.1 and specifically with low energy peripheral capability. Not every Bluetooth 4.1 device supports low energy peripheral capability, and you’ll find this specific variant of Bluetooth on very few PCs. In fact, only one device in the Surface Lineup meets that qualification: the Surface Go.
Even if you do have all this hardware—unlikely—this feature is only available on Insider builds of Windows 10 right now. It will arrive in a stable form with the release of Windows 10’s May 2019 Update.
Unfortunately, this means very few people are in a position to test the feature right now, and we haven’t seen the feature in action at all beyond a few screenshots. But what we’ve seen looks intriguing.
How To Mirror Notifications From Android to Your PC
The Your Phone app will soon be able to mirror notifications from your Android phone to your PC. Insider testers are already able to preview the functionality. It will likely appear for everyone in a future release of Windows 10 in six or twelve months.
Notifications from your Android phone will appear on your PC and clearing the notification from your PC will clear it from your phone. You can customize which apps show notifications on your PC, either to limit them to notifications you care about or prevent doubles.
Unfortunately, all you can do is clear the notifications. While more recent versions of Android allow for notification interactions (like responding to a message), that functionality isn’t mirrored to your PC.
This is another feature Microsoft previously provided through Cortana and later removed in favor of this option.
If you’re using an Insider build of Windows 10, you can select “Notifications (in preview)” and go through the wizard to give the app access to your notifications. It will prompt you to enable notification access for the Your Phone Companion app on your Android phone. Click “Get Started” and then click “Open Settings for Me” to continue.
Your phone should automatically open your notifications settings. Scroll down to “Your Phone Companion” and toggle it on.
You’ll receive a prompt to confirm you want to turn on notifications; tap Allow. The text mentions the ability to configure do not disturb; most apps create notifications, so they need access to do not disturb settings to work with it. In this case, Your Phone Companion is just reading the notifications for displaying elsewhere, so it won’t truly interact with Do Not Disturb mode.
You may want to adjust one more setting. If you have an app on both Android and PC (like Google Hangouts or Email), then you’ll start seeing double notifications. The Your Phone PC app gives you granular control of which app notifications you see. To get there, click on “Settings” in the lower left-hand corner.
Then scroll down and click on the words “Pick the apps you want notifications from.” A list of apps will appear, and you can toggle off any that duplicate notifications your PC already gives you.
Clearing the notifications from the Your Phone PC app also clears them from your Android phone.
Overall the Your Phone app is an unsung hero of Windows 10. It provides real value by letting you reach for the phone less often, whether that’s to answer a text, check a notification, or move some pictures. If you haven’t tried it out yet and you have an Android phone, you should give a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.