How to connect Android phone to Windows 11 PC

You take a picture on your phone, and now you want to see it on a bigger screen. You get a text message, but you don’t want to dig your phone to answer it while you’re working on your computer. Windows 11 lets you see and respond to that picture right from your keyboard. All you have to do is to connect your Android device to Windows 11. The most impressive is that you can use some Android phone models at the same time multiple Mobile applications directly on your computer.

For years, Apple has topped Windows in terms of mobile desktop integration with macOS’s ability to allow users to send text messages and make calls from their desktop. Apple Silicon-based Macs go further, with the ability to run mobile apps. Windows users can finally claim at least parity with the mobile-to-desktop functionality described here.

If you have an iPhone, you can also connect it to a Windows 11 PC, but you won’t get the same experience as Android users. Microsoft has stated that it wants to bring the same functionality for iPhones to Windows, but Apple has always been uninterested in releasing users from locking their products. However, you can connect iPhone to Windows PC for some basic file transfer functions. We’ll cover this setup process in another article. Here, we focus on showing you how to connect your Android phone and Windows 11 PC.

What you need to get started

Windows 11 actually prompts you to connect your smartphone during the initial setup process. Assuming you haven’t done so at the time, we’ll take you through the procedure and call up a few things you should know before you start.

An important requirement is that you need to install an app on your phone called Your Phone Companion And the You need to sign in to the app with the same Microsoft account you’re signed in to on your PC.

Another requirement is that the phone must be within the PC’s Wi-Fi range because while applications are running on the phone, display and control take place on the PC.

Additionally, to get absolutely any functionality from Android to Windows 11, you must be running Android 7 or later. Any PC running Windows 11 works. To test the setup, we used a Surface Laptop 3 and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The phone model is more important than the PC model in terms of the functionality you get.

When you connect your Android device to a Windows 11 PC, you have two options: Your Phone Companion, which most Android phones support, and Link to Windows, which currently only works with select Samsung models and Surface Duo phones. Comparing the two options, Link to Windows offers much more functionality, such as mirroring Android apps to PC (note that this differs from the much-touted Windows 11 ability to run Android apps, where the apps actually run on PCs).

Step by step: How to connect your Android device and your PC

Windows 11 Bluetooth and Device Settings

  1. I open settings. Go to the Bluetooth and Devices section and scroll down to Your Phone. Click on it, and you will immediately see the feature for Android phones. A slider provides the option to “Show suggestions for using your Android phone with Windows.”

Install Your Phone app on your Android device

  1. Install Your Phone Companion app. You can access it either by searching in Google Play or entering in your mobile browser. Alternatively, on recent Samsung phones and Surface Duo, just pull down the quick settings shade and choose Link to Windows. Long press on it to access sync settings.

Your phone app in Google Play

On the left is the Google Play Store entry for the application you need. The middle screenshot shows where to start on a phone that supports tethering with Windows. Either way, you need to pair the phone with the PC when you see the screen on the right.

  1. Pair your phone and your computer. Here you have a choice between pairing using a QR code or entering a text code displayed in the Your Phone app on your PC into the phone companion app. We are all for convenience and not afraid of QR codes, so we go that route. The text code consists of nine characters — a lot more than we have to type by hand. Once you have completed either of the pairing method, that’s it. you are done!

Your phone app running on Windows 11 showing notifications

What can you do with a connected phone?

As mentioned, spiffier functionality only works on select phone models, but any Android phone you set up with Your Phone on Windows lets you see and reply to text messages, see and manage notifications, make and answer calls, and get photos instantly on your computer.

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Your device on Windows 11 allows you to drag photos from your phone to your desktop.

You can drag and drop photos from the phone to the desktop application.

Your phone’s taskbar entry shows a badge with the number of notifications waiting for you. The only difference for phones that don’t support Link to Windows is that you won’t see the Apps section in the left menu panel.

Windows 11's Your Phone app lets you use Android apps on your desktop, although they already work on a nearby phone.

Windows 11’s Your Phone app lets you use Android apps on your desktop, although they already work on a nearby phone.

If you have a recent Samsung phone or Surface Duo, you can also use apps on your computer screen, drag files between phone and computer, and copy and paste between devices. Although we have a Link to Windows compatible phone, the most useful features for us are those that work with any device your phone supports: text messages and photos. Even with the less advanced mode, you can see the photos on your computer right after you take them with your phone and you can drag them to a document or other application that works with photos, such as Photoshop.

Navigating the apps can be a little tricky as you can’t use the mouse wheel to move up and down the screen, but if you have a touch screen PC it’s pretty close to the real McCoy. You can choose to have mobile apps that work this way display a taskbar icon that’s similar to those of any other apps running on your computer.

For more tips and news about Microsoft’s new desktop operating system, visit the Windows 11 homepage.

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