This story has been updated. It was originally published on October 20, 2018.
You have already divided the screen time between them your smartphone and your computer– Why not tie the two together? There are several ways to use your devices in a coordinated way, increasing the efficiency of both. From data synchronization to switching between programs, we have five ways to keep your phone and computer playing well.
1. Sync files via the cloud
If you’re working on the go, you’ll need to access the same files on both your phone and computer, so sync them. Many applications will do the job for you, but they all work more or less the same. First, select a service. Install the mobile version on your phone; on your computer, download a desktop client or log in to the web interface through a browser. Then log in to your account every time you want to access your latest files.
The hardest part will probably be choosing which service to use. On iOS, the default option is iCloud, and on Android – Google Drive. Once you’ve set up your phone, you’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple or Google account to set up these services, and once you do, they’ll be compatible with both Windows and macOS. However, you do not need to follow the default app. You can download Google Drive on iOS, or you can opt out of both and turn to third-party services such as Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox. Both run on all major operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS and Windows.
If you’re still not sure what works best for you, do a price comparison. Apple gives you 5GB of iCloud space for free, and paid plans start with $ 1 a month for 50 GB storage. Google offers 15GB of free space in all its apps (so your Gmail attachments, Google Drive files, and Google Photos images should summarize this space), and more will help you get back $ 2 per month for 100 GB and above. OneDrive gives you 5GB of free space with the cheapest upgrade $ 2 per month for 100 GB. Finally, Dropbox offers users 2GB for free, and additional cloud storage costs you $ 10 a month for 2 TB.
2. Bring your browser
You already keep a lot of important things – think about it passwords, bookmarks, search and browsing history – in your browser. You can make sure all of this stays with you as you move between devices by creating a user account and choosing data sync.
The good news is that all major browsers offer this option. You will only encounter an obstacle if you use Safari on your Apple computer and own an Android device. The Safari mobile app is only available for iOS, so if you don’t have an iPhone, you’ll have to choose a different browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.
[Related: The best internet browsers you’ve never heard of]
Once you have selected a browser, download it to both your phone and computer. When you launch the app, you will see an invitation to sign in with a Google, Firefox or Microsoft account.
Next, go to your browser settings to configure your sync settings. In iOS versions, for example, go to app settings and click Sign in to Chrome (Chrome) button Log in to sync button (Firefox) or Sign in with your Microsoft account (Edge) button. You perform similar actions in Android versions. Safari – again, only on iOS – is a little different: go to the “Settings” app of the iPhone, tap your Apple ID name, and then iCloudand then turn Safari toggle switch on On. Once you set up sync, it will happen automatically in the background.
3. On Windows computers: summarize photos and text
Windows 10 has introduced an app called, figuratively enough, your phone to make your phone and computer work in harmony, and you can also find it in Windows 11. The app lets you sync photos, text messages, calls and even notifications between both devices.
Start by running the program on your computer: Windows 11 places the front and center icon in the new dock, but if you can’t find it, type “Your Phone” in the search box and select the top option in the list. When it opens, sign in to your Microsoft account, which will link your data to your desktop and mobile PC. Next, enter your phone number. This allows your handset to receive a text message with a download link Your Phone Companion app. After logging in on the phone, both devices will be able to “see” each other.
This means you can view the latest photos of your phone from a bigger screen – just open the app for your computer and click on the photo icon on the left. From this interface you can scroll through your photos. Selecting one opens it in the default Windows image editor. As for text messages, you view them by clicking on the message icon on the left. You can read and reply to messages from this interface, receive and make calls and even reject notifications.
Unfortunately, these features only work with Android phones, but one trick your phone also works iPhone. If you have Microsoft Edge installed on your phone and computer, you can click on the mobile version share on pc button (it looks like an arrow inside the phone) to transfer this web page to the desktop version of the browser.
4. In the Apple ecosystem: maintain screen continuity
If you rely entirely on Apple products – iPhone and Mac – you can use it Continuity feature. It provides several different ways to connect your mobile and desktop in tandem when you sign in to both devices with the same Apple ID, turn on Bluetooth and connect them to the same WiFi network.
The Continuity chamber The feature allows you to instantly import photos from your iPhone into multiple desktop apps without any intermediate steps. Let’s say you opened a Keynote presentation on your computer, for example. Click Paste> Paste from iPhone or iPad> Take a pictureand then switch to your iPhone (which will already be in photo mode) to take a picture. This trick also works in Mail, Messages, Notes, Finder and other programs.
[Related: Make your Android and Apple devices work together]
Another useful part of continuity is called Transfer. If you use a compatible app – Mail, Maps, Safari, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Pages, Numbers or Keynote – on iPhone and Mac, you can switch between devices and store the same data on the screen. You’ll find these transfer options on the iOS multitasking screen (to access it, swipe up and hold) and on the macOS dock.
The last interesting feature we will mention is this Universal clipboardwhich should work automatically if you have set up continuity (logged in, turned on Bluetooth, logged in to the same network). Copy text or images to one device and you can paste them into the program on another. Once you’ve copied something to your phone, just click “Paste” as usual on your computer – or vice versa.
5. Download programs to sync
Many third-party programs automatically sync between mobile and web versions or desktop versions. You need to download as many of these team players as possible, and even if you don’t think your favorite platforms have a desktop or web version, that doesn’t stop you from checking out.
Google shows a great example: you can use Calendar, Gmail and Maps in your computer’s web browser and access the same information through the appropriate mobile applications. As long as you are logged in to the same account, Google will automatically apply any changes and sync all your data.
When you look instant messaging apps, you will also need something that syncs. The Apple Messages app updates all your conversations so you can access them on both iPhone and Mac, but it won’t work if you have an Android phone or a Windows computer.
One alternative is WhatsApp: it is available for Android and iOSand you can also view your conversations in a browser window on your computer. To enable this, go to web version of WhatsApp in your browser to find the QR code. Then open the mobile app, press the button Menu button (three points), press Related devices then Communication device. Your phone automatically activates the camera so you can scan the QR code, and when you do, your conversations are downloaded to your computer. Facebook Messenger also runs smoothly Android, iOSand the web.
Other popular programs that will sync between devices include Evernote for digital records, Skype for voice and video calls, Pocket molds for podcasts and Netflix for streaming video. But Spotify does set a standard for cross-platform compatibility: it runs on every operating system (Android, iOS, macOSand Windows) and has a web portal boot up.