If you use an Android phone and a Windows PC, there are multiple ways to sync them. Although the age-old AirDroid app remains the go-to option for many even today, apps like Intel Unison and Phone Link have recently emerged as better alternatives.

phone link app open on linked android and windows laptop

All three apps get the job done just fine and come with their own set of advantages. But if you want a simple solution to sync your Android to a Windows computer, Microsoft’s Phone Link is the better option among them.

Let’s explore Phone Link in detail and find out how you can use it to sync an Android phone with a Windows PC.

What Is Phone Link?

Phone Link, formerly Your Phone, is an app that lets you connect your Android device to a Windows computer, so you can perform a bunch of operations on your phone without needing to touch it. It’s a free app, and you can also use it to connect your iPhone to your Windows PC to use iMessage.

microsoft phone link app
IMAGE: Microsoft

Here’s everything you can do with Phone Link after connecting your Android phone and Windows PC together:

  • Check and interact with your phone’s notifications
  • View and respond to text messages
  • Receive and make calls from your PC
  • View photos from the phone’s gallery and copy them
  • Copy and paste text between phone and PC
  • Use your phone via screen mirroring
  • Access your favorite apps on your PC

How to Connect Your Android Phone to a Windows PC via Phone Link

Microsoft’s Phone Link app is easy to set up and use. It involves using the Phone Link app on your Windows computer and a companion app, Link to Windows, on your Android phone.

Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 come pre-installed with the Phone Link app, so you just need to make sure the app’s running on the latest version. On your Android phone, you need to download the Link to Windows, which you can do using the link below.

Download: Link to Windows

Once installed, here’s how to use these apps to connect an Android phone to your Windows computer:

  1. Turn on your phone and PC’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. (Ensure both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network).
  2. Launch the Phone Link app on your Windows PC and sign in to your Microsoft account if you aren’t already.
  3. Select Android on the home screen.
    device selection screen in phone link
  4. Check off the I have the Link to Windows app ready checkbox and select Pair with QR code for faster pairing.
    selecting pairing method in phone link
  5. Open the Link to Windows app on your Android phone and select Link your phone and PC and Continue to allow the app to access your camera.
    selecting the option to link phone and pc in link to windows app
  6. Point the device to the QR code on your computer’s screen.
  7. Go back to your phone, and when it asks you for permissions, tap on Continue, grant the app the requested permissions, and hit Done.
    granting permissions to the link to windows app
  8. Hit Continue on the Phone Link app and click Get started.

Once connected, you should see the linked Android in the upper-left corner of the screen in the Phone Link app, ready to use. But we’re not done yet. You still need to set up a few things to use all the features of the Phone Link app.

phone link app showing connected android device

To do this, hit the downward-pointing arrow on the Unlock all features tab and hit Get started. Click on Open settings on your phone, and when it opens the notification settings on your phone, grant the Link to Windows app to access your phone’s notifications.

Go to your PC and click the Set up button. This will send a prompt on your device asking you to turn on Bluetooth discovery. Hit Allow to proceed, and Phone Link will display a code on your screens. Check if it’s the same code on both devices and hit Done.

granting link to windows bluetooth discovery permission

How to Use Phone Link to Perform Phone Operations on Your Computer

After linking your phone and PC, Phone Link will begin syncing data from your phone, such as photos, apps, messages, etc., with your PC. And once it finishes, you should be able to use all its features.

Here’s a quick overview of how to use some of the Phone Link features.

Check and Respond to Notifications

viewing and replying to notifications on desktop

Since both your devices are now synced, you can access your phone’s notifications (and respond to them) directly on your computer.

Go to the Phone Link app and tap on a notification in the Notifications tab. Phone Link will ask you to unlock your phone, so it can mirror the screen on the computer.

As you do this, Phone Link will open the app open in a new window, and you can start using it, similar to how you do it on your phone. Keep in mind that you need a stable and fast internet connection for the best experience.

Receive and Make Phone Calls

calls tab in phone link app

As long as both your devices are connected, you’ll get a notification whenever there’s an incoming phone call on your mobile phone. Hit Accept to pick up the call or Decline to reject it.

Similarly, if you want to make a call, you can do so right from your PC itself. Simply go to the Calls tab on the Phone Link app, tap on a number in the call log, and hit the call button. Or use the search bar to find a contact in your phonebook or use the dial pad to dial a number and click the phone icon.

View or Send Text Messages

messages tab in phone link

Just like phone calls, you get a notification from Phone Link when there’s a new text message on your phone. You can simply tap on this notification to open the message and read it.

If you wish to reply to the message, type in your message and hit the send button. Similarly, you can also send someone a new message from the Phone Link app.

To do this, go to the Messages tab and hit the pen icon to create a new message. In the To field, enter the name or number of the person to whom you want to send the message. Next, type in your message in the message field and click the send button to send it.

Access and Move Photos to Your PC

checking phone photos on connected pc

Besides letting you interact with incoming calls and messages, the Phone Link app also lets you view all your photos in the phone’s gallery on your PC.

Simply go to the Photos tab, and here you’ll find all your photos. Click on a photo to preview it and hit Open to open it in the Photos app. Alternatively, you can also open it in another app. Click on the three-dot menu, select Open with, and choose the app on the list. In addition, you can also delete the photos, share them, and save them on your computer from here.

Lastly, to save a photo, click the Save as button, and in the Save As window, give the file a name and tap Save. Unfortunately, Phone Link doesn’t let you select multiple items at once, so you need to save photos one by one.

Copy-Paste Text Between Devices

enabling cross-device copy-paste feature in phone link

One of the most useful features of the Phone Link app is the ability to copy and paste text between the linked devices, so you can copy the text inside any app on one device and paste it into another app on the other device.

However, this feature is disabled by default, so you need to enable it first. In the Phone Link app, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner to open Settings. Here, go to the Features tab and toggle on the button for Cross-device copy and paste.

Once done, you can easily copy the text on one device and paste it on the other. Cross-device copy-pasting works in all apps on both your Android device and PC.

Use Your Favorite Apps on Your Computer

apps tab showing installed apps on connected android

Last but not least, Phone Link also gives you the ability to use any app on your phone right on your linked PC. So if you use WhatsApp for communication, for instance, you no longer have to switch back and forth between your PC and computer to view and send messages while you’re at your desk.

Head to the Apps tab in the Phone Link app to view all the apps installed on your mobile phone. Click on the app you want to use, and it’ll open in a new window. Here, you can use the app and perform all supported operations as if you were on the phone.

When you’re done using the app, close the app window to return to the main screen.

Sync Android With Windows for a Better Experience

Linking your Android phone with your Windows PC and keeping your data synced opens the world of opportunities. And Microsoft’s Phone Link does a decent job of helping you achieve this. It’s easy to use, works on both Windows 10 and Windows 11 and gives you a few personalization options.

But having said that, Phone Link also has limitations and misses out on some features, like a lack of support for video files or the inability to move files between PC and phone.

If these things don’t matter much, you’re fine with Phone Link. But if you need these features, Intel Unison and AirDroid will serve you well.

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